The saga of the proposed development at 600 Foothill Boulevard — a three-story, mixed-use structure that would include 47 active senior housing units, 12-non-serviced hotel units, 7,600 square feet of office uses and one level of underground parking containing 107 spaces — will resume at a special meeting today at 6 p.m.
The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission will continue its deliberation about the controversial project from a previous virtual meeting that lasted nearly five hours. The panel closed that June 24 session with requests for its staff and the applicants, Garret Weyand and Alexandra Hack of 600 Foothill Owner LP, to follow up on issues that included parking spaces and the mitigation declaration’s traffic study.
Local residents can listen to the virtual meeting on their phones or watch via Zoom, the city’s website or Charter Spectrum, but it is unknown if they will be able to speak to the panel. Much of the previous meeting was taken up by members of the public voicing their concerns or support for the project, but that portion of the public hearing was closed last month and whether to reopen it is up to the commissioners, according to LCF Director of Community Development Susan Koleda.
Though the City Council has held in-person meetings the past month, the municipality opted to go virtual with the Planning Commission’s special meeting because it “provides more opportunity for public participation than an in-person meeting” as well as transparency, Koleda added.
Prior development plans for the 1.29-acre parcel — the former site of the Christian Science church — fell through, but the city staff is endorsing the proposal from 600 Foothill Owner LP, a group that includes Councilman Jonathan Curtis, because it could help LCF accommodate the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. That process, which involves the California Department of Housing and Community Development, projects how many dwellings are needed in the state; La Cañada is expected to show that it can provide 612 units.
The staff urges the commission to move forward with recommending that the City Council approve an amendment to the General Plan that incorporates a new mixed-use 3 designation into the Downtown Village Specific Plan that would set a density range of 20-30 dwelling units per acre.
It further recommends that the panel approve a conditional use permit for the project, a tree removal permit and a vesting tentative tract map for subdividing the 77,310-square-foot mixed-use development into 49 parcels for condominium purposes on the Foothill property. The staff also recommends that the panel adopt a traffic study.
As of Wednesday afternoon, two public comments regarding today’s meeting had been posted on the city’s website. In one, LCF resident Nancy Antonoplis expressed concern about reduced parking requirements for the proposed development.
Another local, David Haxton, asked the staff and the panel about possible variances needed for storage space, tandem parking and building height.
A nonprofit group called Together La Cañada has closely followed the plans for 600 Foothill Blvd. and has said it is in favor of having senior housing as long as it is done within existing ordinances and zoning codes.
“We want appropriately sized townhomes envisioned in the City’s Downtown Village Specific Plan but are presented with oversized, profit-driven, all-or-nothing developments,” the group posted on its Facebook page on last month.
TLC is asking that the development be two stories rather than three and be a noncommercial living space that includes two- and three-bedroom units, not studios and one-bedrooms. It also asks that there be two pickleball courts, vehicle access from the boulevard for passenger loading, and two parking spots for each resident.