My letter is provided to summarize my comments on the draft View Preservation/Restoration presented by a City Committee at a public meeting on Dec. 3.
First let me say the view committee formed by the city to develop a view preservation/restoration ordinance have contributed a lot of time and effort into this difficult project, and I thank them for their dedication. However, in my opinion, shared by many others, the results do not do the job.
Others have provided detailed lists of the many inadequacies and problems with the draft view preservation/restoration view ordinance. Therefore, I will just provide a summary based on my review of the planned ordinance and comments made by many at the meeting. It should be noted that the majority of attendees at the meeting in the Council Chambers were strongly in support of protecting and restoring Laguna’s unique and magnificent public and private views and vistas and they want a strong, fair, economic, and city enforced view preservation ordinance. However, they were opposed to the proposed view ordinance based on its inadequacies, complexity and costs. In other words, it does not even remotely do the job intended of view protection.
Basically the proposed view ordinance reads like a document written by lawyers following the direction and goals of landscapers and people who for some self-serving reason have been, and still are, fighting against the preservation of Laguna’s unique magnificent views and vista.
The results have produced a unnecessarily complex, costly and essentially useless ordinance that can only be implemented by wealthy people and even then can only protect very limited part of their views. It will no doubt result in increased frustration and anger between those losing the pleasure, beauty, and value of their once beautiful views and those thoughtless folks who have needlessly allowed their vegetation to grow too large and thick. It is beyond me what purpose the few who oppose any view preservation have. Laguna’s unique views can be seen nowhere else in the world; trees can be seen anywhere.
And in the final analysis the proposed ordinance, unless dramatically reduced in complexity and cost, will allow the continued destruction of Laguna’s public and private view sheds all over town and cost the city and county a lot of future money in lost property tax values.
As an after thought, at the meeting I noted that nature provided most of Laguna with unobstructed views of the islands, coastline, hills and valleys. Nature provided no large trees at all except here and there in the bottom of some canyons. Too bad that our founders did not have the foresight to create an ordinance requiring a permit to plant large vegetation, much like they later did with oversized structures to protect our unique and precious views.
Dave Connell, Laguna Beach