Laguna Beach City news City of Laguna Beach, California


This Week's Laguna Beach City Council Actions:

Appeal of Rivian Theatre Project at Laguna Cinemas Dismissed

Tuesday, the City Council approved the withdraw of an appeal of Rivian Automotive's reuse and remodel project at 154-162 S. Coast Highway (South Coast Cinemas.) Rivian's project includes restoring the theater, a new retail and food and beverage space, and an area to display two Rivian vehicles.

City Council Approves Streamlined Process for Property Owners Seeking More Fire Prevention Through Fuel Modification

Tuesday, the City Council approved streamlining voluntary fuel modification programs for property owners by moving the program's oversight from the Design Review Board to the Director of Community Development and the Fire Chief. The Council also waived all City fees for property owners seeking new or modified fuel modification programs, and allocated $40,000 from the General Fund to study the impacts of new fuel modification standards for properties in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. The results of the Initial Study should be complete by the end of June.

City Council Receives Second Budget Update for FY 2020-2021

Tuesday, the City reported that while the City’s finances are weathering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, revenue is likely to remain below its pre-pandemic levels for the next fiscal year. Sales tax, Transient Occupancy Tax, and Community Development revenues are improving better than expected, but General Fund Reserves may still be needed to balance next year’s budget. With the improvement in revenue, the City Council did restore some of the June budget cuts and added $900,000 to the General Fund and Parking Fund balances. Financial recovery from the pandemic will take time, but there is cautious optimism about stabilizing revenues.

City Council Proclamation Honors the Late Barbara Diamond

On Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a proclamation recognizing beloved Barbara F. Diamond as a highly respected and talented Laguna Beach resident and journalist. Diamond, a long-time Stu News reporter, died February 10 at the age of 88. The Laguna Beach City Council honored Barbara Diamond with the proclamation and dedicated a "press chair" in City Council chambers in her memory. The honorary chair will cost approximately $2,000.

Anyone wishing to donate towards the Permanent Press Chair honoring Barbara Diamond can send a check to:

The next meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council is Tuesday, March 9.

The City Council has asked its recruiting firm to hold three upcoming opportunities for public input regarding the next Laguna Beach City Manager.

Three Listening Sessions will be held via Zoom on:

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

Detailed Zoom information will be provided next week.

Listen to Today's Podcast Update With Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen

In today's podcast update, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen discusses several of the items covered in Tuesday night’s marathon City Council meeting, including local assistance the City might receive in a proposal from the House Oversight Committee.

Major Coast Highway Traffic Delays Expected During Upcoming Caltrans Project

On Tuesday, February 23, the Laguna Beach City Council received an update by Caltrans on the current schedule for Caltrans' upcoming Culvert Replacement project on Coast Highway at Main Beach between Broadway and Ocean Avenue.

The Caltrans Culvert Replacement project will bring significant traffic delays to the area of Coast Highway at Main Beach. It is tentatively scheduled to begin the first week in April and last until Memorial Day.

Seven points of traffic control are planned within the Downtown area to help mitigate traffic concerns associated with the project.

As these photos show, the 100-year old concrete Box Culvert underneath Coast Highway is crumbling and rebar is exposed and corroded, presenting serious safety concerns for stability in the area if the culvert is not replaced soon.

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

Small Businesses Can Prepare Now to Apply for Upcoming Round 3 of California Grant Relief Program

This week California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion coronavirus relief package that will set aside $2.1 billion in grants for struggling small businesses.

The package builds on the initiatives in the Governor’s January state budget proposal to increase aid to small businesses and provide license renewal fee waivers to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

The immediate relief for small businesses provides grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and allocates $50 million of this total for non-profit cultural institutions.

We anticipate that an announcement for how to apply for “Round 3” of this program will be made in the next few weeks.

The City of Laguna Beach can provide assistance with Small Business applications for grant relief funding through the Laguna Beach Business Assistance Program.
For more information and to sign up for FREE assistance from the Laguna Beach Business Assistance Program, Click HERE.
Great News! Orange County is on track to enter the Red Tier on the state’s reopening system in a couple weeks because positivity rates have dramatically fallen. Red Tier will mean a return to limited-capacity indoor dining!
Per this week's updated guidance on sports from the California Department of Health effective Friday, the City of Laguna Beach will reopen the Main Beach Basketball and Volleyball Courts beginning Friday, February 26! Please play at your own risk, practice physical distancing, and wear a face covering when playing with people from outside your household.

State Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility to Additional Groups

This week, the State opened COVID-19 Vaccine eligibility to Phase 1B (Tier 1), which includes: Education, Food Service, Grocery and Agriculture Workers, Child Care Providers and Emergency Services.

Eligible? CLICK HERE to pre-register through Othena to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine when it's your turn!

City Announces New Laguna Beach City Arborist!

The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce Matthew Barker has joined the Laguna Beach Public Works Department as the new City Arborist!

Matthew comes to us from the state of Virginia where he worked as an Arborist for the City of Alexandria for the past five years. He also has experience working as an Arborist at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C..

Matthew holds his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts in Biology with a concentration in Tree Community Ecology.

Welcome to California and Laguna Beach, Matthew!

Renovation of the South Main Beach Restroom is underway and expected to be completed by the end of March. Beginning March 1, access to the road near the Restroom (El Paseo) will be limited due to construction. For more information, please contact Tom Perez at tperez@lagunabeachcity.net.
On March 1, between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Southern California Edison will be replacing equipment and cables on Bluebird Canyon Drive between Morningside Drive and Regatta Road. Minor traffic delays are anticipated. For more information please contact SCE at (800) 655-4555.
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