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Enough Deceiving About 600 Foothill

Have you heard the onslaught of negative press against the city’s Housing Element? The basic story being pedaled is this – La Cañada Flintridge has a history of discrimination and anti-growth policies which has resulted in no new housing being built in the city. Who is behind all of this recent lobbying? The 600 Foothill sponsors.
The city adopted a historic Housing Element last October that includes several sites throughout the city that can be built for more than 612 housing units. Property owners can now consider demolishing their existing businesses and buildings to build new housing.
The 600 Foothill folks don’t want to build what the new Housing Element encourages. Instead, they want to build a five-story, 80-unit apartment project and additional unsupervised hotel rooms along the narrow Woodleigh Lane residential street and adjacent to the ARCO gas station.
The new Housing Element allows them to build on this 1.29-acre property up to 19 housing units, and up to 26 units, if some are designated for lower income people. Also, because it is designated mixed use, the total size of the buildings could be much greater.
And the conclusion they want you to draw is that the city isn’t supporting new housing or development?
Ironically, the 600 Foothill project is led by the former mayor, councilmember and planning commissioner who participated and presided over 14 of those supposed anti-growth, anti-housing policy years. Now he and his partners are crusaders for affordable housing.
Their lobbying included gathering opposition form letters from sites selected for new housing. These opposition letters were sent to the state, newspapers and pro-developer advocacy groups to interfere with the city’s Housing Element approval process and promote their own project. In at least one case, that opposition was withdrawn when the property owner learned the full facts of inclusion on the list.
The 600 Foothill proponents would rather sue the city so they can build 80 housing units instead of 26. Their lawsuit will cost millions and the former church continues to sit there to decay.
Instead, the 600 Foothill sponsors should show some civic pride and work with the city and its neighbors to make new housing a reality on this property.

Scott Van Dellen
La Cañada Flintridge

First published in the September 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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