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View Ordinance Still Obstructed

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A provision to the city’s view restoration ordinance that would apply to over 1,000 trees on public property is still undergoing revision as of the committee’s last meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.

The five committee members along with city representatives Tony Farr and Greg Pfost pored over a staff proposal to amend the ordinance, which contained no fewer than 20 separate issues raised by the public in previous view restoration meetings.

Up for review were nuances ranging from who should have purview over the review of view restoration claims to the establishment of certain “safe zones” where city trees would be exempt from the new ordinance, to public notification specifications.

“This is an important step and as a city we need to be pragmatic. It is hard for those interested in having views get their voice heard over a group like Village Laguna.” said Ganka Brown, a Laguna resident, referring to a local organization that aims to protect the city’s character. “Views in the end make this city. Trees are nice, but that’s not how the original town came up from.”

“Unfortunately the trees in the city owned by Laguna Beach have not been taken care of very well,” said Sam Goldstein, owner of the Heisler Building. Its soon-to-open rooftop restaurant overlooks the tree-shrouded south end of Main Beach park.

Landscape architect Ann Christoph called for a six month waiting period before enacting an ordinance, while resident Michael Hoag noted his “interest in aesthetics, love of trees and not wanting to turn the committee loose into the parks.”

The committee and staff plan to present their revisions at their Nov. 2 meeting.

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