Local Issues

The Laguna Board of REALTORS® is involved with these local City of Laguna Beach Issues:


The Historic Preservation Ordinance

The City of Laguna Beach, after several contentious years of attempts to re-write the Historic Preservation Ordinance, assembled a Task Force, made up of residents of the city, along with the city’s lawyer, that could conduct public meetings to clarify questions regarding The Historic Register, The Historic Inventory, the rating system in place, the state CEQA guidelines, along with a definition of how to proceed with a successful new Historic Preservation Ordinance that benefits the city, state and residents affected. 


Residents filled the Historic Task Force meetings along with a local lawyer, Larry Nokes, an advocate for residents (Let Laguna Live).  Mr. Nokes presented an entirely different view, opposite from the city lawyer, of what the city’s responsibility is to the state in identifying Historic Resources.


After just two meetings of the Historic Preservation Task Force, the city government decided to suspend Task Force meetings until an the Task Force had a full understanding of the legal aspects with relation to the state guidelines and CEQA.


IMPORTANT: With regard to how REALTORS® will represent buyers going forward, this new ordinance will dictate when a property is or may become a Historic Resource, and how to understand both the benefits of owning a Historic Property, and the downside of the limitations placed on Historic Properties. Currently there is a list of homes rated E-Exceptional, K-Key, and C-Contributive.  This rating system is not how the state rates Historic Resources and may be altered.  The city has also created the C rating, which is arbitrary in that it is not a truly Historic Resource but one that the city’s Historic Preservation Committee and Design Review believe ‘contributes’ to the overall history of the city.


Also, how the Design Review Process may affect homes that are not currently considered Historic Resources, that indeed may become Historic Resources upon an owner’s application for any improvement or renovation to the property.


PLEASE ATTEND this Special City Council Meeting Sept 29th at 1PM to show your support as they decide on one of these two options which are polar opposite directions on how the city will move forward based on the city lawyer’s interpretation, or an independent lawyer’s interpretation.


Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance


The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will receive an introduction regarding “proposed changes” to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance. The Planning Commission’s review of the “proposed changes” will then be continued to a future meeting where the Planning Commission will provide direction on a draft Ordinance for future Council consideration. The “proposed changes” reflect recent State mandates and public input provided. The proposed amendment is intended to bring the City’s Zoning Ordinance into compliance with State law, which was enacted on January 1, 2017. The intent of the new legislation (SB 1069 and AB 2299) is to address California’s housing shortage by making it easier to develop ADUs, which are believed to provide affordable housing options for family members, students, the elderly, in-home health care providers, the disabled, and other vulnerable populations at or below market prices within existing neighborhoods. The law also addresses development barriers related to parking requirements, waiver of water and sewage connection fees, and exceptions for fire sprinkler requirements. The proposed amendment will also address other development restrictions currently proposed in the City’s existing Ordinance. Some of comments received at the community workshop included support for the creation of affordable second unit housing opportunities for senior citizens, the local workforce, in-home care providers and for younger generations who moved away from their families due to affordability constraints in Laguna. Staff was also asked to research what constitutes affordability as compared to current rental market conditions in Laguna, evaluate incorporation of State Law pertaining to Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (SB 2406), reducing the minimum lot size, increasing the maximum unit size, to clarify unit size maximums for conversion of existing garages to ADUs as permitted by State law, and legalization of nonconforming guest houses that were constructed prior to 1936.


For questions on the topic of Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance: Monique Alaniz-Flejter, AICP Associate Planner Community Development Department City of Laguna Beach (949)497-0744




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