Local development loose ends

There are a few loose ends locally that I’d like to bring readers up to speed on.
The unfinished multifamily project in the 3100 block of Montrose Ave. that I reported on a couple months ago appears to have turned a corner. The residents were upset because the half-built project appeared abandoned, leaving construction trash, weeds, and construction scaffolding as an eyesore and security risk. Well, it appears the bank has taken the property back, and there is a 100% improvement! The scaffolding’s gone, the trash and weeds have been taken care of, and a professional security guard is on site.
Then there’s that “Public Nuisance Citation” issue for the 2700 block of Frances Avenue which was covered in the News-Press last week. This is just the latest turn in a long twisting development misadventure. Here’s the instant replay: A cute little stone house gets torn down illegally, and the newly vacant lot gets split in half. The two lots (east and west) are sold to two different developers, who I’ll call Mr. East and Mr. West.
Neither of them maintains their lots, which accumulate junk and weeds quickly. Mr. West gets serious, cleans up his lot, splits it in half yet again, and moves plans forward to build two houses.
Meantime Mr. East gets cited by the County for letting his lot deteriorate even further, and according to the News-Press article, will be fined for his negligence. But the article is murky about Mr. East and Mr. West and who owns which property. The paper, and even the neighbors, don’t seem to understand who owns what, what’s getting split, who’s getting fined, who’s on first and what’s on second! And at every twist and turn, the community cringes a little more!
Next up is the continuing saga of neighbors versus the behemoth going up at Panorama and Briggs. This is the property that soon after being purchased was clear cut – stripped of every blade of grass. Structural steel began reaching for the sky, as though the Twin Towers were being recreated there! The neighborhood went ballistic, and has remained so since.
Their trajectory brought them to the April meeting of the CV Town Council, where several neighbors claimed the system had been circumvented. Not so, replied the council. They had checked with the County, and the structure, as ridiculously massive as it appears, is completely to code, but just to make sure, we’ll check again.
“How can this happen?” cried the neighbors.
I agree! How can this happen? Well, here’s the story I heard: Fifteen years ago the CV Town Council joined with Duarte and Altadena to craft an anti-mansionization ordinance. When the three communities brought the matter before the County for a final vote, one of our prominent local developers fired a sneak torpedo at CV’s ordinance. It sank, and Duarte and Altadena’s sailed through. Since then, CV has been the “wild west”, one of the last communities without guidelines on mansionization.
I think both the CV Town Council and the neighbors agree that it would be nice to not have this happen again. So, will the Town Council try to raise the wreckage of the sunken ordinance? That remains to be seen, but it won’t happen without a major effort by residents of the County portion of our fair valley. This is “participatory local government” and we all have to be willing to put some time in, and to stay in contact with the Town Council to keep them on task.
If you’re interested in learning more about local development, you’ve got two opportunities next week. Monday and Wednesday, April 26 and 28 at 7 p.m. at Clark Magnet High is a presentation on the North Glendale Community Plan, a blue print for the future of development in the Glendale portion of CV. Also on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Sheriff Station will be a discussion on the Foothill Community Standards District, the County’s blueprint for development along Foothill Boulevard..