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Mailbag: Old structures not necessarily historic

May 11, 2012

This letter responds to Richard Picheny's personal attack on me in the Coastline Pilot's May 4 story, "Cottage to be torn down."

Picheny indicated that I do nothing as a council member to protect old cottages. His statement is simply untrue. Here is one example: Several years ago, when I was involved with fundraising for our community/senior center, the city had purchased parcels on Third Street, where four old structures were located, to be used for the center. A couple of these structures had been made available by the city to the 2005 landslide victims to live in at no-cost while they were trying to rebuild their lives and their homes, and I had been inside them visiting those folks. While they were extremely run-down, some had value, in my mind.

With the assistance of some very generous Lagunans, I helped to relocate some of the victims in those structures to other housing; the Third Street structures became empty. As progress was made on the community/senior center, a decision had to be made as to whether to move and store the Third Street structures or demolish them. I voted with others on the City Council to move and store them, clearing the way for the center.

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The structures were moved to Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend. I then approached another generous Lagunan who I knew owned a property zoned for multi-unit structures that could accommodate all four units to see if she would consider taking all of them — moving them and rehabilitating them at her cost, thereby restoring them to their original glory and keeping them in our community. She agreed to take the project on and to make the financial commitment. A generous architect designed, pro-bono, a concept plan that would work and which would have resulted in a quaint enclave of tiny cottages that would be high-quality and affordable.

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