In Laguna Beach, there was a project approved by the city's Design Review Board in the Mystic Hills neighborhood, and I am looking again at how this project got the OK. Is everyone turning his or her head away?

Once upon a time, known for its charm, quaintness and exceptional neighborhoods, the character of our city appears as if it is slowly changing because of the board's unorthodox decisions.

Unfortunately, it appears the board's approved design and its construction are turning into the blight I saw from the preliminary plans, which I contested. A new retaining wall will be like one found on the side of a rural freeway or some industrial site.

The homeowner removed the original, natural vegetation, which graces most of Mystic Way, and much later came up with a quick fix with a 16-foot wall with railroad ties and steel I-beams. Would the Design Review Board members welcome this project across the street from the front of their home or your home?

Can you picture a design like this one adjacent to City Hall or in any of Laguna Beach's showcase neighborhoods? I cannot.

I suggest it is time for the city to reconsider its criteria and update them so the Design Review Board can make more consistent decisions that are more germane to a neighborhood's character rather than the expediency of a "quick fix."

Paula J. Lingelbach

Laguna Beach


Public invited to committee meeting

I'm the chairman of the Laguna Beach TechComm Committee, the advisory group formed to assist the Laguna Beach City Council with telecommunications issues affecting the city. I wanted to let the community know about our upcoming meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Susi Q Senior Center.

We've invited two special guests: Scott Longhurst, president of Trillium, and Tony Ingegneri, president of ATS. Trillium provides real estate and land use consulting services to help companies developing sites for wireless communications. ATS is a full service consulting firm that also represents clients in the wireless industry.

The TechComm Committee has long felt that it's extremely important to ensure high-quality residential and commercial telecommunications services in Laguna Beach. However, the business, residential and, most importantly, public safety benefits of communications services is weighed against residents' concerns about health effects in addition to complaints about tower and antenna aesthetics.

Longhurst and Ingegneri have kindly offered their time for an educational session, presenting information to the community regarding the current state of wireless telecommunications services, including how carriers are addressing the health and aesthetic issues.

We hope the public will join us for this lively and informative session.

Tim Templeton

Laguna Beach


Road widening needed to ease traffic

Re "City works toward climate protection goal," Jan. 13: