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Luxury-Home Project OKd by Laguna Beach

Council approves 11 houses, but limits their size to 6,300 square feet. Foes of the development get some concessions.

September 26, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Ending three years of debate and revisions, the Laguna Beach City Council has approved a development of 11 hillside luxury homes but put a limit on their size.

The council imposed other conditions on Driftwood Estates, including requiring that homes be constructed farther back from property lines to address privacy concerns of residents below the development, and prohibiting a hiking trail in the surrounding open space from impeding a natural water course.

The most relevant condition to many project opponents was limiting the proposed homes to 6,300 square feet.

Residents feared that two oversize lots would allow the developer, Highpointe Communities, to build houses 10 times larger than other homes in the neighborhood, which average 2,000 square feet.

The size limit and other conditions were adopted by a 4-1 vote of the council Tuesday night. Mayor Toni Iseman voted against the development.

The developer still has the option of rejecting the conditions, but Councilman Wayne Baglin said that after speaking with representatives of Highpointe, he was confident they would be accepted.

Driftwood Estates was proposed in 2000 as a development of 18 large ocean-view homes, but it was pared to 11 homes largely because of opposition from environmentalists.

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