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Task force to take closer look at rain runoff

Residents invited to join tour to observe water drainage from Laguna Canyon watersheds in effort to learn more about flooding.

April 21, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

Members of the Laguna Canyon Flood Mitigation Task Force will take a look next week at how rain drains from the canyon watersheds.

The April 30 tour is open to the public, but residents are asked to reserve a spot to determine how many vehicles will be needed to caravan to key locations. The time and location of pick ups will be published on the task force link of the city's website.

Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman is one of the 11 members of the task force charged with determining ways that canyon residents and public agencies can prevent the loss of life and property from flooding.

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The council also appointed architect Bob Borthwick, retired county Harbors, Beaches and Parks Chief Eric Jessen, retired City Manager Karl Koski, William Lawson, Carl Nelson and canyon residents Susan Hamil, Louis Longi and Charlie Quilter to the task force, which is chaired by City Council members Verna Rollinger and Kelly Boyd.

The task force met for the first time Wednesday at the Third Street Community Center to discuss items for future agendas and procedures that comply with the Brown Act, which requires public business to be conducted in public, with some exemptions.

City Manager John Pietig reported on the city activities since the December flooding, which was then declared a federal disaster, clearing the way for Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement for city money spent in repairs of public property.

"It will probably be two or three months before we find out what will and will not be covered by the agencies," he said.

The city also hired geo-physicist Frank Weirich.

A history of floods from 1937 to 2011 in Laguna Beach, compiled by residents Barbara Metzger and Meg Monahan was distributed to the task force and the handful of residents who attended the meeting.

Metzger, a former member of the Design Review Board and Planning Commission, raised the issue of code violations, such as constructions too close to Laguna Canyon Creek that contributed to the flooding when they toppled into the water. Many canyon residents, particularly renters, indicated at the April 9 Disaster Workshop they were unaware of the code.

Rollinger has recommended an annual fall report to residents to keep them informed and involved in precautions.

"Suggestions on what we should be looking at should be mailed to me," Rollinger said. Her e-mail address is vernarollinger@cox.net.

The next regular meeting of the task force will be at 4 p.m. May 11 at the center, 480 Third St.

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