UNDER LAGUNA Article: Laguna Beach, the city of "no" https://underlaguna.com/business/laguna-beach-the-city-of-no/


Photo by David Hansen

Officially in Laguna Beach, you're not supposed to color your dog for sport. Unofficially, you should not color your dog at all. C'mon people ... dogs are people too.

Laguna Beach, the city of ‘no’

By David Hansen
Editor, Under Laguna

Laguna Beach has a reputation for being an idyllic paradise driven by peace, love and liberalism.

But is it really?

The fact is Laguna has perhaps more restrictive rules than most cities its size. Why? Because of the idiot nosebagger masses. Yes, that’s right, Laguna has to play bad cop for all the bad actor visitors.

Consider these highlights, which are considerable. They are just a summary of the bans, codes and laws that envelop the city like a wet marine layer.

New “no” rules

On July 15, 2021, the following went into effect:

  • Single-use plastic food ware is prohibited on Laguna Beach trails, parks, and beaches.
  • No restaurant distribution of single-use to-go containers, including plastic take-out bags and utensil sleeves.
  • No feeding of wild birds in city parks.
  • No large shade structures on beaches to preserve public safety sightlines.
  • No storage of bicycles on Main Beach and Heisler Park.
  • Expanding prohibition of abandonment of personal property in public spaces.
  • Non-coastal community parks to close at 10 p.m.

No “acrobatic” skateboarding

According to the city’s official municipal code, skateboarding acrobatics are prohibited.

“No person shall perform acrobatics while operating a skateboard or roller skates on public streets, public sidewalks, public parking lots or other public property. ‘Acrobatics’ include, but are not limited to, jumps, spins, loops, 360s, handstands, and any other movement, stunt or trick not essential to the ordinary use of the skateboard or roller skates as a transportation device.” (Ord. 1546 § 2, 2011).

No fishing

Since 2012, Laguna has been a State Marine Reserve, which means you basically can’t do anything in or near the ocean. “It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource.”

No free dogs on the beach

In the summer — between June 15 and Sept. 10 — dogs are only allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. The rest of the year dogs are allowed on the beach at any time of day. Of course, all dogs must always be leashed. Also, for some reason, dogs are prohibited every day of the year at Thousand Steps Beach.

No dog contests

Not sure how the various dog contests and parades get away with this one, but yeah, no dying Rover pink for sport. According to the code: “Animals as contest prizes prohibited. No person shall offer or give away any dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, reptiles. amphibians, baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl as prizes in any contest, lottery or drawing, nor shall any color, dye, stain or any other substance be used to change the natural color of the above-described animals.” (Ord. 918 § 1, 1978).

No tidepool trashing

City says: “Absolutely no collecting. Never remove animals, shells, or rocks from the tide pools. Never pick up or touch animals. Observe them where they are. Walk gently. Take care not to step on plants or animals. Never turn over rocks.”

Volunteer beach clean up

Yes, that’s right, officially you can’t clean up the beach without a permit and a waiver – 10 days before you want to do it! First, you have to read and complete the required application for a “free Beach Clean-Up Permit” before participating in the clean-up. Permit applications must be received at least 10 business days prior to the requested beach clean-up date for consideration and processing. You will also need to submit a waiver.

NOTE: While we’re talking beaches, if you have one of those shade coverings with your beach cleanup, they cannot be larger than 12 feet wide or 10 feet tall. And only one folding table under eight feet long by four feet wide is permitted.

No illegal beach weddings

Weddings on beaches and in parks in Laguna require wedding permits. Between Labor Day weekend and Memorial Day weekend (September to May), weddings are permitted at most city parks and beaches. During peak summer months (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend), beach weddings are only permitted on the four beaches below the bluffs at Heisler Park (North Main Beach, Rockpile Beach, Picnic Beach and Divers Cove Beach).

The City of Laguna Beach does not permit weddings at Treasure Island Beach or Park, Goff Cove, and Christmas Cove.

No all-night beach access

City beaches are open from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.

No code enforcement too small

The city admits that it can’t monitor every code infraction, which is why it encourages residents to narc on neighbors. Here’s the list of things the city does try to enforce on their own:

  • Overgrown vegetation within the right-of-way.
  • Removal of trees without a permit.
  • Leaf blower enforcement. (The use of leaf blowers within the city is prohibited).
    • 7.25.070 Real property maintenance noise regulations. (D) The use of electrical or gasoline powered blowers, such as commonly used by gardeners and other persons for cleaning lawns, yards, driveways, gutters and other property is prohibited at any time within the city limits.
    • The preferred method to remove vegetative matter is to rake and sweep the debris and dispose of the debris in a green waste receptacle.
  • Construction hour violations. (Construction is allowed weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Construction is not allowed on weekends and legal holidays).
  • Substandard housing conditions.
  • Unpermitted short-term lodging.

No alcohol in parks – without a permit

The consumption of alcohol in Heisler Park, Main Beach Park and Crescent Bay Park requires a permit and under the following conditions:

  • A permit must be obtained prior to the event.
  • The permit must be in the possession of the individual(s) at the time of consuming alcohol.
  • A "bona fide meal" must be consumed with the alcohol.
  • The individual obtaining the permit is at least 21 years of age and all persons attending the event who consume alcoholic beverages are of legal age to do so according to local and state law.
  • The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.

The permit fee is $10, and permits can be obtained at the Community and Susi Q Center at 380 Third St., Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and alternate Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Individuals applying for permits will be required to show proof that they are at least 21 years of age.

Consumption of alcohol at other city parks is:

  • Prohibited at Riddle Park and Field.
  • Prohibited at all beaches.
  • Allowed at other parks with a “bona fide” meal.

No paparazzi – with permits

Here’s another “permit” that’s largely ignored.

Professional Still Photo Permit

This permit is intended for limited use, single camera shoots such as engagement photos, wedding photos, family portraits, holiday cards, etc. The fee is $100 for 2 hours plus $50 for each additional hour.

During the summer season from June 15 through Labor Day weekend, Professional Still Photo Permits are issued only from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. or between 5 p.m. and sunset. All other dates can be permitted anytime from 7:30 a.m. to sunset. No permits will be issued after sunset.

Applications are accepted during business hours Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. except holidays, and applications must be received a minimum of two business days prior to the photo shoot date for consideration and processing.

Commercial Photo Permit

This permit is for commercial photo, video and motion shoots. The application fee is $150 plus a $533 daily use fee. There are several insurance requirements listed on page 2 and 3 of the application that must be fulfilled before a permit will be issued.

Applications are accepted during business hours Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. except holidays and the application must be received a minimum of three weeks prior to filming for consideration and processing.

Commercial film permits are not issued between June 15 and Labor Day.

No smoking in public

At its May 23, 2017 meeting, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to adopted Ordinance 1624, which expanded the city's current smoking prohibitions to include all public places, such as sidewalks, streets, and alleys as well as common areas of multi-unit residences, including laundry rooms, play areas and pools.

The ordinance, which became effective on June 23, 2017, is aimed at all types of smoking products, including tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and marijuana.

Smoking is only permitted in the following locations, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law:

  • Private residential property, other than those used as a child-care or health-care facility subject to state licensing requirements.
  • Within a moving or stationary vehicle, including a vehicle on a public street or right of way, or parked in a public place.
  • Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments may establish rules permitting or prohibiting smoking on portions of their property that is not open to the public, such as guest rooms, pools and similar facilities and areas provided that such rules comply with all applicable laws.

Violations of the smoking ordinance include fines ranging from $100 to $500.

No false alarms

The Laguna Beach Police Department responds to burglary and robbery alarms. If you have a burglary or alarm system for your home or business in Laguna Beach, you must obtain a permit. Each permit lasts two years and costs $35 for a residential alarm system and $50 for a commercial alarm system.

The police department enforces penalties for false alarms. Officers respond to more than a thousand alarm calls each year. Almost all of these are false alarms. The penalties for excessive false alarms are:

  • The penalty fee for any false robbery alarm is $150.
  • The penalty fee for each false burglary alarm in excess of three in a 12-month period is $125.
  • The penalty fee for each false burglary alarm in excess of six in a 12-month period is $275.
  • The penalty fee for each false alarm without an alarm permit is $120 in addition to the above.

No noise, shh …

This one is geared toward cars and motorcycles, but there’s also a general “no noise” rule throughout Laguna. Also, for the record, we have no idea what an “impulsive” noise is.

“The use of any motor vehicle in such a condition as to create excessive, impulsive or intrusive noises is prohibited. The discharge into the open air of the exhaust of any internal combustion engine, stationary or mounted on wheels, motorboat or motor vehicle, including motorcycle, whether or not discharged through a muffler or other similar device, that creates excessive, unusual, impulsive or intrusive noise is prohibited.” (Ord. 1448 § 1, 2005).

No parking like you own the spot

There is a maximum parking time on almost all streets.

“No person who owns or has possession, custody or control of any vehicle shall park such vehicle upon any street or alley or upon any publicly owned, maintained or operated property for more than a period of 72 consecutive hours. For purposes of this section, the vehicle shall be considered to have remained parked unless during the 72-hour period said vehicle has been moved at least 100 feet from the position previously occupied.” (Ord. 1202 § 1, 1990; Ord. 1081 § 1, 1985).

So there you have it. Several things you can’t do in idyllic Laguna, the city of no.

For a complete list of no, visit the municipal code.


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