Laguna Beach City news City of Laguna Beach, California

Happy Thanksgiving! As a reminder, City Hall will be closed on Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24.

This Week's City Council Action:

City Council Recognizes November as Family Court Awareness Month

On Tuesday, the City Council approved a proclamation declaring November as Family Court Awareness Month in Laguna Beach. The mission of the Family Court Awareness Month Committee (FCAMC) is to increase awareness of the importance of a family court system that prioritizes child safety and acts in the best interest of children. Pictured from left to right: (FCAMC Parent Meggan Taylor and Mayor Bob Whalen)

City Council Approves Revisions to the Underground Utility Assessment Deferment Loan Program

On Tuesday, the City Council approved revisions to the Underground Utility Assessment Deferment Loan Program (Loan Program). The City created the Loan Program in 2016 to assist property owners facing significant financial difficulty when paying their assessments and private connection costs associated with underground utility assessment districts. The revisions include lowering the age limit for property owners to quality for the loan program from age 62 to 55, increasing the household income requirements to 20% above the Orange County Moderate Income Limit, and increasing the total program budget to $700,000.

City Council Approves Risk Assessment of Lemon-Scented Gum Tree Located at 387 El Camino Del Mar

On Tuesday, the City Council directed City staff to solicit a Level III Risk Assessment of the lemon-scented gum tree located at 387 El Camino Del Mar by a third-party certified arborist. The purpose of the assessment is to provide additional analysis before implementing the City Council's October 24, 2023 decision to remove the tree. The assessment will include ground-penetrating radar root mapping to determine the tree's underlying root structure, performance of a static pull test, and recommendations for tree pruning. City staff will return to the City Council at a future meeting with findings from the Level III Risk Assessment.

City Council To Evaluate Joining the Natural Communities Coalition

On Tuesday, the City Council authorized City Staff to determine the operational benefits and implications of joining the Natural Communities Coalition (NCC) and for the City Attorney to review the legal ramifications. City staff will return to the City Council at a future meeting with information necessary to consider seeking City membership in the NCC.

City Council to Explore Parking Solutions for Laguna Beach Community & Recreation Center

On Tuesday, the City Council directed City Staff to explore parking solutions for City Staff and users of the Laguna Beach Community & Recreation Center (LBCRC). City staff will return to the City Council at a future meeting with parking recommendations.

City Council Keeps Status Quo Regarding Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem Assignments

On Tuesday, the City Council decided to continue selecting the mayor and mayor pro tem based on a City Council vote. The City Council will select a new mayor and mayor pro tem at the December 12, 2023 City Council meeting.

The Next Regular Meeting of the City Council is Tuesday, December 12 at 5:00 P.M.

The "Tentative Agenda" is strictly tentative and there is no guarantee that items listed will be agendized as scheduled due to changing priorities, new information, staff workloads, and other unforeseeable events.

December 12 Tentative Agenda

The Week That Was (TW2) is an update on City business in previous weeks.

Mayor Whalen Recaps This Week's City Council Meeting

In today's podcast, Mayor Whalen recaps this week's City Council Meeting. He also talks about his Thanksgiving plans.

Sawdust Winter Fantasy Now Open Through December!

The 33rd Annual Sawdust Winter Fantasy is open on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., now through December 17th!

Winter Fantasy is a one-of-a-kind holiday art festival that offers a festive, unique shopping experience in an enchanting winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations, handcrafted gifts by 160 artists, three stages of live music, community performances, carolers, puppeteers, art classes, and daily visits with Santa Claus.

See You at the Sawdust!

The City in partnership with the Sawdust Festival will be providing a free seasonal trolley service from a free parking lot in Irvine (16355 Laguna Canyon Rd) to the Sawdust Festival and downtown Laguna Beach during the Winter Fantasy event. The City will operate this free trolley service on Saturdays and Sundays, from November 18 through December 17 and one Friday, November 24. Trolley service will operate every 30 minutes in both directions on the following days: Friday, November 24, 2023: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays/Sundays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In an effort to further improve customer experience and make it even easier to pay for parking, the Transit and Community Services Department recently introduced a new one-time parking payment option at City-operated parking lots and meters. Customers can now pay for parking simply by scanning a QR code, entering vehicle and parking space information, and paying via credit card, Google Pay or Apple Pay, without having to download an app to their phone. Regular customers can also continue to find and pay for parking by downloading the Laguna Beach Parking app. Click HERE to access the new one-time parking payment portal.

LB Firefighters Launch Spark of Love Toy Drive - Donate a Toy Today! 🧸

This year marks the 31st Anniversary of the Spark of Love Toy Drive which will run from November 24 through December 24, 2023.

Toy drop-off locations include: Laguna Beach Fire Stations Two, Three, and Four as well as City Hall and the Police Department.

Any new unwrapped toy must be in their original packaging or box. Sports equipment (balls/tennis racquets, baseball bats) is not required to have a box or package. We cannot distribute clothing, personal care items, blankets etc.

For questions related to the Spark of Love toy drive, please contact Captain/Paramedic Pat Cary at pcary@lagunabeachcity.net or Administrative Captain John Kuzmic at jkuzmic@lagunabeachcity.net.

Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Homicide Charge

On Monday, November 20, the man charged with the murder of Tatum Goodwin, pleaded not guilty.

Dino Rojas-Moreno of Laguna Hills was charged on November 17, 2023 with special circumstances murder during a kidnapping with a sentencing enhancing for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Rojas-Moreno's attorney, Chris Bou Saeed, entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client and a pretrial hearing is set for January 30, 2024 in the Central Justice Center.

Rojas-Moreno is being held without bail after being accused of killing Tatum Goodwin on November 12, 2023. Goodwin's body was found by a construction worker in a secluded location near the 200 block of Ocean Avenue.

LBPD Detective Work Leads to Male Nanny Sentenced to 705 Years in Prison

A man who served as a male nanny for families across Southern California has been sentenced to 705 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting 16 boys under his care.

Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 34, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on May 17, 2019, by Laguna Beach Police Department Detectives. Zarkrzewski was originally charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and one felony count of oral copulation with a child under the age of 10.

He filmed many of the sexual assaults of the young boys, who ranged between the ages of two to 12 years old, with crimes committed between January 1, 2014, and May 17, 2019. After the initial criminal charges were filed, Laguna Beach Police Department Detectives asked for the public’s help in locating other potential victims. After following multiple leads from the public, Detectives identified numerous additional victims

On October 3, 2023, Zarkrzewski was convicted of 34 felony counts, including 27 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14 and two felony counts of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. This arrest and conviction is the result of the hard work and dedication of the Laguna Beach Police Department investigations team in conjunction with various agencies, including the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Looking for a Furry Companion? "Eloise" Could Be the One! 🐶

Eloise, a delightful 1 1/2-year-old female Boston Terrier Pug mix, is eagerly awaiting adoption. With her affectionate nature, playful spirit, and unwavering loyalty, she will undoubtedly become your devoted companion. 🐶

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. For any questions, please call (949) 497-3552.

Seasonal Ocean Lifeguard Applications Due Tomorrow at 5 PM 🌊

Lifeguard testing will happen on Saturday, November 25, 2023. Applications must be submitted by Thursday, November 23 at 5:00 p.m. to participate.

Check Out the New Public Art Dedication "Coalescence"

On November 16, the Laguna Beach Arts Commission celebrated the new public art dedication, “Coalescence” by Beau Stanton.

"Coalescence" consists of an inlaid ceramic walkway mural measuring 20 feet by 14 feet, for the pedestrian bridge near the main entry of the Sawdust Art Festival. The mosaic is comprised of over 1,000 hand cut tiles utilizing a color palette that references the canyon and ocean environments of Laguna Beach.

On Monday, December 4 at 6:00 p.m., California Assemblymember Diane Dixon will be a guest speaker at the Laguna Beach Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee (EDPC) meeting at City Council Chambers.

Upstream Kicks Off This Week's Live Music at the Promenade 🎶

  • Friday at 5:30 PM: Upstream
  • Saturday at 5:30 PM: Molly Bergman
  • Sunday at 5:00 PM: Molly Bergman

Turkey Trot Your Way Into a Wonderful Weekend! 🦃 🍁

Printed copies of the newsletter are available Fridays at the Community & Susi Q Center. Alternative Language Options Available Upon Request.