HomeCity Government NewsCity Approves Hiring of Consultant to Help With Housing Element

City Approves Hiring of Consultant to Help With Housing Element

First published in the May 5 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

One month after its big meeting tackling the sixth cycle of the city’s housing element, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council approved an amendment this week that allows the hiring of another consulting firm, in addition to one that was already hired, to help city staff develop a document that can be accepted by the state in time for an Oct. 15 deadline.
The council approved the motion, 4-0, Tuesday to amend its agreement with CityPlace Planning Inc. and incorporate a third party — Michael Baker International — that would evaluate development standards, zoning code, densities and the economic feasibility of developing under those circumstances.
Councilman Jonathan Curtis abstained from voting because he was not present for the discussion regarding the housing element.
Mayor Pro Tem Keith Eich requested the agenda item be pulled from the consent calendar for discussion to be more transparent with the community after a few residents present at the meeting asked that the city update stakeholders on the housing element.
Like many other municipalities throughout the state, LCF is in the process of updating its housing element that shows it can accommodate the state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA, which projects how many dwelling units are needed in the state and tells cities how many they should be ready to provide.
The Southern California Association of Governments tasked La Cañada Flintridge with showing that it can allow for the development of 612 residential units — though that does not necessarily mean they would be built.
City staff had submitted a draft of the housing element, along with a list of potential development sites to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD, and was told that LCF’s existing standards constrain development and that they would need to show evidence that housing is possible on the sites listed.
A subcommittee consisting of members of the City Council and Planning Commission was created to help find a consultant and guide the firm in developing acceptable requirements that would appease the community.
Michael Baker International will be working with LCF for approximately four to five months. Its services will cost the city $56,610.
When the consultant finishes its analysis of the city’s development standards and needs, it will put together some prototypes for city staff to present to the council and public.
Though the subcommittee has not determined how the public will provide input on the process, Susan Koleda, the city’s director of community development, assured the council and community members that “there will be numerous opportunities for public involvement.”
“I’m expecting that we will again see a chart soon that hopefully outlines all of this and helps provide the public [with] really key dates for providing input on the Michael Baker stuff, on the development standards and obviously when the housing element gets published for public review,” Eich said.
When Eich asked Koleda whether she felt “comfortable” being able to meet the Oct. 15 deadline, Koleda said she was confident that city staff would have the housing element done by then, but expressed some concern over other matters, such as zoning.
“There is a certain amount of public involvement in public hearings that have to go through the adoption of the ordinance for the zoning code,” she said. “That, I have very little control over once we get it to the Planning Commission.”
To keep residents in the loop, Mayor Terry Walker asked LCF staff to provide updates on the process at future City Council meetings leading up to the Oct. 15 deadline.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]