Laguna Beach City news City of Laguna Beach, California

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City Council to Consider New Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan Tuesday

Proposed new residential program aimed at minimizing impact of visitors to Laguna Beach neighborhoods

Over six-million visitors come to Laguna Beach annually, with many gathering at the City’s smaller neighborhood beaches and using the City’s parks and recreational trails.

Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has also encouraged Southern California residents to engage in more outdoor activities, which has resulted in a further increase in the number of visitors to the City’s beaches, parks, and recreational trails.

As a result, many of the City’s residential neighborhoods are now significantly impacted by visitors parking on their streets, leaving trash behind, and engaging in nuisance behaviors and illegal activities, negatively impacting the quality of life of the City’s residents.

Residents from Victoria Beach, Driftwood Neighborhood, Top of The World, and South Laguna have expressed their desire for additional services, and have met with all or some members of the City Council over the last year to express their concerns.

During the City Council's 2021 Retreat, the Council directed staff to develop a program for consideration that mitigates visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhances City services for residents, and adds environmental protection programs. The new program, called the "Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan," is proposed to be funded mostly by the Parking Fund and Measure LL TOT revenues.

Next Tuesday, the City Council will consider the program and options aimed at mitigating visitor impacts to neighborhoods.

Proposed Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan Program Service Enhancements for City Council Consideration:

Public Works and Parking Improvements

Proposed service enhancements include converting City water fountains to include bottle-filling stations at parks, beaches and trails. Additional neighborhood signage discouraging nuisance behavior and littering is also proposed, as well as parking options for Alta Laguna, Park and TOW areas and designation of no parking areas.

To address overcrowding issues on County trails, the Laguna Canyon Foundation (LCF) is also interested in partnering with the City to provide part time staff to serve as trail ambassadors from May 1 to Labor Day 2021 during the busiest visiting hours.

Enhanced Cleaning and More Frequent Trash Collection

Proposed service enhancements include new weekend "Litter Picker Crews" in South Laguna, North Laguna and TOW, and modifying public trash collection services at City beaches and along Coast Highway during the weekends to allow for more efficient and frequent trash collection.

Additional trash cans would also be added at new locations and service dates extended for increased afternoon trash collection.

Enhanced Safety Proposed by the Police Department

Proposed service enhancements include the creation of a permanent Police Department Neighborhood Improvement Team within the Neighborhood Services Division to address neighborhood-based quality of life issues on a macro level.

Proposed Police Department service enhancements also include the installation of two additional cameras in Alta Laguna Park to deter criminal behavior.

Additional Beach Safety Improvements

Proposed service enhancements include additional lifeguard coverage at high-use locations like Crescent Bay Beach, Shaw’s Cove, Victoria/Lagunita and Treasure Island, and augmented Marine Safety services for County Beaches in South Laguna to ensure that a high level of service is maintained throughout the year.

Additional List of Policies for City Council Review:

  • Prohibit the use of plastic straws and single-use plastic containers on beaches and trails
  • Prohibit restaurant distribution of single-use to-go containers
  • Prohibit the feeding of wild birds in City Parks
  • Prohibit use of large shade structures on beaches to preserve public safety sightlines
  • Prohibit storage of bicycles on City beaches and parks
  • Expand prohibition of abandonment of personal property in public spaces
  • Change the operating hours of non-coastal community parks to close at 10:00 p.m

Any of the policies selected by the City Council for staff to pursue will require staff returning at a future City Council meeting with a new resolution or Laguna Beach Municipal Code amendment.

The City Council will consider this program at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, March 9.

Mayor Whalen Talks Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan and Trolley Service in Today's Podcast Update

In today's podcast update, Mayor Whalen gives us specifics on the upcoming opportunity for public input regarding the new City Manager candidate selections, the plans for Trolleys moving forward, and the weed abatement program. We also talk a little Rock & Roll! Click HERE to listen to today's podcast with Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen!

Opportunity for Public Input Regarding New City Manager at Upcoming Listening Sessions

As the City of Laguna Beach undertakes its search for a new City Manager, the City Council wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to provide feedback about the most important qualities potential candidates should possess.

Three Upcoming Listening Sessions will be held via Zoom on:

  • Saturday, March 6: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 11: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 16: 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Online Survey Also Available!

A report containing all the comments and feedback received will be compiled by the recruiter and provided to the Laguna Beach City Council.

Expect Overnight Caltrans Construction on Coast Highway from March 15 - 19

On the evening of Monday, March 15, Caltrans will begin pre-construction staging and installation of construction equipment for the upcoming Culvert Replacement Project on Coast Highway.

To minimize the impact to the public, the closures will take place overnight from 8:00 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. beginning Monday, March 15 to Thursday, March 18 and overnight from 10:00 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. on Friday, March 20.

During this time, traffic lanes will be reduced to one-lane in each direction on Coast Highway between Broadway and Ocean Avenue. Traffic delays and some construction noise is expected.

The upcoming Caltrans Culvert Replacement project will bring significant traffic delays to the area of Coast Highway at Main Beach from April until Memorial Day.

Caltrans Will Also Be Counting Traffic in Town Next Week

Next week, Caltrans will be conducting traffic counts at 8 various locations in Laguna Beach to obtain data for the State’s High Performance Monitoring System (HPMS).

For questions, please contact Caltrans at (657) 328-6000 or email Darcy Birden at darcy.birden@dot.ca.gov

O.C. Can Reach Red Tier in Two Weeks as Coronavirus Metrics Continue to Fall - This week, Orange County got its two testing positivity metrics down two levels lower than its current Purple Tier and is expected to move down to the less-restrictive Red Tier soon.

Laguna Beach Emergency Operations Coordinator Assisting at Soka Vaccine POD

Over the last month, Laguna Beach City staff have been filling various positions at the County vaccine super sites to aid in the County's vaccine efforts.

An Orange County Senior gets his COVID-19 Vaccine at Soka University's Supersite

Last week, the City's Emergency Operations Coordinator Brendan Manning worked with leadership at Soka University POD site and shadowing the OCFA Deputy POD Director.

Soka University Vaccine POD Supersite

Manning learned day-to-day operations of a vaccine super site and what is needed for staffing, supplies, and facilities, to open and operate a vaccine site, while also assisting with the County’s mission to vaccinate all eligible residents by July 4th.

Low Tides Reveal Historic Pipe Near Rockpile Beach

Like an old shipwreck resurfacing after 100 years, recent low tides have exposed the remains of an old abandoned cast iron pipe near Rockpile Beach. City experts believe it dates back to FDR’s 1930s Works Progress Administration: a part of the "New Deal" when the City received grants to build the wastewater treatment plant.

The pipe is believed to be almost 100 years old, and City experts believe it has not been used since the 1980s. Experts believe it is now likely a part of the aquatic environment for marine life in the area.

The City is investigating the options to remove the pipe without damaging the environment.

Upcoming Seasonal Lifeguard Tryouts: Do You Have What it Takes?

You are invited to participate in a free Document Shredding and E-Waste Drop-off Event Saturday, April 3, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., or until trucks reach capacity. COVID-19 guidelines will be followed. Limit of 10 standard file boxes per carload. The event will be held at the City Maintenance Facilities, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. For more information, including a list of acceptable items for shred and E-Waste, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling.
On March 9, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., SCE will be replacing equipment and cables on Morningside Drive between Rancho Laguna Road and Lavender Lane. Overnight, on March 10 between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., SCE will be replacing a vault cover at the intersection of Laguna Avenue and Ramona Avenue. Minor traffic delays anticipated during both instances. For more information, contact SCE at (800) 655-4555.

Watch Now: Mayor Whalen Hosts Virtual Dedication of New Art Installation at Heisler Park!

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City of Laguna Beach