Observations From a Lifetime Laguna Resident

Oct 21, 2022

By Mark Christy

I am neither pro, nor anti-development, though I strongly oppose large scale, soulless projects.

Instead, I consider myself Pro-Laguna. This quirky little hamlet of ours spans the socio-economic, political and lifestyle spectrums. And yet we have always peacefully coexisted by virtue of our collective and loving commitment to this remarkable gem we’re lucky enough to call home. To ensure Laguna continues to thrive while maintaining her unique small-town vibe, we need to be pulling the rope in the same direction.

That is why I’m voting No on Measure Q.

Most locals (including myself) were shellshocked at the thought of a few overzealous projects that have been proposed recently. That is why “Saving Laguna from Over-Development” resonates within each of us. Thankfully, we already have the most restrictive building and zoning codes in the county and multiple layers of scrutinous public review in place to ensure nothing remotely resembling those proposals is ever built.

Measure Q will actually jeopardize Laguna’s continued character.

Unfortunately, the “Cumulative Effect” language in Q (25.60.02(e)) could foreseeably discourage the very small and funky businesses we love “WITHIN ONE-HALF MILE” of “DEVELOPMENTS SUBMITTED TO BE REVIEWED” (25.60.02(f)2) FOR A PERIOD OF 8 YEARS. The “Museum Hotel” submittal, which had a Planning Commission review, is a block-long behemoth that could by itself (per the language of the Measure) trigger this “cumulative effect” and potentially force a vote on anything deemed “intensification” (with rare exception) over an area which includes all of Downtown and most of North Laguna. Fresh concept small storefronts and/or food offerings, the kind we want to encourage, will get caught in the crossfire.

As with any magic elixir, carefully read the ingredients and beware the possible side effects.

I understand what motivated the folks behind Measure Q, many of whom have been friends since I was a Founding Board Member of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy decades ago. And I don’t believe they’re trying to “fool” us. They simply looked to the north and south and saw what can happen when you don’t have restrictive codes like Laguna’s EXISTING safeguards. We all want to ensure Laguna’s unique character survives. To that end I’ve devoted much of my life, time and resources through business, schools and non-profits trying to preserve the delicate fabric of Laguna for my family, friends and for future generations.
Measure Q is unnecessary and may very well end up doing the exact opposite of what it seeks to accomplish.

Normally, I avoid writing letters and I hope that taking a No on Q stance won’t cost me a few friendships. But Measure Q is simply too consequential to watch from the sidelines and the people who really know me will recognize that I only want what is best for Laguna. And after reading the language of Measure Q carefully I’m convinced that it would be a mistake we would ultimately live to regret.

If you really want to Save Laguna, Please Vote No on Measure Q.

Mark Christy
Laguna Beach

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