Photo by David Hansen
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:
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).
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.