Laguna Beach was recently referred to rather off-handedly in a regional magazine as "the finest city in Orange County." What is it about Laguna Beach that attracts this kind of lavish praise? Is it the city's quaint, old-fashioned charm, its artistic ambience, or its beautiful beaches and canyons? It's all of these and more.
And it might have been a very different story.
The Laguna Beach we know and love might not be in existence but for the willingness of a group of residents to turn the direction of the city away from a South Beach or wannabe Waikiki back in 1971.
Some local developers and property owners had decided it was time to start building 100-foot tall hotels on the glorious Laguna sands along "hotel row" — from Broadway to Bluebird Canyon — and the five men on the City Council agreed. One can only imagine the pressure brought to bear on the council by those who stood to gain richly from turning the low-key, low-rise village into a concrete canyon of skyscrapers.