LAGUNA BEACH — A four-year controversy over construction of a reservoir, which became the city's most politically charged issue after the October firestorm, neared resolution Tuesday as the City Council cleared the way for the tank's construction.
While the plan to build a 3-million gallon reservoir in the Top of the World neighborhood still must receive a coastal development permit from the city, officials agreed the council's 4-1 vote has removed the major hurdles.
"Our approval of those permits will not be unreasonably withheld," Mayor Ann Christoph said.
After months of meetings, the council announced it had reached an agreement with the Laguna Beach County Water District allowing it to claim the knoll site for a price somewhere between $174,000 and $568,000, the amount to be determined by a judge. The agreement also ends the water district's condemnation proceedings against the city for the property.
A trial date scheduled for June now will be used simply to determine the value of the land.
The agreement clears the way for the water district to build the tank as it had previously proposed: rising 17 feet above ground and then covered with earth and landscaping in native plants.