By Charly SHELTON
The first wave of El Niño is over and it hit the Crescenta Valley hard. With more rain on the way, flooding and water control is not only an issue for the homeowners of the area but also businesses. This was one of the issues raised in last week’s monthly Montrose Shopping Park Association meeting. A City of Glendale representative attends each meeting to take notes and hear grievances from the business owners in the MSP, and their chief concern at the January meeting revolved around El Niño.
“I know the cities have been preparing for El Niño; however, I learned the hard way on a couple of things,” said Gigi Garcia, vice president of the MSPA and owner of It Takes a Village store. “We had a drain in the back, which is my landlord’s problem, and we got it cleaned out but it flooded two of the stores. Now I notice all drains as I’m walking around town. So as I was walking to the bank, I looked down and the drains on the sidewalk are full of leaves. It’s been so windy almost every day; you can clean them out and they get filled up again. So I just want to make sure we prevent any flooding on the sidewalks or the streets.”
Garcia said they pulled out a 12-foot clog from the drain behind her store that was made up of “grass and leaves and muck.” Jeannie Bone, owner of Casa Cordoba restaurant and a MSPA board member, also pointed out that the sidewalk area in front of her restaurant and J Lauren Hair Studio is a massive depression that fills to become a small pool whenever it rains. Issues like these will only get worse and more bothersome as the rains become heavier and more frequent.
The other issue closely related to El Niño is one that comes up in almost every MSPA board meeting – parking.
“[The parking lots in Montrose are] in horrible shape and, with El Niño coming down, there’s going to be an issue with the city and Lot 3,” said Kirk Gelsinger, MSPA board member. “Every day we go down there, there’s a new pothole, a new chunk coming out of [the parking lot] and, with El Niño, with the rains we had, when you look at it right now it’s like it’s going to wash away.”
The problem with [Lot 3], Gelsinger said, is that it cannot be “repaired.”
“There is a certain percentage of repair and maintenance that is allowed to be done on a lot before it is considered renovation and with renovation comes new laws, including compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. With the way Lot 3 is right now, the amount of repair that it needs exceeds the percentage that is allowed before it becomes a ‘renovation,’ and to make the parking lot compliant would require the building of a double-decker structure because the ADA spaces must be situated on level ground and cannot go into an alleyway. Lot 3 is a sloped parking lot bordered by an alleyway and Florencita Avenue, so there is really only one option,” Gelsinger said.
“Our number one problem up here is the city maintaining and improving the infrastructure that we have because it’s decaying. It’s decaying rapidly, and the fixes are starting to look slapdash,” Gelsinger said of the little fixes to the lot and the rest of the shopping park over the years. “We had a term for it over at Lockheed – hammer to fit, paint to match. And that’s what it’s starting to look like. But it’s not matching and there’s a lot of dents in the hammer work. You look at the brick work along the walkways and there’s bricks missing, stuff buckling… It’s going to get worse.”