Orange County's Status for Removal from the State's COVID-19 Monitoring List
Good news! Orange County was removed from the State’s COVID-19 monitoring list beginning Saturday, Aug. 22.
What does this mean?
On Saturday, August 22, the countdown began for the County to remain off the State’s monitoring list for a period of 14 consecutive days (we anticipate Day 15 to be Sunday, September 6).
It is important to note that once a county comes off the monitoring list, it is still subject to the Governor’s July 13 order with respect to business sector closures.
Indoor operations SHALL REMAIN CLOSED until the California State Health Officer modifies the Order and authorizes reopening.
Regarding schools and the K-12 Reopening Framework, once Orange County has been off of the monitoring list 14 consecutive days, school districts can explore in-person reopening plans with the Orange County Health Officer.
Update on Hotel Laguna Restoration & Renovation
(Cover photo courtesy Mary Hurlbut/Stu News Laguna)
The first phase of a historic restoration and renovation of the Hotel Laguna, located at 425 S. Coast Highway, is currently underway by The Laguna Beach Company with City oversight.
The first phase of renovations, limited to interior upgrades to the main level of the hotel, are happening now with a goal of opening those spaces as soon as early fall 2020.
The Laguna Beach Co. team has been busy preparing portions of the Hotel Laguna’s ground levels for a new restaurant, and have announced Chef Craig Strong as the new Executive Chef of Hotel Laguna.
The second phase of renovations require a publicly approved Coastal Development Permit and will include the basement level, or “Club House,” and ADA access improvements, followed by exterior renovations.
“Our goal is to respect the history of this landmark while making necessary enhancements that will allow her to be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Hasty Honarkar, Vice President of The Laguna Beach Company.
The Laguna Beach Company is working with renowned historical consultant and specialist Robert Chattel of Chattel, Inc. to ensure the Hotel Laguna is properly renovated and restored, and is required to submit a historic report to the City for all proposed work which will be peer reviewed by the City's consultant.
A historical analysis of both the interior and exterior of the 1930s Mission Revival style hotel is being documented to comply with U.S. Department of Interior Historic Preservation certification. Certification requires meticulous attention to historic elements be met during the restoration.
Over the past two months, the City has been consequent in its oversight of the project and has issued stop-work orders on the project for unpermitted work, including interior remodel of the restaurant level with new electrical, plumbing, framing, and drywall. A second notice for not obtaining proper permits for construction work on the property was issued on July 15.
To ensure no additional unpermitted work occurs on the property and a continuous line of communication is maintained, the City has established weekly recurring meetings on-site with the applicant team. City Building and Safety staff also visit the project site two to three times a week.
“The City is very supportive of the end goal of restoring the Hotel Laguna as a community asset and reopening it to the public,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig. “The City would like to move past these recent issues and work with the applicant on getting back to work to make this project a success for the community.”
“We are extremely grateful that the City is helping us navigate through this challenging project and look forward to our ongoing communication with City staff to ensure things move forward with no further hiccups,” Honaker said. “Our team is incredibly excited to bring this property back to life and we look forward to continuing to work with the City on its revival.”
Parking Structure Study Results
On May 12, 2020, the Laguna Beach City Council, as part of the approval of the Economic Recovery and Business Development Plan, awarded a contract to Walker Consultants for a Parking Structure Study to assess the physical and financial feasibility of constructing a new parking structure on the existing lot located at 725 Laguna Canyon Road, north of City Hall.
The study has been completed and staff is releasing its results at the link below in advance of the September 8, 2020 City Council meeting.
Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen Joins "Mask Up to Open Up" Campaign With Local OC Mayors
This week, Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen joined all other Orange County Mayors to participate in a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for the OC Mayors "Mask Up to Open Up OC" campaign.
The PSA should be released around Labor Day, encouraging the public to wear face coverings and will feature support from six to eight cities around Orange County.
New HIP District Banners Bring Greater Visibility to Local Business Offerings
As part of the City of Laguna Beach Economic Recovery Plan, the City Council approved the installation of new banners in the HIP District to assist the businesses with identification and visibility.
The banners were designed by a marketing firm working with the HIP district businesses and were installed this week, with logos like "Stroll," "Stay," "Boutiques," "Surf" and "Enjoy."
Few know that before Laguna Beach had its current Downtown, the heart of the small business district in early Laguna was around Blue Bird Canyon and South Coast Highway.
This historic place is called the “HIP” District for Historic and Interesting Places and “HIP” because it is!
It's Fire Season:
What is a Red Flag Warning?
A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.
Especially when there are high or erratic winds, the Red Flag Warning means high fire danger with increased probability of a quickly spreading vegetation fire in the area within 24 hours.
During a Red Flag Warning, parking restrictions are implemented for the Diamond/Crestview neighborhoods. Any vehicles who are parked in marked parking spaces with a “red flag” painted in the center of the asphalt may be cited or towed.
In order to ensure you are contacted during a Red Flag Warning, please register with the Nixle Red Flag group by texting “LBRedFlag” to 888-777.
Also, make sure you register your cell phone number, text number, and email address at Alertoc.com to ensure you are informed if disaster strikes. Click the link below to register!
Take the Pledge By Monday to Make Laguna Beach the Nation's Most "Waterwise City!"
Take the Pledge to Keep Us at the Top!
The 9th Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is taking place now through Monday, August 31 - and the City of Laguna Beach is holding strong at #1 in our population category!
Hear the Laguna Beach "Band on the Bus" on Sunday
On Sunday, August 30, 2020, between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., the “Band on the Bus” program will bring live music to Laguna Beach neighborhoods via the City’s Trolley.
This weekend the program will feature the "Kalama Brothers" in the area of Brooks Street and Bluebird Canyon.