the vegetation versus view issue for more than 10 years and have yet
to come up with a solution that satisfies the concerns of the entire
The council came no closer to a resolution at Tuesday's meeting
after reviewing the commission's latest draft revision, based on what
the commissioners believed they had been directed to do -- but
recommended dumping it.
"This is our fault," Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman said. "We told
them what to do. Now, I'd like to give them new direction."
The council voted 3 to 2 on Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson's
motion to send the ordinance back to the commission. The commission
was directed to review the version it crafted in 1997, subsequently
rejected by the council, with the thought of a right to view equity,
rather than a right to a view, a sticking point with at least one
council member. The council also directed the commission to consider
obtaining the services of a tree expert, establishing the date of
property purchase as the baseline for view restoration, exploring
ways to fund enforcement of the ordinance and keeping the city's role
They all shied away from a Palos Verdes-style ordinance that makes
the city responsible for enforcement at a cost that Laguna council
members considered prohibitive and established a view restoration
process. Restoration resonates with Laguna's view proponents.
"We are being robbed of something very precious," Laguna Beach
resident Margery Adams said after showing a video of the view she
said she used to enjoy.
Kinsman and Pearson were members of the Planning Commission when
the 1997 version was recommended to the council after two years of
public meetings. Commissioners at the time believed that the council
gutted the version by removing "right to a view" from the language,
which weakened the ability to enforce a solution and eliminating
restoration on the advice of the city attorney.
The '97 ordinance, which gave equal weight to the value of trees
and views, never sat well with view preservation folks.
"Here we are, 10 years later, still hassling about it," said Dave
Connell, a member of an ad hoc committee of residents that crafted