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City News

City Council Highlights: September 24

City Council Votes 3-2 to Explore Options for Digester Building

At its regular meeting September 24, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to direct City Staff to begin removing sludge from the City’s Digester Building, do an Environmental Impact Report needed for demolition and develop a cost estimate for demolishing the building and also an economic analysis on the feasibility of renting it out. 

Staff presented the City Council with options for the building, including painting and patching, interior renovation, complete restoration and demolishing it to create additional parking.  Remaining sludge in the Digester has been classified as hazardous waste and will need to be removed and properly disposed of at a licensed facility in Arizona regardless of the direction taken with the building.  The building will also require asbestos and lead abatement.

The former sewage digester dates back to the 1930s but has not been operational since the 1980s.  It was placed the City’s historic register as a “K”-rated structure in 1989 by that year’s City Council.

City Council Receives Update on Village Entrance Art Project

At its regular meeting on September 24, staff presented the City Council with an update on the Village Entrance Project, including proposed public art earmarked for the site.  The Council approved both the concept for the art piece and site in April of 2018.  The piece is proposed to be located in a section of the Village Entrance Project across from the Festival of Arts.

Sian Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Laguna Beach, told the Council the proposed art piece by artist Mark Fornes would be 45 feet long, 27 feet wide and 26 feet tall. Councilmembers voted to continue the development of the project, requested a project model and clear presentation of the projected project costs.  The Arts Commission will also review the project plans further before the project returns to City Council.

Outdoor Warning System Approved for City

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, the City Council approved the purchase of a new, City-wide outdoor warning system.  The warning system is one of the 46 recommendations made to increase wildfire safety by the Wildfire Mitigation and Fire Safety Subcommittee, which was approved by the City Council in July.

In the event of an emergency, the warning system will alert residents through loudspeakers placed throughout town.  The system will have solar back-up power in the case of power failure, satellite activation capabilities in the case of telecommunications failure, mobile, and web-based activation capabilities, ability to broadcast integrated public alert and warning system messages through speakers and voice announcement capabilities to allow specific evacuation directions to be given during emergencies. The City Council unanimously approved the purchase, installation and service and maintenance agreement for the outdoor warning system with LRAD Corporation.  

The City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with LRAD Corporation in the amount of $1,082,708 to provide professional consulting, planning, construction, installation, software hosting, and implementation of a redundant city-wide outdoor warning system.