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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

June 30, 2011

The following is from the Laguna Beach City Council meeting of June 21.

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The council unanimously denied a claim of $15 million in damage to Sirous & Sons Rug Gallery as a result of the December floods. Owner Sirous Ghasermian is claiming $1 million in damage to his store in the Dec. 22 storm and $14 million for replacement of merchandise and personal property, inconvenience, general damages and miscellaneous expenses.

The council also voted to deny a claim of Celeste Allatto, who claimed she suffered an injury from the jagged tip of a chain link fence that protruded into the sidewalk on Cliff Drive. The amount of the claim exceeds $10,000.

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The council unanimously voted to delay the appointment of new members of the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee and directed the committee to decide if the membership should revert to seven members as of March 2012 or stick with nine. The council is to be advised of the committee's decision at the July 12 meeting.

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Business license requirements toughened

Business licensees must be connected to a legal business under a clarification of business license requirements approved by 5-0 vote.

The council approved amendments to the municipal code that some suggested were directed toward the curtailment of marijuana dispensaries.

"I can't say that the amendments were directed to marijuana dispensaries, but questions about the dispensaries spurred the clarifications," said City Attorney Philip Kohn, who recommended the amendments.

"However, they would extend to any other use that violates local, state or federal law."

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City Environmental Committee members are of the opinion that Laguna benefits little from the water-efficient regulations approved by the state for owners of private property of 5,000 or more square feet, because many Laguna lots are not that big.

The goal of the committee is to achieve a 20% reduction in landscape water consumption by the year 2020.

A request by the committee for the allocation of $8,500 for a study to determine appropriate measures to achieve the proposed reduction in landscape watering was rejected by the council.

However, modifications to the city's water-efficient ordinance recommended by the committee were passed on to the Planning Commission for review.

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Deck size appeal denied

The property owner at 2170 Ocean Way appealed the Design Review Board's reduction of a proposed 6-foot-deep deck to 2 feet.

"That's a planter, not a deck," the property owner said.

The reduction was made to preserve the privacy of a neighbor, but the appellant claimed the deck as proposed did not infringe on privacy.

He failed to make his case with the council, and the appeal was denied 5 to 0.

—Compiled by Barbara Diamond

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