Laguna Beach homeowners bristle at ban on building pools; council to discuss again Tuesday

LAGUNA BEACH – Janice Hobbs and Roula Fawaz are avid physical fitness enthusiasts.

They bought a residence in Laguna Beach’s Arch Beach Heights along with strategies to remodel it and produce their own piece of paradise. They went through the city’s preparing and zoning process, spending thousands of dollars in landscape and architectural plans. A prime feature for the 5,094-square-foot, three-story residence is a 30-by-15-foot swimming pool.

“Roula has actually had numerous injuries from sports, and the pool will certainly provide us an opportunity to swim laps and to do bodily therapy,” Hobbs says.

But strategies for their tranquil, dream pool may simply be, well, dreams, after a recent ban on all of brand-new pool and spa construction citywide until the end of August as a result of the drought.

Tuesday, the City Council will certainly have actually a public discussion on the issue and decide whether to renew the ban, expand it or do something else.

The two women are among 28 applicants along with residence remodeling and renovation strategies that contain swimming pools on the Laguna Beach Design Review Board routine over the next eight weeks. The Hobbs and Fawaz project is on the docket for Thursday. Two various other pools applications are likewise up that day.

There are 1,213 pools in Laguna Beach; 92 pools have actually been approved by the city’s Design Review Board because 2010, according to city officials. Regarding 76 spas and water features likewise have actually been approved.

An boost in interest in pool building appears to stem from a brand-new crop of investors that have actually come in to Laguna Beach. 5 years ago, the Design Review Board approved a couple of pools each summer. That number has actually dramatically increased, said Caren Liuzzi, chairwoman of the board.

The council’s unanimous vote gained Laguna Beach the very first city in Southern California to ban brand-new pool construction and the second one statewide. City officials in Milpitas, a city near San Jose, stopped all of brand-new pool construction by passing an emergency ordinance in June. The two cities passed the ban in the wake of the state’s emergency drought declaration.

Two various other cities – Santa Barbara and Malibu – considered the moratoriums earlier this year However decided not to go forward along with plans.

Laguna Beach’s decision was portion of a bigger discussion on methods to spare water. Councilwoman Toni Iseman said in July a measure of stopping construction of brand-new swimming pools – which in some cases take as considerably as 30,000 gallons to fill – is the “patriotic duty” of residents throughout California’s historic drought.

The recent action in Laguna Beach has actually prompted representatives from the California Pool and Spa Association to step up, and industry representatives are expected to attend Tuesday’s council meeting.

“We have actually followed up along with the city and expressed our opposition to the prohibition,” said Alex MacIlraith, a representative along with the California Pool and Spa Association. “If others adopt such moratoriums, it would certainly be devastating to those in the industry, lots of of which took out loans throughout the Excellent Recession in order to go on paying staff and maintain the firm afloat. It’s one thing to survive along with much less consumer reason for a product, However dismantling and prohibiting that reason is something that certain businesses simply cannot recover from.”

Laguna Beach City Attorney Phil Kohn said that the seaside town could be the county’s very first to avoid construction, However that various other cities – through their water district regulations – properly are saving water by prohibiting the filling or refilling of pools.

Statewide much more compared to twenty water suppliers have actually levied restrictions on pools. Homeowners have actually been prohibited from refilling pools and some have actually been needed to usage pool covers.

The South Coast Water District, which serves 40,000 residents in Dana Point, South Laguna Beach and sections of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, in April banned filling or refilling of residential pools or spas. Violators can easily face fines of up to $500, district General Manager Andrew Brunhart said.

In Tustin and Irvine draining and refilling swimming pools as portion of routine upkeep is likewise not allowed.

The state Water Resources Board has actually called for mandatory water reductions statewide by 25 percent.

Some water experts say pools usage the exact same quantity of water as a yard of the exact same size. If a pool owner uses a cover to limitation evaporation, a pool could usage much less water compared to turf.

An analysis last year by the Santa Margarita Water District discovered that pools require thousands of gallons of water to fill initially, However they usage Regarding 8,000 gallons much less water compared to a traditional landscape after that. By the 3rd year, the analysis found, the savings include up, and a pool’s cumulative water usage falls here that of a lawn.

The Laguna Beach council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave.

Contact the writer: 71-796-2254 or eritchie@ocregister.com or Twitter:@lagunaini

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