By Ted AYALA
The long-running feud between La Crescenta residents and development interests entered a new phase on Tuesday. At center stage is a proposal by Olson Company of Seal Beach for a 30-unit townhouse to be built at 4201 Pennsylvania Ave. in La Crescenta. Area residents have voiced opposition to the project citing concerns over parking, traffic, and general deterioration to the area’s quality of life.
A petition on Changes.org asking that the Glendale City Council deny permits and revoke variances for the project has so far gathered 320 signatures.
“[This] should send a clear message to the Planning Commission and Design Review Board that any project on this site must be consistent with the North Glendale Community Plan criteria of lower density, compatible with surrounding uses and not increase traffic congestion so close to the freeway ramps” reads the petition. “It is the wrong plan for this site.”
In August, the Olson Company filed for a parking permit and variance that, among other things, permitted the building of subterranean parking. Local resident John Polikolsky filed an appeal against them last July, but retracted it the day before a meeting to discuss the matter on July 16. Councilmember Ara Najarian expressed concerns over that retraction.
“Were you made aware [of this]?” he asked the city’s chief planner John Hamilton. “I think the timing of this being withdrawn the day before, especially with the indications [of opposition to the project] from neighbors, and that this person was their agent – didn’t that raise any red flags? In terms of equity and fairness, that concerns me deeply. That left those neighbors in the lurch.”
Wayne Ko, representing the developers, referred to the estimated impact of new traffic on the area as “very minor.”
“This project doesn’t generate a significant amount of traffic,” he said. “We don’t believe a [further] traffic study is necessary.”
Najarian called the traffic counts cited by Ko “a little goofy,” expressing reservations over discrepancies between studies conducted by the city and Los Angeles County, which were last conducted a decade ago.
“Doesn’t that seem a little strange to you?” he asked Ko.
Bill Weisman took to the council dais to speak against the project, specifically addressing the environmental impact of the traffic that the project could generate.
“I would request clarification as to which side of the street [Glendale and Los Angeles County] did their [traffic] measurements from,” he said. “It makes a big difference. Every user of Pennsylvania Avenue there has been a significant increase in traffic from the time of the study Mr. Ko mentioned.”
Elevated noise levels were also addressed by Weisman, who said that the city has conducted no such studies in respect to the project.
“I would note that the noise use land compatibility levels and the noise element identifies the project site as clearly unacceptable,” he added. “Not marginally for multi-family use. Those numbers come from the city’s own duty.”
Susan Bolan, a resident of Prospect Avenue that lies north of the proposed project, also shared her concerns.
“To my mind, this is the first project being built under the North Glendale Community Plan,” she said. “We want to make sure we do this right.”
“I’m trying to see the big picture,” said Mayor Dave Weaver who supports the project. “No offense, folks, but you folks who live up north and say it’s going to impact you. I say ‘How?’”
Council will further revisit the matter Nov. 5.