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Mailbag: Live-work space is much needed

February 13, 2014

I am writing in full support of the artist live-work space proposed by Louis Longi.

I am a Laguna College of Art and Design alumni of the undergrad and graduate programs and I have been showing at the Festival of Art for the past four years. I have been living and working as an artist for 12 years in Laguna Beach.

The entire time I have been here it has been a struggle to find a reasonable studio and live space. A few years ago I was forced to start a group studio in Costa Mesa due to the high rent cost and lack of space here in Laguna. I have also struggled to find suitable housing on the income of a young artist.

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The city is becoming more and more unfriendly to aspiring artists. I am one of only a few fellow alumni who has been able to stick it out here. Most of my colleagues after graduation move directly out of town, even though they love it here, simply because they cannot afford it.

Louis' project is smart and a benefit to all. It will be a change to the neighborhood, and as a past resident of Sun Valley Drive, I understand the concerns the residents have expressed. But, someday that land will be developed, and this is the less of all evils to be put in that location. It is a lovely environmentally-concerned design and is the prefect representation of our city right at the gateway.

This is space that will be appealing to the next generation of Southern California painters, and keep Laguna Beach from turning into another high-end beach community only accessible to the wealthy.

Brittany Ryan

Laguna Beach

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A response to live-work developer

Re: "Artists' studios fulfill city's needs," Coastline Pilot, Jan. 24.

1. First, Mr. Longi stated that "a few" of the neighbors have expressed fears about the proposed 30-unit project. I believe a much more accurate statement would be that "almost all" of the neighbors strongly oppose the project. They have expressed great concern about what its massive size will do to their neighborhood and to the canyon.

2. Mr. Longi states that he "is not a professional developer." That may be true, but he is a property owner who proposes to develop his property to provide income and profit for himself and his professional partner/investor/developer. This partner is the Dornin Investment Group, a large real estate development/investment firm.

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