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Laguna Beach City news City of Laguna Beach, California

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
Click HERE for Zoom Instructions on How to Watch the 2020 Laguna Beach State of the City Address on Tuesday, September 15 at 5:30 p.m.

City, Visit Laguna Beach and Chamber Launch "Clean, Safe, Ready" Campaign Today

This past Tuesday, Orange County officially entered into Tier 2 of the State of California re-opening plan. This step forward is a milestone for so many of our local businesses who have been closed or severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions over the past six months.

We (the City of Laguna Beach, Visit Laguna Beach and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce) believe it is extremely important to lead by example and encourage all Laguna Beach businesses to operate within the State guidelines and follow the appropriate safety protocols. These safety measures not only slow the spread of COVID-19, they also give residents and visitors a renewed confidence to patronize your business.

We are calling on you to partner with the City, Visit Laguna Beach and the Chamber of Commerce in our effort to protect our community by taking the CLEAN.SAFE.READY. pledge. This pledge demonstrates your business’ commitment to placing a priority on the health, safety, and well-being of your employees, customers, visitors, and residents. Please click HERE to find out how you can pledge your commitment as a business partner.

The last thing any of us want is to roll back the great progress we’ve made with further restrictions on our local businesses. By working together to adhere to capacity limits, physical distancing, sanitization, and face covering requirements, we can avoid non-compliance situations and ensure our businesses can remain open and thrive.

We appreciate your cooperation as we all work together to get through these unique and challenging times!

City Council Moves Ahead With Preliminary Design for Downtown Parking Structure

On Tuesday, the City Council approved initiating preliminary design and studies of a Downtown parking structure to be located at 725 Laguna Canyon Road. The City Council voted to appropriate $1.15 million from the Parking fund for the parking structure's preliminary design, environmental and geotechnical analysis, and studies.

Downtown parking structure artist rendering courtesy of Jorg Dubin.

Specifics of the proposed Downtown parking structure:

  • 3 - level structure
  • 327 total parking spaces
  • 201 net parking spaces gained
  • Total height not to exceed 35’
  • Construction could begin as early as 2023

City Council Receives Sobering 2020 Wildfire Season Update from Laguna Beach Fire Chief

Tuesday, Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia presented the 2020 Wildfire Season Update report to the City Council and in it explained that moisture levels in the fire “fuel” (dry brush, shrubs and vegetation) surrounding the City are at record lows, meaning they could rapidly ignite in the event of a wildfire. He also urged residents to prepare their homes and said this year’s fire season may last an additional four months.

Click HERE to download your Laguna Beach neighborhood evacuation route map, Click HERE to find out how you can create defensible space around your home, and sign up for emergency alerts via AlertOC and Nixle.

City Council Approves Citizen's Task Force to Review Police Protocols

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council approved the formation of a Citizen's Police Ad Hoc Task Force to review police protocols. Five members will be appointed to serve on the Task Force within the next six to eight weeks.

Directions on how to apply for the Task Force will be released soon.

Laguna Beach Mayor Discusses Proposed Parking Structure in Today's Podcast Update

In today's podcast update, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen talks about Tuesday's City Council action to explore a Downtown parking structure, the City's current fire danger levels and this week's Tier 2 reopening for some local business sectors.

Last week Congressman Harley Rouda visited the City of Laguna Beach to talk with local business owners and tour The Promenade on Forest. Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis, City Manager John Pietig, City Councilmember Sue Kempf and Chamber of Commerce President Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold joined Rouda on the tour to talk with the business community.

Sawdust Art Festival to Open Outdoor Marketplace September 19

The Sawdust Art Festival has been approved to open its Outdoor Marketplace on September 19, 2020. The Outdoor Marketplace will offer a safe and intimate environment within its historical 3-acre eucalyptus grove where patrons can shop art, and enjoy outdoor dining and live music.

"We're thrilled to announce the opening of our Outdoor Marketplace. Local artists can begin to rebound from the economic impact of the pandemic, and it’s a wonderful way for friends and neighbors to safely shop and socialize on our beautiful grounds,” stated Monica Prado, President of the Sawdust board of directors.

Nearly 100 Sawdust artists will rotate through 48 spaces every weekend over the course of the event, providing a unique opportunity for patrons to shop art directly from some of their favorite artists.

"I want to commend the Sawdust Board of Directors for their creativity in developing a plan that will allow a great Laguna tradition to continue this fall," said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. "Our community was founded by artists and the marketplace will provide an opportunity for many local artists to sell their art to support themselves and their families.”

The Sawdust Art Festival has also taken every precaution to provide a safe experience for guests with an extensive implementation of safeguards and preventative measures.

Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager of Laguna Beach added, "I'm so pleased that we were able to work collaboratively with the Sawdust to develop a plan that can safely bring the artists back to the Sawdust grounds.”

Sawdust Art Festival Presents an Outdoor Marketplace will be open on Saturdays and Sundays only beginning September 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Advance ticket sales will be announced online soon.

City of Laguna Beach Announces New Director of Public Works

After an extensive search and recruitment process, Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig is pleased to announce the hiring of Mark McAvoy as the new Director of Public Works for the City. Mark is currently the Director of Public Works and Development Services for the City of Monterey Park, California.

Mark has over 20 years of experience in Municipal Services and Public Works management and operations. He currently has oversight of Administration, Engineering, Planning, Building and Safety, Transit Services, and all Street, Sewer, Fleet, Building and Facilities Maintenance divisions with a $32.1 million annual Operating Budget and $8.9 million Capital Improvement Project budget for the City of Monterey Park.

Prior to City of Monterey Park, Mark served for four years as Public Works Director in Lomita, California. He also has worked for cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Ontario as a Civil Engineer and as a consultant managing various Caltrans projects.

“The Department of Public Works is vital to our City’s operations,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig. “I am confident that Mark’s experience and leadership skills will continue to enhance core services and quality of life in Laguna Beach for our residents and visitors. We are excited to have him join our team.”

Marks holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Long Beach and plans to move to Orange County with his family over the next few months.

Mark will begin his new role on September 28, 2020.

Per the County Health Officer, all Orange County playgrounds, including those in Laguna Beach, remain closed. Volleyball, basketball, and other group sports are also not yet permitted.

City to Hold Virtual 9-11 Day of Remembrance Tomorrow

On Friday, September 11, beginning at 8:46 a.m. at Monument Point in Heisler Park, the City will remember the victims of September 11th with a virtual ceremony in their honor.

Due to COVID-19, members of the community are not encouraged to attend the memorial in person.

The City is broadcasting the ceremony LIVE for public viewing beginning at 8:46 a.m. on our Facebook page. The public is invited to watch the ceremony LIVE at the link below!

This Laguna Beach City news update is texted and emailed to residents through the City's Nixle Emergency Notification System.

To sign up, text 92651 to 888-777.

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