Thanks to the newcomers and regular members who joined us on Jan. 26 for the first Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting of 2017. We got caught up on several land use issues after our holiday hiatus.
We are nearly halfway through the six-month Exclusive Negotiating Agreement between Glendale and the Gangi group regarding the development of Rockhaven. While the negotiations go on behind closed doors, members of the public can help the efforts to get a public historic park with appropriate concessionaires and tenants in the old buildings. You can join and/or contribute to the Friends of Rockhaven (http://www.friendsofrockhaven.org/), attend their fundraiser Vintage Valentine on Feb. 11, and shop at a main potential concessionaire, Gelsinger’s Amber Road (http://www.gelsingersamberroad.com/).
The AT&T cell phone tower proposed for a heavily used portion of Dunsmore Park was denied by the Glendale Planning Commission back in July. The denial was appealed to the Glendale City Council. After several postponements it is now scheduled, at AT&T’s request, for the council meeting of April 18, after the election so that it will be heard by a full council. If you share our concern over the possible loss of this public space please ask council candidates their position on the issue and vote for those who support our community.
The Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council is still asking the city to reassemble the Planning Streamlining Community Task Force to evaluate its results. It was promised that the changes to fast track development would be looked at after a year to judge whether they had been effective. Some three years later there’s been no review and community members fear the city may be listening to developers at the expense of residents. This is another issue to discuss with Glendale City Council candidates.
CVCA Steering Committee member Sharon Raghavachary, who is a veteran of the Crescenta Valley Town Council and co-author of the Community Specific Plan for unincorporated La Crescenta/Montrose, has been watching the progress of the plans for 47 condos and 9,500 square feet of commercial space proposed for 3037-3045 Foothill Blvd. Although the developer has made several changes in response to concerns about privacy, traffic safety and adherence to the CSD, several issues remain. The design is generic, not indicative of the special nature of our valley. The current renderings are not specific enough to gauge compliance with the CSD. Of particular concern is the CVTC approval of the project based on its Land Use Committee’s recommendation. It is premature to give its blessing prior to the completion of actual plans. We will continue to monitor this project as it progresses through County Planning and advocate for a solution that serves the neighborhood.
As of this writing, at its Jan. 31 meeting, the Glendale City Council is scheduled to discuss ordinance changes in response to state laws AB 2299 and SB 1069 which became effective on Jan. 1.
These statutes deemed null and void any existing ordinance that fails to provide an approval process that includes only ministerial provisions for the approval of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and that includes any discretionary processes, provisions, or requirements for those units. While state law allows Glendale to establish local criteria for ministerial approval of ADUs, Glendale’s zoning code does not have such standards because ADUs were prohibited. In the absence of local criteria for ministerial approvals, minimal state standards are in effect now and do not reflect local characteristics applicable to all single-family residential development in Glendale such as setbacks, requirements that building modifications maintain consistent architectural character, or recognition of locally designated historic residences and districts. Additionally, state law requires the City to either approve or deny an ADU within 120 days. At this time, the City will only be able to deny an ADU permit if it does not comply with minimal state standards because we have not established local ones. You can check the city’s website for a video of the Tuesday meeting to see how the meeting went.
We had some preliminary discussion about the potential 27-unit condo project at 2817 Montrose Ave., the former site of the Unity Church of the Valley. I was wrong in my Oct. 6, 2016 column: the property is entirely in Glendale. I’ve learned not to trust the boundary lines on my tattered old Thomas Bros. Map and do more research! The neighboring homes adjacent to the northern edge of the property are in the unincorporated area and input from those residents during the process to determine what should be built is encouraged. A representative of the Olson Company has reached out to CVCA and the Montrose/Verdugo City/Sparr Heights Neighborhood Association in whose territory the project is located to discuss community desires.
The next Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting will be Feb. 23 starting at 7 p.m. in the community room at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. Park in the upper lot accessed from La Crescenta Avenue. We will have updates on these and other local issues.
Our meetings are free and open to the public.