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City News

City Council Highlights: October 15

City Council Votes to Make Improvements to Main Beach Park, Preserve Grass

At its regular meeting on October 15, the Laguna Beach City Council received renovation and improvement recommendations for the Main Beach Park area from City Staff. The approved two-year budget includes $600,000 for the renovation of Main Beach Park between Marine Safety Headquarters and Laguna Avenue. 

City Councilmembers voted unanimously to preserve a majority of the grass in the main grass areas at Main Beach Park, look for more drought-tolerant grass and a more efficient irrigation system, look for small areas where grass can be replaced with drought-tolerant plants or succulents and directed staff to return with suggestions on how to regulate the use of the grassy area.  Suggestions made included benches match the boardwalk and the memorial plaques on the benches be preserved. 

“As part of this renovation we want to work closely with the Police Department to make sure we meet the guidelines of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works.  “By just changing some of the design of Main Beach Park we have prevented crime.  We want to continue that partnership with the Police Department and make sure they work closely as part of our team in designing these renovations.”

Following the City Council recommendations, City Staff will initiate the design of the renovations and will present the project to the Planning Commission for public input and Design Review.  After those steps, Staff will return to the City Council for final approval of the design before bidding the project for construction. City Staff is already in the middle of the design for renovating the southern Main Beach restroom, and plan to have that renovation completed in the Fall of 2020.

 

City Council Recognizes October 24 – October 31 World Polio Week

At its regular meeting on October 15, the Laguna Beach City Council recognized October 24 – October 31 as World Polio Week in the City of Laguna Beach, and the efforts of Rotary International to eradicate the disease.

In 1985, Rotary launched Polio Plus and spearheaded the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which today includes the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to immunize the children of the world against polio. To date, Rotary has contributed more than &1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than 2 billion children in 122 countries.

20-year Service Award Presented to City Treasurer

At its regular meeting, October 15 Mayor Bob Whalen presented a 20-year service award to City Treasurer Laura Parisi.

The City Treasurer is elected and serves a four-year term. Working in a part-time capacity, her responsibilities include: Chief Investment Officer, Banking services, Assessment District Trustee including oversight of Fiscal Agents and District Administrator(s), Monitor cash flow, and Conduct the Transient Occupancy Tax and Business Improvement District program reviews.

In 2017, the City of Laguna Beach investment Policy received the “Certificate of Excellence” award from the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada and was certified by the California Municipal Treasurers Association in 2019.

Parisi has served as Laguna Beach City Treasurer since August 2, 1999.

More Goats Added to City’s Herd to Help with Fuel Modification Efforts

At its regular meeting on October 15, Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia gave an update on the City’s Goat herd used for fuel modification efforts. He said the City is increasing the herd up to 1,100 goats. They City typically has around 250 goats and currently has the largest goat herd in 20 years.

The City’s goat herd was expanded in size because heavy rains over the winter months have created higher than average growth of brush (fire “fuel”) in Laguna Beach’s fuel modification zones. Each herd is guided by its own dedicated goat herder from Peru and a shepherd dog to help guide the herd through the City’s specific fuel modification zones. As part of the City’s fuel modification program, a team of experienced hand crews also work in fuel modification zones to clear brush by hand.

Nearly all of the City of Laguna Beach and its surrounding 16,000 acres of open space are designated by CalFire as a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. This designation underscores the significant risk in the City and recognizes the loss of 441 structures due to wildfire in 1993.

At its regular meeting July 23, the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved a Fire Mitigation and Safety Subcommittee Report and approved moving forward with its recommended action items including additional programs, mitigation measures, staffing and equipment needed to reduce the current level of high fire risk and exposure to wildfires in Laguna Beach and action items needed to further protect the City in the event of a wildfire. A detailed copy of the Subcommittee’s report can be found at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/pw/wildfire_mitigation_and_fire_safety.htm

The City of Laguna Beach is encouraging residents to be better prepared for a wildfire by creating a defensible space and creating a defensible home.  You can do this by using fire-safe construction materials, and looking for points of entry where embers could intrude into the home or attic during a fire. Home and property safety preparation should also include creating defensible space around your home by clearing vegetation at least 30 to 100 feet away from your home, and using fire resistant landscaping to help stop the spread of wildfire. Residents should also remove all dead or dying vegetation from their yard, roof and rain gutters.  Residents can sign up for a free wildfire consultation by the Laguna Beach Fire Department by visiting

http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/fire/fire_prevention/sign_up.htm or by calling 949-497-0700.