The City of Laguna Beach has agreed to acquire 12.8 acres of open space in Laguna Canyon. Located at 1199 Lewellyn Drive, the property consists of two parcels located on a hillside behind the Sawdust Festival on the southern side of Laguna Canyon Road just below Skyline Drive.
Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman stated, “The Lewellyn property is located on a prominent hillside that is visible to all entering the City. Its acquisition demonstrates the City’s commitment to the preservation of the beautiful open space that surrounds the community of Laguna Beach that every generation will treasure.”
Penelope Milne of CANDO, the Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization, added, “We deeply appreciate the City Council’s action. Thanks to the City, the neighborhood is safer and both residents and visitors will continue to enjoy the lovely sight of the natural Canyon wall.”
City Manager John Pietig explained that, “The City’s General Plan contains policies that encourage the preservation of high-value habitat and scenic areas.” In 2016, the City entered into negotiations with the property owner to acquire the land and preserve it as open space. The agreement to acquire the property also resolves pending litigation. The cost to acquire the property is $1,300,000 plus related closing costs. After acquisition, the property will be maintained by the City. A project to improve drainage on the site will be developed and implemented.
Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones emphasized that, “These additional parcels are critical habitat for wildlife, and they fill a gap in our greenbelt. Thank you to the City of Laguna Beach for recognizing the importance of this land, and protecting these parcels in perpetuity!”