Voters OK Rezoning Measures : Council Prevails in Monterey Park

Times Staff Writer

Voters by a 4 to 1 margin Tuesday endorsed the City Council’s decision to rezone business areas and reduce height limits on commercial buildings.

The results were a triumph for three City Council members elected in April, 1986, who have led an effort to revitalize the city by raising building standards, rewriting zoning codes and pursuing aggressive redevelopment policies.

Councilman Barry Hatch said the decisive victory showed how effective the council’s leadership on development matters has been.


Councilman Chris Houseman said: “This is the perfect cap to the whole effort” to redesign the city.

“It really means that Monterey Park is going to be a more attractive community and with a healthier economy,” Houseman said.

Hatch, Houseman and Councilwoman Patricia Reichenberger had supported the four measures on Tuesday’s special election ballot.

Height Limits

Three of them set new land-use regulations, including a maximum height limit of two or three stories in most commercial areas, four stories on a section of Atlantic Boulevard, and seven stories in the Corporate Center near the Long Beach Freeway and on Atlantic Boulevard at the San Bernardino Freeway. The old height limits had been four to seven stories in most commercial zones.

All three measures passed by similar margins. The vote on Proposition A, involving the central business area, was 2,486 to 596. Proposition B, involving the mid-Atlantic Boulevard and South Garfield Avenue areas, was passed 2,465 to 609. Proposition C, which contained zone changes on South Atlantic Boulevard, was approved 2,460 to 618.

The fourth measure on the ballot was approved by an even wider margin. Proposition D, which limits the city’s authority to issue height-limit variances, was adopted by a vote of 2,555 to 522.


The measures were submitted to voters under a 1982 growth-limit initiative that requires ratification of zone changes involving more than an acre. The council has created new zoning designations that, in effect, rezone most of the city’s commercial property.

Passed in All Areas

The measures were approved in all 20 precincts in the city. The voter turnout was low--just 13.3% of the city’s 23,308 registered voters.

There was little visible campaigning on the measures and no organized opposition, although some developers and property owners protested the zone changes at hearings earlier this year before the City Council, arguing that their effect would be to devalue property by making development more difficult.

The commercial rezoning is part of an effort to rechannel growth, discouraging unattractive mini-malls while trying to promote large-scale projects.

The city’s plans include creation of a regional shopping complex with 1 million square feet on North Atlantic Boulevard; development of supermarkets, drugstores and auto dealerships on South Atlantic Boulevard, and revitalization of the Garvey-Garfield business area with the help of off-street parking and other public improvements.

Councilman Houseman said that with the plans and zoning regulations in place, the next step is for developers to come forward with projects that will remake the city.


Standards Pay Off

Houseman said the council’s enactment of new development standards for residential projects earlier this year has paid off, as evidenced by higher-quality architectural design in residential plans submitted to the city. He said Monterey Park may have seen the last of what he called “look-alike condos.”

Houseman said developers have been willing to meet higher residential standards, and he expressed confidence that they can also comply with the new commercial standards.

ELECTION RESULTSBallot Measures 20 of 20 precincts FINAL

A-- Shall an ordinance approving zoning map and zoning text amendments for property in the Central Community Design Plan Area be adopted?

Vote % Yes 2,486 80.6 No 596 19.4

B --Shall an ordinance approving general plan, zoning map and zoning text amendments for property in the Mid-Atlantic and South Garfield Community Design Plan Area be adopted?

Vote % Yes 2,465 80.2 No 609 19.8

C --Shall an ordinance approving general plan, zoning map and zoning text amendments for property in South Atlantic and Other Selected Areas Community Design Plan Area be adopted?

Vote % Yes 2,460 79.9 No 618 20.1

D --Shall an ordinance of the City of Monterey Park restricting height variances within the city be adopted?


Vote % Yes 2,555 83.1 No 522 16.9

Voter turnout 13.3%