HomeCity Government NewsCity Council to Review Final Draft of Housing Element

City Council to Review Final Draft of Housing Element

First published in the Sept. 8 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

With the deadline to submit a housing element rapidly approaching, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council will convene for a special meeting Monday, Sept. 12, to approve the final draft of the lengthy document and submit it to the state.
The Planning Commission unanimously endorsed the finalized housing element during a meeting Aug. 25 and approved a recommendation to the City Council, which is expected to move forward with the document and send it to the state for review — just in time before the Oct. 15 deadline.
La Cañada Flintridge staff has put in a considerable amount of effort, especially in building a list of sites that could be considered for development and accommodate the regional housing needs assessment, or RHNA, which projects how many dwelling units are needed in each municipality. The city had previously submitted a housing element that was rejected by the state and was advised to modify its sites inventory list and zoning to prove that development would be encouraged.
With proposed changes to mixed-use zoning that would allow 12-15 dwelling units per acre in certain areas and 25-30 in others, LCF would easily surpass the number of residential units it was assigned by the Southern California Association of Governments. The city is expected to show that it can allow for the development of 612 units — though that does not necessarily mean they would be built — and the most recent sites inventory list has a surplus of 347 possible dwelling units.
While an additional buffer in the number possible dwelling units will help the city in getting its housing element approved by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD, residents worry about the proposed zoning for parcels on the Foothill Boulevard. A large majority of the properties on the sites inventory list are along Foothill Boulevard and would alter the city’s original vision of having its main corridor serve as a pedestrian-friendly area with enjoyable public spaces and mixed-use commercial sites.
Stakeholders expressed concern about the possibility of multi-family housing on the city’s busiest street — specifically the controversial parcel of 600 Foothill Blvd. that was the former site of the Christian Science church — to the Planning Commission last week, and more reached out to the Outlook Valley Sun regarding the proposed religious institution zone overlay designation for St. George’s Episcopal Church on the corner of Foothill and Commonwealth Avenue. According to LCF staff, the property owner has expressed interest in redeveloping the site.
Both sites are listed to possibly provide moderate income housing with a density range of 25-30 units per acre, and several community members have spoken out against such proposals because they would bring more traffic to an already busy street.
The Planning Commission assured the community that while a housing element will be submitted, they will have the next year to establish development standards and zoning that is suitable for LCF.
“This is a long journey, but if we don’t take into consideration each one of these items, we’re going to end up with just something that’s going to potentially ruin our city, and I just won’t stand for that,” Commissioner Mike Hazen said at a meeting Aug. 25.
Commission chair Henry Oh acknowledged that multi-family housing is not “appropriate” for the city but felt that the final draft of the housing element was their best effort in complying with California’s housing demands while attempting to keep LCF’s allure and appeal intact.
“[Multi-family housing is] not what La Cañada is about,” Oh said. “But again, we’re under a state mandate. This is not punting to the state or blaming the state, but this is the card that we’re dealt and the penalties for refusing to comply or not abiding by their mandate is severe. It’s something we cannot afford.
“This is the best compromise and solution that we could come up with that complies with the state mandate,” he added.
The City Council will discuss the housing element during a special meeting at City Hall chambers on Monday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]