Village Entrance parking structure opponents meet

Controversy continues to surround project.

August 01, 2013|By Barbara Diamond

A broad-based group of opponents to the proposed Village Entrance project declared war this week.

The opening salvo is the website which came on line Wednesday, created by the opponents who have been quietly meeting to gauge and promote support for their cause.

"A small group met on Saturday and we decided to see if there are others out there concerned about the project," said former Councilwoman Verna Rollinger, a member of the opponents' core group.


"There is. And it is gaining momentum."

Meeting participants swelled from 10 on Saturday to at least 60 on Tuesday, all of them by invitation only.

"On Saturday we were asked to bring four more people to the next meeting," said Michael Hoag. The meetings have been held at the home of Rita Conn, a member of the core group, which also includes Audrey Prosser, Rollinger said. She declined to identify any others.

"Opposition is broad-based and wide spread and it comes from different angles: financial, environmental, traffic and who (the project) serves," Rollinger said.

Participants at the second meeting included Roger Butow, who said last week that he is providing technical data to the group, Village Laguna President Ginger Osborne and a representative of the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn. Board of Directors, which announced on Wednesday its official opposition to the parking structure.

The announcement was e-mailed it to Councilman Steven Dicterow, who was endorsed by the association but voted for the Village Entrance project. The heads up from association President Martha Lydick read "Hi Steve — when our elected officials consider themselves smarter than the citizens of their community it becomes very bad and insulting."

Association concerns included the debt incurred by the project, which the association posits could use up 75% of the city's total borrowing capacity; and the prudency of borrowing any money for discretionary projects.

The board opposes a park at the site and supports putting the project on the ballot.

"We shouldn't spend the money when we have the beach and Heisler Park just two blocks away," said association board member Karl Kosk, who attended the Tuesday meeting. does not include an alternative Village Entrance project, but recommends double decking the ACT V parking lot in Laguna Canyon, saying it would be cheaper, take less time to construct, be more environmentally sensitive and keep construction out to the downtown.

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