The Laguna Beach Design Review process has been a mystery to many residents for decades. Most have heard stories about various projects that went awry during Design Review hearings: projects taking years to get approved, neighbors ganging up on unsuspecting applicants, or applicants being told their dream house failed to meet certain criteria. Unfortunately, far too many of these stories are true.
That said, what people don't hear enough about are the successful projects — those that are well-prepared and well-designed. I know about both sides because for many years I was a member of both the DRB and Design Review Task Force.
Now here is what I can tell you from my experiences: The one similarity that failed projects share is a lack of understanding of the Design Review process.