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Considerations on Laguna Project

December 25, 1988

On Dec. 14, the County of Orange, through its Environmental Management Agency, conducted a public meeting with regard to scoping the environmental impacts of the Irvine Co.'s proposed Laguna Laurel project and Caltrans' proposal to widen Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro Road and Interstate 405.

This is a very important process. The fate of Laguna Canyon rests with public interest and input. We are invited to submit questions and comments to the agency by Jan. 5 by writing to Bob Rusby, Environmental Agency of Orange County, P.O. Box 4048, Santa Ana, Calif. 92702-4048.

The following questions represent a few considerations to think about with respect to 3,071 proposed residential units and approximately 12.5 acres of commercial shopping and business development in Laguna Canyon (accounting for an increase of 10,000 people,) along with the proposed widening of Laguna Canyon Road for Caltrans' increased capacity proposal:

* Considering that Laguna Canyon Road is one of only two arterials leading in and out of the community, how damaging will the impact of increased population and increased traffic be upon the city of Laguna Beach?

* Considering that Laguna has its own automobile capacity problems, what is the projected degree of increased congestion on the downtown commercial district where the unwidened canyon road meets Coast Highway?

* How damaging will increased traffic congestion be to the circulation of emergency vehicles within Laguna Beach?

* How damaging is the projected economic impact on the city as a whole due to increased competition resulting from a commercial center in the canyon which is more than twice the size of all Laguna's businesses?

* How will you mitigate the loss of the Southland's last remaining natural and pristine coastal canyon with respect to the environmental heritage of the children of Southern California? What is an acceptable level of public tolerance for the substitution of concrete highways, tract homes and shopping centers for a native Californian environment as unique as Laguna Canyon? My family and I work in and are homeowners and residents of Laguna Beach. We are also members of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Village Laguna and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and one of us is a student at Laguna Beach High School. It is from these combined perspectives that I submit the above questions.

SHAREN HEATH

Laguna Beach

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