Mailbag: Laguna aesthetics depends on trees

June 27, 2013

I am very concerned about the language of the proposed View Restoration and Preservation Ordinance, and fear that the intent is focused exclusively on restoring views and removing trees.

I have been a resident of Laguna Beach for almost 40 years, and I'm very pleased to say that most of the special qualities that attracted me to Laguna Beach all those years ago, including the abundant mature trees throughout our community, are still present.

If our town is denuded of mature trees, that would seriously alter its peace, tranquillity and scenic character.

While the proposed ordinance states that "it is not intended to encourage or result in clear cutting or substantial denuding of any property of its vegetation by overzealous application of this ordinance," what would prevent this from happening?


It raises serious concerns when the No.1 objective states, "The purpose of this ordinance is to establish a right for property owners to restore a view."

This is not an equitable balance between view restoration and tree preservation. It gives no consideration to old-growth, mature trees that existed when many property owners, including myself, purchased their homes. It also gives no view preservation measures that do not involve topping trees to the homeowners' roofline.

While the current view ordinance may not satisfy some, at least it recognizes the considerable contribution that trees add to our environment, for all to enjoy. People have commented that trees did not exist in Laguna Beach in the 1920s. This may be correct, but we also didn't have houses, asphalt roads, concrete walkways and hardscape throughout the town.

The addition of landscaping throughout our community softens the harshness of the man-made additions. The aesthetics of Laguna Beach would be very sterile if we were to use the 1920s as a benchmark.

Imagine how sterile La Jolla, Santa Barbara and Carmel would be without trees. I don't think they would be quite the same places if they had an ordinance in place like the one proposed here. Laguna Beach without trees would not be the same either.

It would make sense to keep the current view ordinance but change the procedure for enforcement.

Dwight W. Spiers

Laguna Beach


Jammed parking fills city's pockets

Tuesday night I attended a City Council meeting about financing the $42 million Village Entrance parking garage during which the council voted 3 to 2 in favor of the project.

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