Laguna Canyon Planning Study
In May of 2014 the City Council assigned the Laguna Canyon Planning Study to urban planning firm MIG. They were to review the zoning (allowed uses, development standards, etc) for the 2 Canyon Specific Plans (the Sarah Thurston Park Specific Plan and the Laguna Canyon Annexation Area Specific Plan) and the area in between. They were also tasked with defining/illustrating the concepts of “rural, rustic and small-scale”.
So far MIG has gathered input in stakeholders meetings (including 2 CANDO led tours through the Canyon neighborhoods) and during 2 Canyon Community workshops and 2 Planning Commission workshops. While MIG has not yet completed a substantive review of the Sarah Thurston Park Specific Plan, they have prepared “Draft Recommendations”. The next official step is review at Planning Commission. There is currently no date set for that.
Most of the documents for the Planning Study have been uploaded to the City’s website (the 2nd Canyon Community workshop, held July 27, has not been uploaded, yet).
Controversial 30 Unit Artist Work-Live
Orange County Superior Court Judge Kim Dunning halted the project – ruling that the Coastal Commission had not demonstrated that Laguna Canyon Creek is not on the Major Watershed and Drainage Course map (a finding that could affect how far building has to be set back from the blue-line stream).
The judge further found that the project (designed as 30 units, 2 stories, set above a raised 47-car parking garage, with industrial working space and retail space) did not meet the standard required by the Laguna Canyon Annexation Area Specific Plan that all development be small scale and rural.
Interestingly, the judge also ruled that 6 out of the 10 Coastal Commissioners had undisclosed ex-parte communications, and could not legally rule on the project. This may be the first time that a Coastal Commission decision has been overturned base (in part) on illegal ex-parte communication!
LCAD gains $15+million
LCAD (Laguna College of Art + Design) has secured a $15,175,00 CEDA (California Enterprise Development Authority) loan which they plan to use (in part) to purchase the property at Big Bend.