Late Night Hours, Cannabis Discussed By Planning Commission

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission continued its discussion and review of the special regulations portion of the city zoning code, which is in the process of being updated and reorganized to keep it consistent with other chapters, in a special meeting last week.
Patricia Blumen, a consultant from City Planning, picked up where she left off from last month’s meeting where she presented the first 17 chapters of special regulations, whether they are permitted outright or require discretionary review.
The first chapter presented turned out to be the most discussed item by the commissioners, who questioned whether having a portion dedicated to late night hours was necessary. Blumen, who worked with city staff on the updates, added a late night hours chapter that would establish criteria and regulations to minimize potential impacts of non-residential uses operating late night hours that are located near residential properties.
The proposed chapter established late night hours to be between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and was added to address noise complaints — such as large delivery trucks idling at 5 a.m. and trash being picked up early in the morning — from residents. Blumen added that the issue was also discussed by a general plan advisory committee, which included a representative from the LCF Chamber of Commerce.
With ordinances already in place addressing noise and lighting, Chair Mike Hazen said the late night hours chapter “just seems a lot to do about nothing,” and the other commissioners agreed that adding a new chapter would create another obstacle for a small number of businesses that operate between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Commissioner Jeffrey McConnell added that residents who purchase a home near businesses that are open late such as restaurants and grocery stores should anticipate some level of noise.
“You bought a property next to a commercial corridor, you should expect a certain amount of activity just as if you buy a house next to the airport, you should expect there to be airplanes, right?” McConnell said. “I don’t think you get a pass to complain about the commercial activity that is directly adjacent to where you live. It’s not like it wasn’t there before.”
The five-member panel unanimously voted in favor of removing the chapter altogether. This suggestion, along with all others in the zoning update, will be presented to the City Council, which will then make a decision whether to adopt the changes as presented.
Regarding noise from services such as trash and recycling pickup, the commission suggested that appropriate pickup hours can be part of the operating agreement with the company that offers such services.
Another recommendation by the Planning Commission was to update the chapter regarding personal indoor cultivation of marijuana. Though the state legalized personal marijuana use for Californians 21 and older back in 2018, La Cañada Flintridge currently requires residents to apply for a permit to cultivate marijuana while the state allows people to harvest up to six living marijuana plants. The panel voted in favor of removing the requirement of a permit.
“To some extent, it’s private property,” said Commissioner Mark Kindhouse. “I think the spirit of this law is to find a way for people to do this in their personal space. I don’t know what we’re permitting. I don’t know what permit we’re revoking. I don’t know how we’re enforcing this, who’s enforcing this and who’s coming into someone’s private property. It’s an odd one to me.”
Blumen also presented new chapters to regulate services such as outdoor dining, senior citizen multifamily residential facilities, tattooing, body piercing and body art establishments, tobacco and electronic cigarette shops and lounges, outdoor vending services, recycling facilities and residential care facilities.
The Planning Commission asked Blumen to add some language to the chapter regarding service stations that includes charging stations for electric vehicles.