Press ReleasePress ReleaseCity of Laguna Beach
John Pietig, City Manager

505 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Phone: (949) 497-0704
Fax: (949) 497-0771


Subject :2018 Key Accomplishments
Contact :John Pietig    949-497-0704


Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Subcommittee– The City Council approved the formation of a Council Subcommittee to: assess the City’s current level of risk and exposure to wildfires; research current regulations to mitigate wildfires; and develop an action plan to reduce loss of life and property damage from wildfires.

Increased Police and Marine Safety Presence Main Beach and Heisler Park– Measure LL funds were allocated to increase Police and Marine Safety presence resulting from an increase nuisance and criminal activity in the area.

Fuel Modification Program– The City received a $3.2 million grant award for fuel modification work along the Laguna Canyon.  

Aliso/Woods Canyon Fire– The Fire Department worked with local agencies to successfully extinguish a vegetation fire that was seriously threatening the Top of the World neighborhood.

Measure LL Paramedic- The Fire Department completed the training of three additional Firefighter/Paramedics funded through Measure LL. The department is now staffed with 24 paramedics.

Developed Citywide Evacuation and Hazard Mitigation Plans– Comprehensive evacuation and hazard mitigation plans were written and approved.

First School Resource Officer- The first dedicated School Resource Officer for the Laguna Beach Unified School District was approved and staffed for the start of 2018/2019 school year.

Active Shooter Training- The Police Department conducted a live active shooter training exercise at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD).

Marine Safety SALT Program– The Marine Safety Department provided Surfer Awareness in Lifesaving Training (SALT) to the Laguna Beach High School Surf Team. 

Anti-bullying Campaign- The Police Department partnered with skateboard athlete Tony Hawk on an anti-bullying video.

Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD)- were placed at critical areas in the flood zones in the downtown, Main Beach and Heisler Park areas for communication during emergency events impacting that area.

Unmanned Aerial System (Drone) Program- The Police Department implemented their Drone Program.

Additional Outreach and Engagement Team- In partnership with the Orange County Heath Care Agency, an additional Outreach and Engagement team was dedicated to Laguna Beach.

Fire Department Assists with Fires Statewide– Firefighters provided assistance to wildfires located in both Northern and Southern California while maintain coverage at all four of the City’s fire stations.


Village Entrance Groundbreaking– The Village Entrance project began with a ground-breaking ceremony on September 11, 2018. The project focuses on enhanced pedestrian safety, improved traffic flow, and new open space.

Thalia Street, Agate Street and Cleo Street Beach Access– The City completed rehabilitation of three beach access points that provide for an easier, safer and more appealing experience for visitors. 

Utility Undergrounding Program– The City completed pole and overhead wire removal for two utility undergrounding assessment districts:

  • The Summit Drive Assessment District included 12 parcels in the Summit Drive and Van Dyke Drive Area.  
  • Nearly two miles of overhead lines were removed in the Coast Royal Assessment District. This neighborhood includes 224 parcels in the area of Monterey Street, Brooks Street, Pedro Street, Holly Drive, Ceanothus Drive, Alta Loma Street and Ocean View Street.
  • Purchased over $8 million of Rule 20A Credits for Utility Undergrounding.

Improvement of City Facilities and Local Infrastructure– The City completed several projects to improve City facilities and local infrastructure:

  • Repaired and resealed more than 25 streets in the Laguna Canyon area and the area bounded by Thalia Street, Temple Terrace, Cress Street and the Coast.
  • Replaced the retaining wall and improved roadway drainage on Queda Way to help prevent flooding of private properties.
  • Renovated City Hall West offices at 479 Ocean Avenue for the Public Works Department.
  • Re-routed a storm drain away from homes to the end of Dorn Court.
  • Added safety lighting at the Alternative Sleeping Location, Jahraus Park, and Virginia Park Drive.
  • Completed downtown street restriping which included repainting street legends. 
  • Started design of the Coast Highway intersection improvements between Broadway and Legion Street.
  • Rehabilitated the Bluebird SOCWA sewage lift station wet well.
  • Rehabilitated the Laguna SOCWA sewage lift station.
  • Upgraded the sewage lift station at the Animal Shelter.
  • Replaced emergency power generators at Cleo, Anita and Bluebird Canyon sewage lift stations.  

Completed Video Inspection Year 2 (Zone 1)– Completed 20.1 miles of sewer assessments of the gravity sewer system.  Staff evaluated the video assessment and scheduled for mainline repairs.

Lower Park Avenue Plaza - Completed pilot closure program of Lower Park Avenue in January 2018 and brought an evaluation of the program to the City Council in March 2018


Landscape and Scenic Highways Element– The City Council adopted the Landscape and Scenic Highways Element and revised Resource Document.

Accessory Dwelling Unit– The City Council adopted an updated Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance. The Ordinance is now pending review before the California Coastal Commission.

Wayfinding Sign Program– The City Council approved a temporary wayfinding sign program. 

Updates to the Downtown Specific Plan – The Planning Commission has completed review of individual sections of the Specific Plan and a preliminary draft of the final document is expected to be released in January for Planning Commission review and final recommendations to the City Council in early 2019.

Historic Preservation– The City Council provided direction to staff on the preparation of a revised Historic Preservation Ordinance and formed a task force to provide staff input on proposed incentives and local historic review criteria.  A new ordinance is anticipated to be adopted in early 2019.


Summer Festival Transit Service– The City’s Transit Service accommodated 616,019 patrons during the 10-week summer season.  This is an 8% increase over 2017 summer service. 

Summer Breeze Bus Service– The City, in partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority, continued to offer free bus service and free parking from a peripheral parking lot near SR-133/I-405 interchange in Irvine to Laguna Beach summer destinations. More than 10,300 patrons were recorded over the ten weekends of operation, which is a 6% increase over 2017.  The City was also awarded a five-year grant to perpetuate this service.

Purchase of New Trolleys– Purchased four new trolleys for the neighborhood services.  These new trolleys are smaller and quieter, making them more suited to service our neighborhoods. 


World Kindness– The City launched two new campaigns #ActiveLaguna and #BeaGreeter. The #BeAGreeter campaign led to the addition of the World Kindness Day event and now the City is pursuing designation as a USA World Kindness City. 

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting– The City received an award for its easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

Balanced Budget– The City Council adopted a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19, while maintaining a 20% General Fund Reserve.

Laguna’s Excellent Ocean Water Quality– Laguna Beach continues to receive high marks year-round from bacteria testing in the ocean along the coastline. This year, the annual Heal the Bay Report Card recognized both Victoria Beach and North Aliso County Beach on their honor roll. 

Lewellyn Property Naturalization– The City acquired a two-acre previously developed parcel at 1199 Lewellyn Drive and is nearly finished restoring the site back to its natural, undeveloped state. 

DeWitt Property Habitat Restoration Project– The Water Quality Department, in coordination with Laguna Canyon Foundation and Laguna Greenbelt, has been working on a grant funded project to restore the native habitat at Laguna Canyon Road between Philips Street and the Anneliese School. 

First Arbor Day Celebration- The City Council proclaimed March 7 to March 14 of each year as Arbor Week in Laguna Beach.

City Tree Replanting Project- The City completed the replanting of 30 street trees in the downtown area and along Coast Highway to replace trees that have fallen or been removed.  

City Received 2018 Sustain Orange County Government of the Year Award-The City received the 2018 Government of the Year award for its recycling and sustainability programs, Environmental Lecture series offered to residents and having an Environmental Sustainability committee.  

Creative Placemaking Assessment- In partnership with AEA Consulting, the Arts Commission completed and published a Creative Placemaking Assessment to determine the feasability of a new mixed-use cultural facility and identify alternative uses for existing spaces.

Cultural Arts Funding– Sixteen (16) organizations received grants from the City for a total of $236,600 being distributed for arts activities. Since its inception in 2002, $2.7 million has been granted to arts organizations.

Grant Funding for Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL)– The City was awarded $909,000 in Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds to renovate the ASL and offset operational costs. The City partnered with Friendship Shelter to receive an Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) in the amount of $150,000 to mitigate operational costs of the ASL. The City also received $125,850 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to mitigate operational costs of the ASL.

Acquisition of Open Space– The City acquired seven parcels dedicated to open space in the Arch Beach Heights area.

Public Concerts-The Arts Commission hosted 16 total concerts this year.