Top News Stories of 2012: A year in review

December 27, 2012|From Staff Reports
  • Eleven Eucalyptus trees along the 1400 block of Bluebird Canyon Drive will be cut down.
Eleven Eucalyptus trees along the 1400 block of Bluebird… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

There's never a shortage of important stories in Laguna Beach, but here are the most compelling ones in chronological order.


South Laguna tunnel

When the South Coast Water District said it needed to access property below several South Laguna properties for its tunnel stabilization project — and possibly use eminent domain if needed — some residents refused.

About 10 South Laguna property owners had not penned agreements to sell the easements, according to a July 12 Coastline Pilot story.

District officials view the stabilization of the tunnel, originally dug in 1954 to house a sewer pipeline along the coast, and pipeline replacement as a necessity to avoid a catastrophic sewer spill and injuries to workers.

Another contentious issue: the demolition of a derelict cottage, which the council OKd at its May 1 meeting.

The next step for the water district was to file Eminent Domain Complaints in Orange County Superior Court for those property owners who continue to refuse an agreement, which it had expected to do earlier this year, with the court handling it from there. The process could take up to a year.



Lifeguard headquarters

The City Council symbolically broke ground Sept. 19 for the construction of the new lifeguard headquarters on Main Beach.

A backhoe actually did the work — tearing off a piece of the roof of the old and unlamented headquarters, as council members, city staff and residents watched.

The project is due to be completed in December 2013 and to come in under budget.

A $6.6 million budget was approved in July for the construction of the headquarters and public restrooms on Main Beach, originally estimated to cost $8.1 million.

"That leaves a reserve of $1.5 million, which hopefully will be available for another project," Wade Brown, project director, said.

City lifeguards moved their offices and service areas into mobile units during the weekend after the groundbreaking. Temporary public restrooms were located north of the basketball courts.

The new 6,722-square-foot headquarters will house marine safety operations on two levels, one of them underground — believed to be essential to the California Coastal Commission's approval of the project.


No helmet, no skateboard

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