The decision was left to the trio because Councilwoman Jane Egly was out of town and state law barred Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman from voting because she owns property within 500 feet of the project.
Opposition to the project was voiced by opponents who did not like the site, the design or both. Some opponents opposed the destruction of the cottage neighborhood to make way for the center.
The project is 17,900 square feet smaller than the 36,894 square feet originally proposed.
Thirteen speakers supported the project.
"I was president of the Laguna Beach Seniors six years ago when we came before the council because we were the only South County seniors who did not have a place of our town," Louise Buckley said. "I think we [seniors] are also a heritage, and we need to have a home."
Cost of the project is projected to be $15.7 million, which includes design changes recommended by the Planning Commission, funding to move and temporarily store four of the Third Street cottages and pursuit of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver rating.
All of the cottages on the site must be moved or demolished before the groundbreaking, tentatively set for April.
— Barbara Diamond
3. The elections
Voters were faced with a slew of elections in 2006, after the appointment of Rep. Chris Cox to head the Securities and Exchange Commission the previous year, and the election of then-state Senator John Campbell to fill the remaining term of the 45th District seat.
Special elections were held June 6 to fill the 45th Congressional and 35th State Senate districts, with primaries on April 10. With so many seats up for grabs, many contenders threw their hats in the ring.
Not surprisingly, Campbell coasted back to Washington, while Tom Harman, termed out in the Assembly, was sent back to Sacramento to sit on the senate side of the state legislature.
Another race was needed to replace termed-out County Supervisor Tom Wilson.