California Courier

Laguna Beach Measure Q raising more Objections

The language of the measure is confusing residents as they begin to digest the possible consequences of imposing new city restrictions.

Laguna Beach residents have recently taken to writing letters to news editors, or responding to them, to express their views on Measure Q. The wide array of interpretations, assumptions and statements of what the measure means through “common sense,” demonstrate the need for clarity.

The concern about what Measure Q actually says and the impact it will have on the city, is growing as more residents read the measure in full. The entirety of the bill is given on the City of Laguna Beach “Election and Voter Information” site. The full text of Measure Q on page five of Ballot Measures-Q Section 11 is tedious to read, but “the devil is in the details” as it’s so often said. As residents prepare to vote, and begin to pour through the pages, the measure is finding more objections being voiced.

One of the criticisms is that the language of the bill is misleading. The term “major development” is used to restrict new development, but what does the bill actually define as a “major development”? Here it is: “Major Development Project” means improvements or changes to improvements on a property, including change of use..” and “The proposed ordinance also would establish special requirements for any Major Development Project ..“

The special requirements would apply to existing buildings used for commercial purposes as well as new projects.

Another view expressed was that the battle was one of money versus people. One resident stated that she only needed to look at the influx of developer support and the money pouring in to fight the measure, to know that it was a bill she would support.

Another contributor commented “It’s also a manipulation of the truth to say most donations against Q are from developers. I recommend everyone go to the city clerk’s campaign disclosure page and review the contributions yourselves.”

Complaints about the measure’s regulation of building sizes and heights which are part of the “special requirements,” expressed views that the bill was redundant contrasting with the view that the bill was an extra needed step.

However the most frequent complaint on Measure Q had to do with the electorate and the voting role of residents. Some residents are confused as to whether the electorate meant all the people voting on that day, or all the registered voters of Laguna Beach.

The language of the bill states: “A majority of the “Laguna Beach Electorate” (commonly defined to mean the total number of registered voters) voting “yes” is required to approve a project.”

Clearly 51% of registered voters (not just voters who showed up to vote) are required to allow a project to proceed. This definitely is not what most residents had in mind, and is near impossible for projects to get approved.

If the language of Measure Q can be digested by residents ahead of the fast approaching November 8 election, Laguna Beach could see some major changes regarding city development.

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