50 years of Village Laguna History (Part 1, the Beginning) in our August 2021 Newsletter
Charm House Tour
Annual Event. Experience a taste of the heritage of Laguna Beach as you tour houses in neighborhoods dating from the early 1900s. Documented by the National Park Service as a Historic American Landscape, Laguna Beach and its Greenbelt demonstrate how the community and artistic tradition grew from Laguna’s beautiful and dramatic natural setting. Visit cottages and bungalows, a working artist studio, art in the tradition of the early plein air painters, and houses related to families that formed some of Laguna’s landmarks. See how appreciative owners adapt this Laguna heritage for today’s living.
Celebration of Village Laguna’s 50th Anniversary
After more than a year of avoiding in-person get-togethers due to the Covie-19 pandemic, Village Laguna members, friends, and guests met in Bluebird Park to celebrate our founding 50 years ago. Founder Arnold Hano, who died at 99 this year, spoke to us briefly, people danced, and we gave away Toyon and Coast Live Oak trees to perpetuate the beauty of our city. For some of the flavor of this event, check out the photos below.
Aliso Creek — VL, Laguna Greenbelt, Laguna Canyon Conservancy, South Laguna Civic Association and the Democratic Club
VL and the Laguna Greenbelt, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, the South Laguna Civic Association, and the Democratic Club arranged a bus tour in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park (ocparks.com/parks/aliso/ ) to show the possible impact of the Super Project planned for Aliso Creek. (See Current Events for more information about the ongoing concerns about this project.)
VL studied the proposal for a resort (now the Montage)
VL studied the proposal for a resort (now the Montage) at Treasure Island and commented on the need for lower buildings, ample green space, no exemptions from city land-use standards, and a park rather than residences. With the South Laguna Civic Association (SLCA), VL mounted a referendum on the proposal that produced a 45% vote against the project. VL and SLCA continued to monitor the detailed planning to secure view corridors and more public space.
VL “adopted” 38 Survivor Families
VL “adopted” 38 survivor families after the Laguna Beach Fire. Also VL opposed an airport at El Toro. VL also designed and published a brochure called “Self–Guided Tour Laguna by Bus” and collaborated with the Heritage Committee to publish a companion bus brochure identifying historic houses along the bus route.
Toll Road Awareness Day
On “Toll Road Awareness Day,” VL cosponsored (with Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Laguna Greenbelt, and other organizations) a walk in opposition to the 73 toll road that would bisect Laguna Canyon. Part of the event involved covering a swath of land with bed sheets the width of the proposed roadway: The Great Canyon Cover-up. The objecting organizations questioned the need for the toll road as well as pointing out its detrimental environmental impact. Unfortunately, the toll road was constructed despite this opposition. There have not been sufficient drivers on the toll road to repay its bonded indebtedness.
VL Lobbied for View Access
VL lobbied successfully for view access easement at Smithcliffs.
November 11, 1989
“Together We Saved Laguna Canyon”
“THE WALK” — Along with many others, VL supported “The Tell,” a giant panoramic photomural assembled and displayed alongside the Canyon Road by Mark Chamberlain, Jerry Burchfield, and others to draw public attention to the Irvine Company’s plans for massive development in the Canyon.
In November of 1989, The Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LCC), the Laguna Greenbelt, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Village Laguna cosponsored the “Save Laguna Canyon Walk” in the Canyon. LCC, led by its founder, Lida Lenney, who was also Mayor Pro Tem of the City Council, was the key sponsor. Over 7,000 people walked the 5-mile stretch of Laguna Canyon Road that day, from the festival grounds out to The Tell. The documentary Together We Saved Laguna Canyoncommemorates the event. (Read more about the history of The Tell and the Walk in the Canyon at Wikipedia’s “Laguna Canyon Project”.)
VL led opposition to stop the Irvine Company from running a road through Boat Canyon to the Coast. On January 17, 1977, Village Laguna held a town hall forum with representatives from the Cal-Trans, Orange County, the Irvine Company, and the city on the topic “Shall Laguna Canyon Road Be Widened?”
1977 Village Laguna Forum about Laguna Canyon Road
From the Village Laguna Archives: 1977 Forum on Canyon Road
On January 17, 1977, Village Laguna held a town hall forum with representatives from the Cal-Trans, Orange County, the Irvine Company, and the city on the topic “Shall Laguna Canyon Road Be Widened?” That year Cal-Trans was proposing the widening of the road to four lanes from Canyon Acres to El Toro Road, pointing to the number of traffic accidents and especially fatalities. A questionnaire distributed at the end of the forum was filled out by 91 of the approximately 150 people present, and 68 of them advocated leaving the road as-is, suggesting improvements such as park-and-ride facilities, lower speed limits, stricter law enforcement, turnout lanes, and bus lanes. Of the 22 who favored widening the road, 3 recommended three lanes, two going out of town and one coming in. Village Laguna’s subsequent recommendations to the City Council read as follows: “Village Laguna is opposed to widening the road from the city boundaries to Pacific Coast Highway. Our central business district does not have the physical capacity to handle the traffic, let alone to be used as a transition to Coast Highway and coastal points north and south. Our recommendation would be to encourage park-and-ride facilities at the outskirts of town and maintain the present two lanes with whatever design modifications will improve safety.”
Experience a taste of the heritage of Laguna Beach as you tour houses in neighborhoods dating from the early 1900s. Documented by the National Park Service as a Historic American Landscape, Laguna Beach and its Greenbelt demonstrate how the community and artistic tradition grew from Laguna’s beautiful and dramatic natural setting. Visit cottages and bungalows, a working artist studio, art in the tradition of the early plein air painters, and houses related to families that formed some of Laguna’s landmarks. See how appreciative owners adapt this Laguna heritage for today’s living.
Foundation of Village Laguna
The day after our initiative victory in 1971, the “Yes on August 3” Committee dissolved itself and immediately regrouped as “Village Laguna.”
In the year it all happened, 1971, the city was just getting started on curbside recycling. South Coast Community Hospital was preparing for expansion. Aliso Pier and Salt Creek Beach opened to the public. Eiler Larsen had a birthday party in Bluebird Park. A pound of ground beef cost 59 cents and you could buy a three-bedroom, two-bath house with an ocean view for $46,500.