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Mailbag: Canyon project requires additional scrutiny

March 13, 2014

I believe the people who support the proposed live-work project in Laguna Canyon are well-meaning, but they may not have completely thought it through.

Do everything we can to help our artists, but keep in mind how we do it. The phrase "throwing out the baby with the bathwater" comes to mind.

Giant apartment buildings 45 feet from existing pavement will only degrade our town, significantly affecting canyon views and the atmosphere for people traveling in and out of town.

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I noted a rather unbelievable quote from the owner-developer Louis Longi in the Feb. 21 Coastline Pilot, "Environmental defense," where he states, "Everyone says I am blocking view lines, but there is nothing in the code that says I can't block a ridgeline at 45 mph for one second."

How long then is the view blocked if you are traveling 10 mph — weekends and summer — or how long is it blocked if you are not moving at all?

When I think of a structure for our artists, I imagine one or possibly two stories in a peaceful, maybe rural setting, not hotel-like buildings so close to a busy road. How would buildings like that stimulate artist creativity? And 22 of 30 units would command market rents, the same as everywhere else. Only eight units would be "affordable."

Finally, maybe 35% to 40% of stakes in place to show building size are hidden in mature trees. Many of these trees would need to be removed. The building is significantly larger than it appears when glancing at the stakes.

I encourage everyone who loves this town to visit the site and judge the size and view blockage while standing in front. Advise the City Council of your thoughts.

I see both sides of this issue. I am a retired commercial real estate broker who specialized in and owns quality apartment buildings, and I have also provided about seven acres of Laguna Canyon to our city to be preserved as open space.

We need to consider all of the factors of this proposal and the precedent it could set.

Ralph Haun

Laguna Beach

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Project supports arts in Laguna

I am in favor of the Louis Longi live-work project and would encourage the City Council to support this wonderful art studio complex in Laguna Beach.

My mother was an artist in the 1960s in Laguna and studied with some of the area's finest artists of that era.

Laguna Beach has always been such a wonderful center for the arts and a unique community. Although I am no longer living in the city, I hope that Laguna will continue to strongly support creative art in the community.

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