Construction will soon begin on a two-story office building with retail and a possible restaurant after the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission recently approved a project helmed by Commissioner Arun Jain.
Jain recused himself from the vote, which resulted in a 3-0 approval for a conditional use permit and variance allowing for the construction of a two-story, 6,232 square-foot building with a 5,365 square-foot basement on a three-parcel piece of land at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Young Drive totaling 13,014 square feet. Commissioner Jeffrey McConnell was absent for the vote.
“I for one will be very excited to see something new happening on this property and buildings finally getting done,” said Commissioner Henry Oh before his vote.
The site currently features two buildings, one with no logo or name and the other with a Yuki Yama Sushi Japanese Restaurant sign. Oh said the property was unused for many years and he approved of the project, which he called a very challenging site with its configuration and topography.
The variance was approved to allow excess floor area for underground parking, permit tandem parking spaces and a reduced parking stall size. Buildings in the Foothill area are mostly single-story, automobile-oriented stand-alone stores and shopping centers, a Planning Commission statement said.
The site contains two existing commercial structures built in the late 1950s, each with their own parking areas, one accessed via two driveways on Foothill Boulevard and one accessed via a driveway on Young Drive. There is no street parking on that portion of Foothill Boulevard because of bike lanes.
The project exceeds the required number of parking spaces and a request for a reduction in the parking space size, orientation (tandem spaces) and excess floor area due to constraints is included within the variance application.
The variance, according to a city statement, requested allows the excess floor area for the underground parking; eight tandem parking spaces at 8½ feet by 16 feet; and a reduction of the code-required parking stall size from 9 feet by 20 feet to 8½ feet by 18 feet. Access to the basement level parking comes from a driveway on Young Drive. The project site is bounded by Foothill Boulevard to the north.
The site, according to a statement, has multiple physical constraints, including a irregularly shaped trapezoidal lot, grade change exhibited across the site and existing Southern California Edison power poles with supporting guy-wires, or tensioned cables.
Two Montrose residents, who said they were in favor of the project at the meeting, had concerns about construction traffic and traffic in general on Young Drive if the project is completed.
Commission chair Rick Gunter said the city’s Public Works Department handles what streets are used in construction routes and the resident could send their concerns to them. Additionally, Gunter noted the project’s 35 spaces for parking (one more than the required 34) would limit traffic, as well as the fact that Young Drive is permit-marking only.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pat Anderson spoke in favor of the project before the vote.
“The chamber has been watching this site for a number of years,” Anderson said. “We have been fielding lots and lots of calls from residents, as well as those that traverse that part of Foothill. There’s a lot of excitement when I told them there is a project and we’re hoping for approval so that buildings can be built.”
On Monday, in a separate interview, Jain said he purchased the project site about four and a half years ago and about two years before he figured out the project specifics.
“It is the process of complying with the city laws because of the setback issue, the height issue, how to make this work,” Jain said.
Jain said his concern was the public reaction to it.
“My concern was if people would love it or not,” he said.
Residents have told Jain there has been vandalism and break-ins because the site has been sitting idle for more than four years.
“I’ve been told people go there and loiter there,” Jain said, adding someone also broke into the building about three years ago.
It would be a minimum of six months before he starts working on the site and demolishes the current buildings on site.
“I’ve spoken to eight residential neighbors and they were all in support,” Jain said.
New Hours Approved For Spin Studio
The Planning Commission also approved a minor conditional use permit at Pedal Spin City, allowing for a chance of morning business hours.
Cindy Bell, owner of the spin studio located at 1111 Foothill in suites A and B, successfully asked to change the morning hours of the business to 5:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. The previous hours were 4:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The other hours for the business during nights and weekends will remain the same.
Additionally, a restriction was lifted that previously stopped “total body resistance exercise,” or TRX, training classes from being held simultaneously with any spin classes, such as the 45-minute express spin class.
The reason for the original restriction was to ensure adequate parking for all businesses as originally approved, according to a statement. There will remain a maximum limit of 20 participants and one instructor in the combined classes and classes will end at 10:30 a.m. with the remaining time used for clean-up.
“I’ve gotten several comments saying parking is better since we moved in,” Bell said. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity for the application.”