Chairman, Laguna Food Pantry
North Laguna residents want a vote
The board of directors of the Laguna North Neighborhood Organization opposes proceeding with the Village Entrance Project without a mandate from the voters.
Little or no effort has been made to convince residents who live here and pay the bills that the benefits outweigh the substantial costs. The three out of five council members who favor the project do so in the face of overwhelming opposition from the community.
We live in a beautiful place, and share it with others who are similarly attracted to its many charms. Visitors have made our community world-famous and contribute to the financial health of our local businesses and cultural institutions. For this, we are grateful.
However, over the years the Laguna Beach experience has deteriorated for residents and visitors. The cause is not difficult to determine — too many cars in a central area of beaches, shops, galleries, restaurants, festivals, theatres and a museum. We genuinely welcome the people who visit our town, but not their vehicles.
In response to this congestion problem, the City Council has voted to proceed with the construction of a centrally located, massive parking garage to be designated as the Village Entrance. This is equivalent to serving a glass of water to a drowning man.
The congestion arises from too many cars trying to get into and out of town. Welcoming more cars into the center of the action on over-burdened roads will only make the problem worse, particularly given the central location of the proposed garage.
Not only is the proposed Village Entrance project the wrong answer to the problem, the current and next generation of village residents will pay a steep price for it — $50 million to $65 million over many years. While some funds will be generated from the project itself, it is undisputed that precious resources will be used that would otherwise be available for other, more reliably beneficial purposes. It is no wonder that the public's blood is boiling and passions are running high against this development.
Given what's at stake, the voice of the people should be heard in a referendum on the issue.
Lester J. Savit
president, Laguna Beach North Neighborhood Organization
Leaders should be looking forward
It has been very amusing to read letters from the proponents of the parking structure when they use descriptive words such as "visionary" and "new" and describe opponents as "fearful."
Many cities around the world are seeking genuinely new, exciting, visionary and creative solutions to address automobile traffic and parking issues, and I am saddened that the best we can come up with is outdated, 1960s-era thinking and pass it off as forward-looking.
If Laguna votes to build such a concrete dinosaur, which will be used merely 2 ½ months a year, then at least it ought to be built in Act V.
That, along with improved tram/trolley service, an improved walking corridor and new landscaping around the existing parking lot and village entrance might get tourists out of their cars, solve some parking and traffic problems and improve the area's appearance.
Mark and Cheryl Michelon