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Contracts approved for path designs

Design services will be contracted but some easements are still required for two planned pedestrian pathways.

February 14, 2013|By Barbara Diamond

The City Council cleared the way Tuesday for two pedestrian pathways, one at the top of town and one in Laguna Canyon.

Stantec will be paid $155,500 for design services related to a pedestrian pathway that would connect Alta Laguna Boulevard to the road between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights and for services related to the creation of a path between the Laguna College of Art + Design and the ACT V parking lot.

The Top of the World pathway requires easements from two property owners, with whom the city has been negotiating since August.

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"We believe we have reached the appropriate point to prepare some preliminary designs for the creation of those easements," said city Project Manager Ward Brown.

The contract with Stantec stipulates that no money can be spent on a final design until the easements are acquired or secured by an agreement. Services until then will be limited to surveys and preparation of documents and exhibits that might be needed to acquire the easements, Brown said.

Nineteen speakers, including three 8-year-olds, spoke about the pathway, the majority in favor of it. Letters were also submitted.

Longtime resident Art Wahl wrote that it is time for the city to establish a safe, non-motorized trail between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights, a more healthy way for children and parents to go between the two hilltop neighborhoods.

"Any notion that 'mothers from southern areas of Laguna Beach will walk their children to TOW school,' as we have previously heard, is ludicrous," wrote Dr. J. Sebag. "It is too far and too steep a climb along the fire road for children in elementary school."

Brown said the proposed graded path is fairly steep, but negotiable.

At some points, the 6-foot-side path would have a 20% grade, similar to the fire road, other portions of the road would have an 8% grade, Brown said.

Steeper areas would be paved, less steep areas would be covered in decomposed granite, confined by rock borders.

Most of the opposition to the path comes from residents in Sommet du Monde, French for Top of the World, a gated community adjacent to the proposed pathway. They value their privacy and have declined to allow passage through their streets, except in emergencies.

"The path would be an exit for the folks who live downhill and will have a great impact on the safety of the community in the surrounding area," resident Charlotte Masarik said.

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