Panel Making Long-Term Effort to Update Zoning

La Cañada Flintridge Country Club President Randy Dreyfuss is closely monitoring the city Planning Commission’s public hearings on a planned comprehensive update to the city’s zoning code.
Dreyfuss, who attended a recent special meeting of the commission, told The Outlook he believes that if his business is changed from its current zoning code designation of public/semi-public to open space, the value of his property could drop dramatically.
The updated code is “just going to require some crafting,” Dreyfuss said, noting the country club has 100 employees and is one of the larger businesses in the city. “Basically, [commission members] seemed sympathetic.”
Under state law, LCF’s zoning code and zoning map are required to be consistent with the city’s general plan and general plan land use map. The latter were adopted by the LCF City Council in 2013, and staff members have been working ever since to update the zoning code and map for consistency, LCF Director of Community Development Susan Koleda said.
Based on the schedule of Planning Commission hearings on the subject, city staff members anticipate that the new zoning code and map will be adopted in 2021, she added.
In a letter to the Planning Commission, Dreyfuss said “changing the designation from public/semi-public will invalidate our current land appraisals and compromise both our current loans and our ability to obtain future ones, which are necessary to our financial survival. This would have the effect of a diminution in land value that may not allow for the continued viability of the existing golf course land use, despite the carve-out of public recreation zoning for the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club clubhouse and adjacent parking lot within the greater open space zone designation.”
Koleda told The Outlook in an email that the city’s staff proposes that the clubhouse and parking area be zoned parks and recreation, with the remainder of the property zoned open space. Under a previous general plan and land use map adopted in 1993, the country club had a general plan land use designation of “open space, private,” she said.
In the agenda packet for the next special meeting, city staff members will provide the commission with a copy of the recorded subdivision maps for two privately held properties that are proposed to be zoned open space that show restrictions on the use of those lots proposed to be zoned open space, she said.
“Whether a majority of [commission members] want to amend the proposed zoning [for the country club], I don’t know at this time,” Koleda said.
Commissioner Samir Mehrotra asked Koleda during the meeting on Feb. 20 if the country club reclassification would change its real estate taxes; Koleda replied she did not know.
Another resident at the meeting, David Haxton, asked the commission to have zoning reflect what a city wants instead of what happens to be there.
“As this town has changed, the post office has moved, library has moved,” Haxton said. “Just because it happens to be a public building at this time doesn’t mean it’s always going to be. And it should be zoned for what’s an appropriate use, not just now but in the future.”
The next special meeting on the zoning code update, in a series of 15 held on Thursdays and Saturdays, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7. It will tackle single-family residential (R-1) zones but could also address off-street parking, which was on the Feb. 20 agenda but not addressed then, Koleda said.
If discussion of a particular topic cannot be completed within a specified meeting, it can be continued, and the preliminary schedule will be adjusted to accommodate the matter, according to a city statement.
To view the schedule and topics of the meetings, which are open to the public, visit cityoflcf.org/zoningupdate.

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