Proposed Developments Discussed at CVCA Meeting

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A study to determine whether a sound wall can be constructed along the 210 freeway in La Crescenta could be in the works, according to city officials.

Fred Zohrehvand of Glendale’s Community Development Dept. said that a sound wall project “has been on our radar for many years” for the area of the 210 freeway between Pennsylvania and Lowell avenues. But before construction can be considered, a Noise Barrier/Scope Report (NBSSR) must be completed, which would assess the feasibility and impacts of a barrier.

A sound wall at that location would benefit future residents of a proposed townhouse development that would sit alongside the 210 freeway. Mark and Matt Gangi from Gangi Development presented a revised proposal for the townhouse development at 4201 Pennsylvania Ave. at the Crescenta Valley Community Association’s Thursday night meeting.

A previous proposal for a 30-unit townhouse project at that location was denied, but the Gangis’ revised proposal was approved by the Glendale Design Review Board in February.

Architect Mark Gangi described the townhouse-style project as “something that was kind of between the single family houses that predominate the entire area and some of these large apartment blocks.”

The new proposal would have no more than three units in any one building and “have an emphasis on open space, both shared and private and honor the eclectic, rural style that’s prominent here in the Crescenta Highlands.”

“We reached out to the community for feedback and began working on a design,” said Matt Gangi. “The structures that we proposed are designed to the North Glendale Community Plan, Greener Glendale Plan, and the Safe and Healthy Streets Plan and other local and regional initiatives. We cut an additional two units after going through design review and working with the planning department.”

As for the possibility of a sound wall, Matt Gangi said that he had spoken with city and county officials, who were receptive to the idea of a sound wall.

According to Zohrehvand, the funding for a sound wall study is in place.

“Funding for this study has been secured by the city through an L.A. County Measure R grant and we are in process to coordinate our NBSSR study with L.A. County Dept. of Transportation. Pending the results of the NBSSR, the sound walls projects may start in two to three years,” Zohrehvand said.

Three sound wall segments were completed in La Cañada last year primarily using Measure R funds. The city of Long Beach erected the country’s first mulch wall in 2013, a 600-foot long and 12-foot high barrier between the city’s Hudson Park and State Route 103. A mulch wall, consisting of two fences filled with organic material, could provide a more sustainable and cost effective solution, said Matt Gangi.

Mark Gangi said that community backing of a sound wall would go a long way toward securing a sound barrier for residents living near the freeway.

“Although people will say, ‘That’s not going to happen for decades,’ what we have seen happen is the communities where there was a public effort to get a sound wall got them,” Gangi said. “If you’re the county, who are you going to listen to? The people who are quiet and seem happy or the people who are asking for something?”

Among the other land use topics discussed Thursday night was the ongoing development plans for the Verdugo Hills Golf Course.

Karen Zimmerman and Liliana Sanchez from the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council visited the CVCA to provide updates on the latest development proposal, a 221-unit development.

Sections of the draft EIR are being recirculated for the latest proposal from architect Janek Dombrowa, who recently presented his alternative to the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. The alternative features “200 less bedrooms” than the original 229 unit proposal, as well as a revised traffic section and amenities such as a bike path and community theater.

Sections to be recirculated in the Environmental Impact Report include a greenhouse gas analysis, impacts to traffic and to the Tuna Canyon Detention Center Historic Monument, slated to become a traveling exhibit in 2016.

Zimmerman said that traffic was one of the chief concerns of both the neighborhood council and the residents, with “potentially 890 or more additional cars” that would be clogging roadways as a result of the development.

A second equestrian-oriented alternative is also being considered.

A 45-day comment period will commence upon the release of the recirculated EIR.