Friday, March 21, 2008

Laguna Beach Price for Damaging Open Space

My letter-to-the-editor was published in the Laguna Beach Independent.
March 21, 2008
The price for damaging open space


The City claims that it does not allow developers to use the permanent open space adjacent to new construction. However, the new house being built at 3325 Alta Laguna Boulevard has extensively damaged the adjacent environmentally sensitive permanent open space, including creating a road and driving large earth moving equipment across the open space.

Despite the applicant's architect claiming before a recent Design Review Board meeting that they did not go into the open space, the DRB was provided a recent aerial photograph clearly showing the extensive damage. One of the DRB commissioners at this meeting publicly chided the applicant's architect pointing out that she had been on site that same day and had seen for herself this extensive damage to the permanent open space.

A DRB commissioner stated "We are going to hold you to that" but the motion of approval was that, if the open space was damaged, the developer would be responsible to restore it.

Is this denying the developer the use of the open space? Hardly. It is just a method of setting a very low cost for damaging the permanent open space, a price that likely would be most agreeable to this and future developers.

Gene Felder Laguna Beach


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