By Jason KUROSU
A proposed 30-unit townhome development to be located at 4201 Pennsylvania Av. has stirred up concerns over the state of development within La Crescenta, as well as the potential traffic and parking issues the development would create.
The Olson Company, the developer of the townhome proposal, filed for a parking reduction permit and a variance with the city of Glendale that would allow for subterranean parking, reduced setbacks and an increased floor area ratio. The variance was initially appealed by John Polikolsky, a resident of nearby Encinal Avenue, but the appeal was withdrawn shortly before the Glendale Planning Commission could discuss the matter at its July 17 meeting.
Grant Michals, who is a member of the Glendale Planning Process Task Force, an advisory committee of the Planning Commission, said he had spoken with Polikolsky, and was told that the increased setbacks were sufficient and that he was satisfied with the directions taken by the developers overall. Polikolsky could not be reached for comment.
Members of the Crescenta Valley Community Association lamented what they saw as far-reaching issues exacerbated by the development during its regular July meeting.
Regarding the North Glendale Community Plan, Sharon Weisman of CVCA expressed “disappointment.”
“It didn’t have as radical an effect on minimizing overdevelopment as those of us who worked on it for many years hoped it would,” she said.
The proposed townhomes on Pennsylvania Avenue, currently a fenced-off area between Altura Avenue and the entrance to the I-210 Freeway, represents another symptom of burgeoning overdevelopment. But the members of the CVCA also took issue with what they saw as logistical problems that the townhomes would present. For instance, the only plausible exit for cars leaving the property would be along Pennsylvania Avenue where traffic can be heavy due to the close proximity to the eastbound and westbound freeway entrances. CVCA members were concerned about how families living in the townhomes would maneuver through this traffic to drive their children to nearby Lincoln Elementary School on Altura Avenue. CVCA members also cited the apartment complex at the corner of Pennsylvania and the 3200 block of Altura as an example of potential traffic issues, as Altura is often congested with parked cars on both sides of the street.
While the main topic of the meeting was the spread of development, CV Town Council member Harry Leon revived a different issue which he sees spreading across La Crescenta, that of big rig trucks parked overnight or longer along La Crescenta sidewalks.
Leon argued that the trucks take up 3½ car lengths while parked and those parked near Crescenta Valley High School have led to CV students being ticketed for having to find parking elsewhere in restricted areas.
According to Leon, parked trucks cannot be ticketed until after they have been parked in one spot for over 72 hours, but that restriction is rarely enforced.
“We’re not trying to meddle with someone’s way of living, but it’s our community,” Leon said in response to those supporting the truckers who feel that having trucks parked in the neighborhood is a necessary cost for receiving the products the truckers deliver.
A public hearing will be held during the CV Town Council’s Aug. 15 meeting. Though the town council has spoken with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office, exploring the possibility of parking restrictions or overnight bans in La Crescenta, Leon said the town council does not want to take any substantial steps until some public input can be collected.
As far as overdevelopment was concerned, it was decided that CVCA would draft a letter to be sent to the Glendale Planning Commission detailing issues CVCA has with the city staff’s approach to the North Glendale Community Plan.
A design review board meeting regarding the development at 4201 Pennsylvania is scheduled for Aug. 8.