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City Council Takes a Wise Approach to Housing

First published in the Sept. 22 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

There’s an old prayer that goes, “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” The City Council must have prayed long and hard because Monday night [Sept. 12] they again recognized there are things they cannot change, even under a state mandate to foolishly do so. They know we’re a one main street, fully built-out town in a valley with the highest fire danger rating in the state of California, red, on a network of earthquake faults.
They showed the courage to stand up again to the Planning Commission that has failed to face these realities, and to their Planning Department who went along with that failure, again. Council members courageously stuck to their guns saying this small town saw the need for multi-income-level-growth in housing decades ago, zoned our DVSP Island area as the only doable place to build it, and changed its zoning to accommodate that all those years ago. They refused to be bullied into raising the height along Foothill to 35 feet, or raising the zoning above what it will take to follow the rules and comply just to come in with about 50% more units than even the absurd state mandate requires. They wisely saw there is no prize for overshooting the mark here.
The five of them had the wisdom to know that while our city government does not control the prices of Foothill real estate, up-zoning for three-story, high-density 35-foot-tall buildings lining our only main street would bring it to a total standstill, forcing traffic into and through the small over-parked side streets, and would be dangerous and destructive for all of us. So they held their ground, followed the rules and met the 612 RHNA demand plus the required buffer-number of units. [Council member] Terry Walker reassured us all they know this is just the beginning of a long process to grow both reasonably and safely.
Again, they did their duty correctly and we all owe them a huge vote of thanks.

Lauren Oakes
La Cañada Flintridge

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