Overriding a recommendation from the Planning Commission, the City Council by a 4-1 vote has authorized construction of six restaurants, a bank and numerous stores in a $30-million project at the northwest corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Garvey Avenue.
Tindo Valley Associates of Alhambra plans to demolish a gas station and taco stand on the two-acre site and construct a four-level building, including a subterranean parking garage. Representatives of the developer said the building will become the headquarters of Omni Bank. Although no leases have been signed, the project's leasing agent has drawn up a list of potential tenants that include specialty stores and such well-known restaurant chains as Flakey Jake's and Velvet Turtle.
The council approved the project despite complaints from residents in an adjoining area of Alhambra that it would attract too many cars and people, increasing the severe traffic congestion at Garvey and Atlantic, and would intrude on the privacy of homes by creating noise and glare.
Douglas Ring, attorney for Tindo Valley Associates, said it is a high-quality development that would be the envy of most cities. He said it would increase sales tax revenue for Monterey Park and noted that the city is facing strong business competition from a new regional mall in Montebello and a vigorous redevelopment program in Alhambra.
Improved Traffic Seen
William Law, a traffic consultant hired by the city to analyze the project, said 6,500 cars would go in and out of the site each day but that half that number already pass the intersection. He said that adding a second left-turn lane for eastbound traffic on Garvey and widening and restriping Atlantic would more than offset the added cars and, in fact, would improve traffic flow.
Law recommended that the city require the developer to add 70 parking spaces to the 406 proposed. Ring said the only way to provide 70 more spaces would be to add another underground level of parking, which is financially unfeasible. He said the developer could provide valet parking so that more cars could be parked in allotted space during the busiest periods. The council agreed to accept valet parking if the developer can prove to the city engineer that this can provide the equivalent of 70 parking spaces.
The developer originally proposed a 59-unit commercial project, including 10 restaurants. The council reduced the number of restaurants to six but did not change the amount of floor space designated for restaurant use.
Councilman David Almada dissented in the vote approving the project. The Planning Commission, by a 3-2, vote had recommended against it. Almada and the commission majority voiced concerns about parking and traffic congestion.