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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

February 10, 2011

The following is from the Laguna Beach City Council meeting of Feb. 1.

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City Manager John Pietig announced the city will extend through February the waiver on over-the-counter fees for projects resulting from the December floods.

WHAT IT MEANS

Those seeking city permits for emergency repairs due to damage from the December rains and flooding will not have to pay permit fees through the end of February.

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The council approved a contract with American Medical Response, which does business in Laguna as Doctors Ambulance, for ambulance and billing services.

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Ridership on the city's buses and trolleys continues to increase every summer, according to the survey conducted of last year's festival service by the city's transit consultant.

"Every three or four years, we get an expert to evaluate our service," Public Works Director Steve May said. "Dan Boyce & Associates compared last year with 2006 and made recommendations."

City staff also made recommendations.

A consultant, Dan Boyce & Associates, as well as city staff, agreed that service to Three Arch Bay was a popular move last festival season and should be extended to 2011. They also saw eye-to-eye on the addition of two trolleys to handle the increase in the crowd on Thursday nights.

Staff did not agree with Boyce's recommendation to discontinue the short trips between the Sawdust Festival and ACT V parking lot, running all the trolleys on the Canyon Route between the bus depot on Broadway to ACT V.

WHAT IT MEANS

Council directed staff 5 to 0 to include summer transit funding in the next fiscal year's budget, including the continuation of service to Three Arch Bay and the turnaround at Monarch Beach Plaza, at an estimated cost of $70,000; the addition of two trolleys on Thursday nights to shuttle folks from the Festival of Arts Grounds to ACT V, at an estimated seasonal cost of $2,000, without additional funding; and to find a way to fund free shuttle parking at Pavilions, to be negotiated with the property owner.

The council declined to cut out the short canyon loop.

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Parking curbed at Bent Street

The Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee recommended the city paint a crosswalk at Bent Street and Park Avenue because vehicles were parking on the corner, blocking the unpainted crosswalk. However, city staff said the recommendation was not supported by the vehicle code and recommended an alternative.

WHAT IT MEANS

The council approved unanimously the staff's alternative, painting the curb red at the crosswalk.

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Abalone restoration supported

The City Council voted 5 to 0 to authorize Mayor Toni Iseman to write a letter supporting Marine biologist Nancy Caruso's grant application for funding for the restoration of green abalone in Laguna's ocean waters. Caruso has previously worked with the city to restore kelp, abalone and other species along our coast, said Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, who sponsored the request for support.

WHAT IT MEANS

If funded, Caruso's project will include growing abalone in Orange County classrooms to restock the ocean. Restocking will require multiple surveys and sampling to assess habitable reefs, the existing abalone population and sizes.

—Compiled by Barbara Diamond

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