Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved bylaw amendments regarding the Design Review Board, the most notable of which related to a limit on the number of consecutive terms that can be served by its members.
The changes required a panel vote as the board is appointed by the board.
Members of the Design Review Board community will now be able to serve up to four consecutive two-year terms before being required to take a two-year break. A member of the board of directors who retires may be reappointed after having observed this required interruption.
“I agree with these term limits,” said City Councilor George Weiss. “They are in a way self-imposed by the [design review board], so they’re okay with that. We can always change it along the way if it doesn’t work. Exceptions can be made by the board.
By imposing the mandatory break, this could allow the participation of a greater number of community members.
During the discussion, Mayor Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf and City Councilor Toni Iseman all indicated that they were not in favor of term limits.
Kempf said she feels there is a steep learning curve associated with sitting on discretionary boards such as the design review board, adding, “Once you get a good [design review board], you want to keep this [board] intact.”
Iseman found that giving experienced board members the opportunity to be reappointed after the mandatory break was critical to his decision.
“I wouldn’t want to eliminate the people who have served their time and want to come back,” Iseman said. “You take a look at the current planning committee. There is so much talent on this set. I would hate to think that we would push people away and not let them come back. “
As the council granted the change to the term limits for the design review board, resident Judie Mancuso wondered aloud if all city committees should be subject to the same rules regarding time to work. service.
“It might be better to standardize all committees and boards to have a term limit, whether it’s four years, eight years, whatever… and that’s it,” she said.
The council asked the municipal director Shohreh Dupuis to bring an item on the agenda of a future meeting to address the possible standardization of the mandates of other municipal committees.
In addition to the mandate limits, the Design Review Committee has also submitted updates to its bylaws regarding practices that have taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulations now state that the Design Review Board will generally hold its regular meetings at 5 p.m., instead of 6 p.m., on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. The location section has been updated to indicate that meetings can be held virtually.
The regulations have also been updated to reflect the procedure for reviewing projects during public hearings. Louis Weil, chairman of the design review board, said the changes were made to clarify how meetings should be organized, while emphasizing fairness for both parties.
“The board felt it was important to document these procedures as it ensures a more orderly process [and] more equal opportunities for individual board members to attend the meeting, ”said Director of Community Development Marc Wiener. “That’s why they took it upon themselves to update the document and establish the procedures.”
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