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Commentary: Planners don't seem concerned about residents

January 16, 2014|By Paulette Cullen

Re: "Planners approve live-work project," Coastline Pilot, Jan. 10.

I've been through fires, floods, landslides and earthquakes in Laguna Canyon, and the live-work project approved by the Planning Commission is the scariest thing yet.

I keep hearing, "If not here, where?" If this is the only place to build this project, that means it wouldn't be allowed anywhere else. How is that fair to us? How can the canyon be the only place where this is allowed?

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It's too big for Laguna Beach. Maybe it would fit in the old GTE telephone switching building next to Whole Foods, within walking distance of art supplies, retail stores, galleries and pedestrian traffic.

It could be like the Santora building in Santa Ana, which incidentally houses around 30 units but is downtown, next to restaurants, coffee shops, bars and shops. You can't create that in the canyon.

Why does it have to be 30 units? Because this is not an artist community but income property. The 30 unit number is arbitrary. And it does not represent small-scale, rural-feel development.

If our neighborhood isn't rural, then the village isn't a village. Definitions matter. We in the canyon want to keep our neighborhood feel, and this project won't do that. Shouldn't residents matter more than developers?

Maybe a 30-unit artist work-live development doesn't fit in Laguna Beach. Certainly it doesn't fit in our small-scale neighborhood. If it doesn't fit anywhere else then maybe it doesn't fit anywhere. Show me a neighborhood that wants it.

PAULETTE CULLEN is secretary of the Laguna Canyon Property Owners Assn.

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