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City OKs Housing Element

By Mia Alva
Outlook Valley Sun

After more than two years of tinkering, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council is ready to send a housing element to the state that is likely to be approved.
The council unanimously approved a resolution with modifications stating that the document adopted and sent to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD, back in October was “in substantial compliance” and amended in February for clarification.
“It’s our position that, as a matter of fact, we had a compliant housing element on Oct. 4,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rick Gunter, who has worked closely with consultants and city staff on the lengthy document. “When [Mayor Keith Eich] and I and [LCF Director of Community Development Susan Koleda] met with HCD, all they asked us to do is please explain how you had it right. So, we made no changes to zoning, no changes to the [sites] inventory, no changes to density, no changes to anything. Even they agreed we had it right.
Koleda also made it clear to stakeholders that there was no change to the sites inventory from the Oct. 4 housing element, and the amendments only add clarifications, such as the reasoning behind including so many sites on Foothill Boulevard. City staff assured HCD that the corridor near the 210 and 2 freeways is the only area with access to public sewer and public transportation and that any potential air quality issues would be mitigated by upgrading building codes.
Other things that HCD brought up was the lack of undeveloped land in LCF.
“We have a 3% to 4% vacancy rate, which is actually very low, and it does not provide the same opportunities as some other jurisdictions,” said Koleda.
One of the public comments was from LCF resident, Linnea Lourenco; she mentioned how she wanted the council to submit the original resolution from October that had no problems with HCD.
“This document and all of its 642 pages adopted [on Oct. 4] substantially complies with state law,” said Lourenco, adding that it could have been more concise. “But that does not take away the fact that this is definitely a substantially compliant document, and it is compliant without any changes.”
Eich echoed the LCF resident, saying, “I think we can say that we believe we were substantially compliant on our October [resolution]. We said it then, we’re saying it now, [and] we’ll continue to say it. I don’t see it as inconsistent.”
The amended housing element will be submitted by the end of the week and the city will wait for a response from HCD within the next two months.


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