The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a temporary moratorium on any permits issued for the Sport Chalet store — the only such soon-to-be-vacant facility in the city that fits the bill as an establishment with a gross floor area greater than 10,000 square feet. Sport Chalet is 45,000 square feet.
Unless it is renewed, the moratorium will last 45 days and give the city and IDS Real Estate Group, the Town Center ownership group, time to analyze the best use of the space.
The goal, according to assistant city attorney Adrian Guerra, will be to determine how best to lessen the impacts of parking, traffic congestion, circulation and noise in the Downtown Village Specific Plan area.
“Staff believes that it is necessary to look at what potential uses can go into large sites such as this one site,” Guerra said.
“This is not shutting down any business. This is so we can study it, and frankly, protect our downtown,” Mayor Jonathan Curtis said. “The whole Town Center is a very important part of our community and we want to protect it.”
Guerra said the ordinance can be extended twice, once for 10 months and 15 days and then again for as much as another year. If it decides it has completed its analysis before the moratorium’s deadline, the city has the discretion to lift it, he said.
He also said there are 14 businesses with square footage greater than 10,000 in the city, but that those will operate as normal because the moratorium will only apply to vacancies in such buildings.
Rob Fuelling, senior vice president at IDS, said his company welcomes the chance to work with the city on finding the right client for the store that served as the flagship location for the Sport Chalet chain.
“We think there’s an opportunity to do something special in the Town Center,” Fuelling said. “Clearly losing Sport Chalet has an emotional tie to the city of La Cañada Flintridge and the greater San Gabriel Valley, but we look forward to taking a time-out and working with the city … to bring another vibrant tenant to the city.”
“You want the right mix within the Town Center,” Curtis added. “What you don’t want is some standalone that doesn’t have the synergy that just takes up a bunch of parking and creates a bunch of traffic. Everybody has put so much into the Downtown to create a walkable, enjoyable type of place. Who knows, it could end up being divided into two, we don’t know.
“This was not an issue with IDS. This was something that the city said we need to do to make sure we get the proper plan in place.”
City Council members didn’t only vote in the California primaries Tuesday, they also cast votes for vacant city commission seats, making decisions that required runoffs for the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Public Safety Commission.
In those instances, in the end, the council voted Charlie Kamar and Marija Kristich Decker to the Parks and Recreation Commission and Wes Seastrom and Maureen Siegel-Sprowles to the Public Safety Commission.
Otherwise, Tom Fuelling and Gordon Hoopes were named to the Design Commission; Michael McConnell and Brad Schwartz to the Investment, Financing and Advisory Committee; Mike Hazen and Jeffrey McConnell to the Planning Commission, and Eldon Horst and Edward Yu to the Public Works and Traffic Commission. The Youth Council will be filled by Vivan Kambe, Jillian Pih and Patrick Witteman.
SOUND ORDINANCE APPROVED
City Councilman Len Pieroni cast the only no vote as his colleagues approved a new sound ordinance upon its second reading Tuesday. The new law is intended to create enforceable rules and to clarify other noise limits within the city in different zones during various hours.
“Something like this is really tough to come up with,” Curtis said. “But I think it’s the right balance.”