Council Acknowledges Complaint Against One of Its Own

First published in the Sept. 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the formal complaint filed by a resident against Councilman Jonathan Curtis.
Scott Van Dellen filed a complaint to the state Fair Political Practices Commission — a nonpartisan, five-member panel that administers the Political Reform Act — on Sept. 13 alleging that Curtis violated the act by using his position to influence a government decision concerning a proposed three-story development at 600 Foothill Blvd. Continue reading “Council Acknowledges Complaint Against One of Its Own”

Complaint Filed Against City Councilman

First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

A La Cañada Flintridge resident filed a complaint on Monday with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission — a nonpartisan, five-member panel that administers the Political Reform Act — against a local city councilman.
The complaint, filed by Scott Van Dellen, alleges that Councilman Jonathan Curtis violated two regulations set by the act, including “attempting to use official position to influence a government decision,” concerning a proposed three-story development at 600 Foothill Blvd. in which Curtis owns a financial stake.
In an interview on Wednesday, Curtis denied the allegations, emphasizing that he has never spoken with a city councilmember or city staff regarding the details of the project. Continue reading “Complaint Filed Against City Councilman”

Planning Commission Backs Proposed Foothill Blvd. Project

First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission finally voted on the controversial proposed three-story structure at 600 Foothill Blvd., recommending approval of the project — a move that followed hours of deliberation by the panel and comment from numerous members of the public since June.
The commission resumed discussion of the proposal in a virtual special meeting on Sept. 2 and ultimately adopted six resolutions with conditions that advance the project — which would include 47 senior housing units, 12 non-serviced hotel units and 7,600 square feet for office use — to the consent calendar of the panel’s next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 23. The consent calendar is the portion of a municipal meeting that is reserved for items that no longer require serious discussion; the commission is due to vote once more to affirm its approval of the project. Continue reading “Planning Commission Backs Proposed Foothill Blvd. Project”

Zoning Concerns Emerge in Debate Over Proposed Project

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission’s deliberation over a proposed three-story structure at 600 Foothill Blvd. will continue next month after commissioners balked at making any decision regarding the development at a special virtual meeting last week.

What began as a July 29 discussion about the project that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12 non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and 107 underground parking spaces became a dialogue about the city’s General Plan and Zoning Code, and the panel ultimately decided to adjourn and pick up the conversation on Thursday, Sept. 2, at 6 p.m.

The commission suggested it was best to establish its requirements for mixed-use structures in the Downtown Village Specific Plan rather than having a specific project dictate amendments to the General Plan and Zoning Code.

Continue reading “Zoning Concerns Emerge in Debate Over Proposed Project”

Scrutiny of Proposed Structure Resumes Today at Meeting

The saga of the proposed development at 600 Foothill Boulevard — a three-story, mixed-use structure that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12-non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and one level of underground parking containing 107 spaces — will resume at a special meeting today at 6 p.m.

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission will continue its deliberation about the controversial project from a previous virtual meeting that lasted nearly five hours. The panel closed that June 24 session with requests for its staff and the applicants, Garret Weyand and Alexandra Hack of 600 Foothill Owner LP, to follow up on issues that included parking spaces and the mitigation declaration’s traffic study.

Continue reading “Scrutiny of Proposed Structure Resumes Today at Meeting”

Planning Commission Seeks More Answers About Proposed Building

After nearly five hours of presentations, public comments and discussion regarding a proposed development at 600 Foothill Blvd., the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission decided last week to put off deliberation on the matter until July 29.
The panel asked questions for its staff and the applicants, Garret Weyand and Alexandra Hack of 600 Foothill Owner LP, to follow up on next month on issues ranging from parking spaces to subleases of units.
Emily Stadnicki, LCF’s principal planner, said it is standard practice for the commission to shelve an item and continue discussion at a later date. The presentation and lengthy public comment portion extended the June 24 virtual meeting late into the night.
“I think with a project this big, it’s anticipated,” Stadnicki told the Outlook Valley Sun on Wednesday. “A lot of people wanted to speak. This is normal procedure.”
She gave a presentation informing commissioners and stakeholders of the proposed three-story, mixed-use structure that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12 non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and one level of underground parking containing 107 spaces.
Such a structure could help the city accommodate the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, a process involving the California Department of Housing and Community Development that projects how many dwellings are needed in the state. LCF is expected to show that it can provide 612 units, and the city staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve a conditional use permit for the project, a tree removal permit and a vesting tentative tract map for subdividing the 77,310-square-foot mixed-use development into 49 parcels for condominium purposes on the 1.29-acre property on Foothill. The staff also recommends that the panel adopt a mitigated negative declaration.
It further urges that the panel move forward with recommending that the City Council approve an amendment to the General Plan that incorporates a new mixed-use 3 designation into the Downtown Village Specific Plan that would set a density range of 20-30 dwelling units per acre.
“The city has determined that the project does address a substantial public need and is generally consistent with the city’s housing element and wider planning goals,” the staff said. “It is staff’s opinion that adopting an MU-3 designation with a density of 20-30 units per acre on this property is supported by facts and permissible.”
A group of residents continued to voice concerns over the proposed development, such as the fact that the mitigation declaration’s traffic study is based on traffic counts from 2015. In response, Stadnicki said the city’s traffic engineer approved the methodology through which 2015 counts were increased by 1% every year, which is standard protocol. She also added that there is no data from Los Angeles County that indicates a high number of accidents at Woodleigh Lane and Foothill, near the proposed development. Only two accidents were reported there in the past five years and neither involved injuries.
Responding to another concern, the staff said the size of the proposed project is consistent with existing development in the vicinity. Noting that buildings with at least three stories already exist in LCF, Stadnicki listed the La Cañada Medical Building on 1370 Foothill Blvd., Descanso Medical Center on 1346 Foothill Blvd., Lund Building at 4529 Angeles Crest Highway and City Hall.
As for parking, Stadnicki said the 107 spaces are more than are currently required by the city.
Not all residents are against the project. Some wrote in support of it, including President and co-owner of La Cañada Flintridge Country Club Randy Dreyfuss, who said he has “witnessed firsthand the effect the lack of senior housing has on citizens of La Cañada. Many of our club members have reluctantly left the city (and the club) as they have been unable to find housing that would allow them to remain in the city if they desired to downsize their housing needs.”
Weyand and Hack, both of whom are LCF residents, said they were pleased with the staff’s presentation and report, which was 580 pages long, and were glad to “clear the air.”
“It was comprehensive and so well done, and facts there were understandable,” Hack said. “They did an incredible job to explain a complex project with moving pieces.”

Planning Panel to Examine Controversial Building Proposal

The Planning Commission tonight intends to discuss a project that is proposed for 600 Foothill Blvd. Possible development at the 1.29-acre parcel has been a contentious issue for concerned residents and the commission over the past few years.

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission will have just two items on the agenda for its virtual meeting scheduled for tonight at 6, and it’s a loaded topic.

The panel will discuss the development proposal regarding 600 Foothill Blvd. that has been contested by many residents as well as commissioners, who balked at backing an earlier plan, the proposed 72-bed Oakmont Senior Living facility, in January 2018.

Continue reading “Planning Panel to Examine Controversial Building Proposal”