In March of 2021, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a new series of resident-serving programs and policies called the "Neighborhood & Environmental Protection Plan" to mitigate visitor impacts to neighborhoods, enhance City services for residents, and add environmental protection programs.
The $1M program is funded 100% by visitors through the City’s Parking Fund and Measure LL Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues.
"This action by the Council will better protect our neighborhoods, and preserve the natural beauty of our beaches and open space areas," said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen in 2021. "Through numerous neighborhood outreach meetings with our residents and neighbors over the last year, we've heard that more police protection, parking enforcement and trash pickup are needed to maintain the quality of life that we all expect. By committing $1M to this effort, we are confident that we will produce positive and tangible results for our community."
- Litter collection crews were deployed during summer weekends to collect trash left in neighborhoods adjacent to beaches, parks, and trails
- The City modified the current contract for public trash collection services to include all public trash cans at City beaches and along Coast Highway during the weekends. Doing so will allowed for more efficient trash collection on weekends, and freed two full-time Public Works staff positions on Saturdays and Sundays to be reassigned to other facility maintenance duties, which provides quicker response times to common maintenance requests such as graffiti removal, litter control, and public restroom maintenance at all city parks and beaches.
- Extended service dates for increased afternoon trash collection program and added a 3rd daily trash pickup.
- Added trash cans at new locations for daily service and expedited replacing trash cans.
- The City approved converting all the City-owned drinking fountains to bottle filler drinking fountains.
- The installation of a gate at the Tyrol entrance of Alta Laguna Park.
- Trail Ambassador Program: The City partnered with the Laguna Canyon Foundation to provide trail ambassadors at trail heads during peak usage hours.
- The City added year-round lifeguard coverage at Crescent Bay Beach, Shaw’s Cove, Victoria/Lagunita and Treasure Island and augmented Marine Safety services for county beaches in South Laguna.
- The City installed a lifeguard tower during summer months at Mermaid Beach (North Victoria).
- The City added an additional Marine Safety Officer position to create a late evening shift.
- The City prohibited the use of large shade structures on beaches to preserve public safety sightlines.
- The City prohibited the storage of bicycles on Main Beach and Heisler Park.
- The Police Department has created the Neighborhood Enhancement Team to focus on localized quality of life issues within the community.
- Additional security cameras were installed at Alta Laguna Park.
- Non-coastal community parks to close at 10:00 p.m.
- The City expanded the prohibition of abandonment of personal property in public spaces.
- The City prohibited feeding wild birds in all City Parks.
- The City expanded its "plastic pollution policy" to prohibit the sale, use, and distribution of certain plastic, single-use food service ware (including utensils and utensil sleeves, straws, stirrers, and takeout bags) on all Laguna Beach trails, parks, and beaches.
- No retail food vendor (including restaurants, grocery stores, convenient stores, street vendors and City-sponsored events) may sell, use, or distribute certain plastic, single-use food service ware.
- Non-plastic alternative items (spoons, forks, knives, straws, and stirrers) may only be provided to customers upon request.
See the City's Path to Plastic-Free Laguna Beach for more details on the City's efforts to transition to a plastic-free community.
"The ongoing effects of Covid have impacted our trails and beaches as people search for outdoor activities and anything they can do safely," said Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, who proposed the program during the City Council's 2021 retreat. "Over the last few months, we have addressed specific neighborhood concerns tactically by putting out more trash cans and doing more enforcement, but this plan includes more immediate and long-term actions that will continue through the summer months as well. This program is a result of successful collaboration between residents and City staff, funded 100-percent from visitor revenues," Kempf said.