were tree people," Save Laguna Views treasurer Christopher Toy said.
"But the most fatal flaw is that it is not enforceable."
With an eye on keeping the city out of legal entanglements, the
council excluded enforcement authority from the ordinance that is now
The meeting was announced in letters mailed to 5,700 registered
voters who likely had an ocean view. One hundred responded, and about
30 people attended the meeting.
"I don't know why people in this town are so thoughtless," said
organizer David Connell.The proposed survey would be the first step
in forcing revisions to the city's ordinance -- if enough support is
shown. So far, the mayor isn't impressed.
"I would think that the mailer was a survey," said Mayor Elizabeth
Pearson-Schneider. "And the number of people who showed up for the
meeting is an indication of how difficult it would be to get a
majority vote for changes in the ordinance."
Pearson-Schneider served on the planning commission that held five
public hearings and numerous subcommittee hearings on the view
The commission's version of the measure included the key phrase,
"right to a view," which the council deleted.
Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman, then a commissioner on the view
subcommittee, later ran for public office, partially motivated by the
"About 40 people spent hundreds of hours studying the ordinance,"
said Connell, "We [view advocates] generated a perfect ordinance. It
was presented, but it wasn't ever read.
"We did get a requirement that a project that adds more than 50
percent [to a structure] must submit a landscape plan, that
vegetation is a fence, and [we got] that pitiful piece of garbage
that is the view ordinance."
Connell said the city could model its ordinance after one in Palos
Verdes, which established an 18-foot vegetation height limit.
"The 18-foot limit is a trigger at which residents can ask for a
reduction, but it still requires a hearing and a determination of the
quality of the view impacted," said Laguna Beach Planning
Commissioner Norm Grossman.