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City Honors Marine, Debates Parking

Laguna Niguel's City Council welcomes home a serviceman and criticizes South Shores Church's request to use City Hall parking spaces during church renovations.

Despite a national election and local races, the City Council met Tuesday night in Laguna Niguel.

Among the agenda items: honoring Lance Cpl. Michael Renteria of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines. He received a warm welcome home from the Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee. 

“In Laguna Niguel, we very much respect and honor our servicemen and women, and we are very glad that you could come join us,” said Councilman Robert Ming. “It’s important for our community to know the faces and the lives behind the people who make the sacrifices so that we can be free.”

Renteria was presented with a plaque for his work as an infantry rifleman and team leader of three Marines, as well as a combat vehicle driver. He had two deployments, including one with the 31st MEU to Okinawa, Japan, and the second in Afghanistan, from which he just returned.

South Shores Church Requests to Use City Hall Parking Lot During Renovations

About nine months ago, the city began an informal discussion with South Shores Church to use 100 of City’s Hall’s parking spaces on Sundays, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for about one year, while the church undergoes renovations.

On Oct. 24, the church presented a letter with the specific request of renting some or all of the City Hall’s parking spaces.

The proposal presented at the meeting was to open the discussion, and to consider the possibility in the future.

Several issues arose, notably that allowing access to the parking spaces for churchgoers would limit the ability to market or rent the community room.  However, to date, the room has never been rented out on a Sunday. 

City Manager Tim Casey said he was against the request, as it would be inconsistent with the perameters by which groups are allowed access to the community room, namely nonprofits. 

Councilwoman Linda Lindholm discussed the possibility of using the spaces for overflow on holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but overall felt it would severely impact others wanting to rent the community room. She also brought up the fact that City Hall is also the Emergency Operation Center for the city of Laguna Niguel, specifically designed to withstand floods, fires, etc. Lastly, she suggested that the church pursue other avenues, as its location is in Dana Point, not Laguna Niguel.

Ming, added he was worried if City Hall allowed the spaces to be used for churchgoers, it would create a precedent to charge for parking, when in fact the spots are public property. However, he also noted: “We are preserving the right for no one to use it,” and entertained the possibility of providing 50 spaces or establishing coned off spaces for those who need it for other purposes."

A motion was put forth by Mayor Pro Tem Joe Brown to defer any action or further discussion, until the new City Council can reintroduce the topic. It was unanimously approved 4 to 0, with Mayor Glaab abstaining because of a conflict of interest.

In other News:

  • It was unanimously approved to adopt the resolution of an application for the CalRecycle Rubberized Asphalt Grant Program for the La Paz Road Pavement Rehabilitation Project. The project will recycle tires of automobiles for rubberization of the asphalt, which will contribute to less road noise, as well as longer sustainability.
  • The Oh’ Rah Anchors Away Hoe Down event raised $17,000 for the city’s two adopted units, which will be used for special needs projects, as well as holiday funding.

Upcoming Events:

  • On Sunday, an inaugural commemoration will be held at City Hall’s amphitheater, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. to recognize all veterans.
  • The annual Christmas tree lighting will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. There will be carolers, face painting and more.
  • The annual holiday parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8. The theme is “Honoring Our Heroes,” and will be filled with various patriotic and inspirational military tributes and marching bands.
  • A Hanukkah celebration will be held on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall.
  • A chamber fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10 at El Niguel Country Club as a tribute/roast to Mayor Glaab. The cost is $59 a person or $472 for a table of 8.

The City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the council chambers at City Hall, 30111 Crown Valley Pkwy.

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