The La Cañada Flintridge City Council recently discussed zoning updates on the housing element, introduced the new City Manager and heard public safety updates on crime and fire prevention.
PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATE
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s acting Assistant Fire Chief Pat Sprengel presented some statistics from the month of April.
One fire was reported last month, a vehicle fire on the freeway with a total property loss of about $50,000, one hazardous condition reported of “wires down” and 11 traffic accidents, he told Council.
As for safety reminders for the month of May, annual brush inspections are in process in LCF and the surrounding cities. Fire Station 19 has completed about 33% of its oversight area and Fire Station 82 is about 36% completed. Sprengel urged residents to review the “Ready, Set, Go” wildfire action plan, which provides tips on maintaining proper brush clearance, “hardening” homes and preparing to evacuate if necessary.
“Just be prepared this year, we have gotten a lot of rain over the rainy season which adds to a lot of fuel throughout the city of LCF and the surrounding areas, so just be prepared this year,” said Sprengel.
To view the Ready, Set, Go plan, visit the website lafd.org/ready-set-go.
Mayor Keith Eich said he was impressed with the 30% of fire inspections done so far.
“It’s a large step and it’s a large ask, but through the next month and a half we’ll be working on completions in the area,” said Sprengel.
Eich asked if there are any common issues that residents should look out for or prepare for before their brush inspections.
“Just make sure that you are cutting out hardwood, that’s usually our biggest issue. We do like to see numbers in the front of homes for addresses so that it is easy to recognize and find. Another big one is as simple as tree litter or litter in the rain gutters and over the roofs,” said Sprengel. “If you can get ahead of the curve and help us out there, it will go a long way.”
California Highway Patrol Captain Derek Moulton presented the Council with a few traffic statistics from the month of April.
The CHP reported 19 traffic crashes: six injury traffic collisions, and of those six, two of them involved DUI drivers. There were also 13 property damage only crashes, and four of those involved hit and runs. Overall, there was a month on month decrease of crashes by 38% from March.
There was a special enforcement detail on the 210 freeway by the CHP on May 16. It focused on commercial vehicle enforcement. Officers are specifically instructed to address speeding vehicles, vehicles traveling in the wrong lane and vehicles stopped on the right shoulder for unnecessary reasons. All these contribute to traffic complaints and car accidents on the freeway.
Moulton also mentioned that the Altadena CHP station offers free car seat checks to ensure that seats are properly installed in the vehicle every Wednesday, by appointment only. For more information, visit chp.ca.gov/Programs-Services/Programs/Child-Safety-Seats.
Captain Robert Hahnlein, from the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, also presented crime statistics and trends in LCF.
There was one robbery, two aggravated assaults (both road rage incidents) and one residential burglary for the month of April. There were 26 larceny-thefts in April compared to nine in March.
There were eight catalytic converter thefts, two thefts from T.J. Maxx and three wallet thefts — two from HomeGoods and one from Target. All wallets were taken from purses.
There were 45 hits on the flock system in April, which is an increase from 26 in March.
There was a decrease in arrests, to 21 in April from 23 in March. Traffic collisions increased to 18 in April from nine in March. Traffic citations increased to 187 in April from 176 in March.
“I am really happy to see the residential burglaries continue to be down, thank you to all the suppression you are doing there,” said Eich, who added that he was shocked to see the larceny theft go up.
UPDATE ON CITY MANAGER
Along with the introduction to the new City Manager, Daniel Jordan, City Attorney Adrian Guerra also shared some updates to the position that was approved by the City Council.
The city manager’s annual salary will be $230,004, the contract term is slated for three years. There will be a vehicle allowance of $500 per month to equal $6,000 for the year. The city will provide a cellphone for business use. His sick leave accrual is eight hours a month.
Jordan will have health, dental and vison insurance, subject to the same terms and conditions as provided to all executive employees. He will have 6 months’ severance if terminated without cause.
ZONING CODE UPDATE
In July 2022, the City Council approved a contract with CityPlace Planning Inc. for professional services associated with the Zoning Code Update, which would include rezoning to implement the Housing Element, according to the City Council agenda.
The latest draft of the city’s Housing Element was submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development in October 2021. On Dec. 6, 2022, the city received notification from HCD that the adopted second version of the Housing Element required rezoning that had not yet been completed; however, no additional changes to the Housing Element were required.
“So, it will include changes to some of our existing zones and [Downtown Village Specific Plan] and some changes to mapping to identify those sites that are going to have increased zoning. It also includes a consultant to make sure all the environmental needs are taken care of under state law,” said Director of Community Development Susan Koleda, who introduced the item.
Some of the zoning code updates that the city had anticipated being done by June 30 will not occur.
“The revised scope of work within [2022-2023] totals $38,400. However, with staff and CPP focusing on rezoning associated with Housing Element
implementation, work within the
original scope, which includes additional revisions to Zoning Code chapters
and multiple Planning Commission and City Council hearings, will not be completed. As such… there will be no increase in the cost of the agreement. Deferred scope items will be included in the FY 2023-24 Annual Budget,” read the agenda.
“So, we are taking those funds and applying it to this new scope of work,” said Koleda.
Rezoning will take approximately six weeks to complete in this fiscal year, Koleda added, and will be complete, hopefully in October of this year.
“It is fair to say that they’ve been working with our housing element in the past. They are working on rezoning now and have been actively working on it. This is just to make sure that we’ve earmarked the right amount of money this year. There will be another budget item next year to continue that work,” said Eich.
The city could have waited until next year to budget for the rezoning, but time is of the essence, Koleda noted. The City Council approved the amendment with a unanimous vote.
First published in the May 25 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.