Before heading to Kagel Canyon to begin evacuations ahead of this week’s rainstorm, Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Blasnek stopped by Tuesday’s City Council meeting to report that the flurry of burglaries that hit La Cañada Flintridge at the start of the year seems to have subsided.
“The February statistics are in, and home residential burglaries went way down to four,” said Blasnek, comparing that tally with the 14 that occurred in January. “One is too many. However, I would like to share some notes I took on these burglaries.”
He told council members that one of the burglaries “could’ve been prevented.” A Schwinn mountain bike was stolen from within a garage, he said, after someone left a vehicle unlocked with the garage door opener inside, making it easy for a thief to get away with the bike.
Another of the burglaries involved a family member who was known to the residents, and a third resulted in the arrest of a pair of suspects all the way out in the High Desert.
“The good news is that they’re in custody,” Blasnek said. “The even better news is that we’ve linked them to a residential burglary that occurred in our city on Dec. 29.”
Blasnek wasn’t finished: “We had no other burglaries in La Cañada in February, which is great, fantastic — especially for our businesses.”
In January, six non-residential burglaries were reported in the city.
Blasnek also complimented LCF residents for alerting sheriff’s officials to suspicious activity caught on Ring doorbell systems: “Our people are doing a good job,” he said.
With some regret, council members voted 5-0 to approve amendments to the city’s zoning code governing accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.
At its meeting on Feb. 20, the City Council delayed voting on whether to approve the amendments until staff could assess the feasibility of restricting parking required for ADUs located on hillside lots from being within the front yard setback.
Staff looked into it and determined that because there is no existing restriction associated with parking within the front yard setback within any residential zone — including hillside lots — such a restriction cannot be applied specifically to ADUs.
“I don’t think you can start making determinations that make it more difficult to add accessory dwelling units, especially if it’s not prohibited for the standard R1 single-family home,” City Attorney Mark Steres said. “If it was prohibited for single family homes, then we would be recommending that restriction.”
Councilman Greg Brown suggested that the city should look at such a prohibition for single family homes in the future.
Recent changes to the city’s ADU ordinance — spurred by amendments to state law meant to help alleviate some of the burden caused by the housing crisis — have had the desired effect, according to Susan Koleda, deputy director of community development.
“From a staff perspective, there’s been an uptick of interest for residents wishing to either convert existing space or construct new ADUs,” Koleda said. “From what I can see, the law and the changes we did last year have certainly made a difference in how quickly we’re approving these throughout the community.”