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YMCA plans shelved due to ‘technical’ issue, urgent care center in crowded shopping plaza approved

The city Planning Commission last week postponed discussing an update on YMCA of the Foothills’ $7-million renovation plan for the Crescenta-Cañada facility, citing a “technical question” about the document which required correction before a public hearing could be held.

“The city attorney has advised us to pull this matter from the agenda,” Commission Chair Rick Gunter told a small group of residents gathered for a Jan. 10 regular meeting held at Lanterman Auditorium. “There were some technical questions that came up that need attention. So we won’t be hearing the item tonight.”

Gunter said the public hearing — regarding a revised conditional use permit, excess height and setback variances and a permit allowing removal of up to 48 protected trees to accommodate construction — would be rescheduled for a future date not yet specified.

Planning staff later indicated the issue centered on an entitlement for a lot line adjustment between the YMCA campus and a neighboring property owner at 2023 Rancho Cañada Road.


Neighbors of the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA in attendance left after Gunter’s announcement. They confirmed to the Valley Sun they’d sought legal representation to help address their concerns to YMCA officials and legal counsel but declined further comment.

Planning commissioners continued working on other agenda items, considering a conditional use permit for an urgent care facility at 475 Foothill Blvd., in between the Starbucks and Han’s Beauty Store.

A proposal to occupy 5,283 square feet out of a 7,833-square-foot storefront in the shopping center was submitted by Exer Holding Co., LLC, an El Segundo-based company that offers clinical and diagnostic urgent care services for people with serious, non-life-threatening injuries or illnesses.

The business will operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week, staff reports indicate. Commissioners questioned whether the proposed use might increase traffic in an already crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot, especially if patients are transported by ambulance.


“I’m concerned about the potential congestion at that parking lot, because that parking lot stinks,” said Commissioner Mike Hazen. “With an ambulance, it would really stink.”

Scott Whitney, vice president of Real Estate and Development for Exer Urgent Care, explained although the business was capable of handling about 80% of hospital emergency room cases, only about 2% of the 50 to 60 patients seen per day would require transport.

In those cases, Whitney continued, patients could be taken to waiting ambulances in an 11-spot parking lot on the northwest corner of the shopping center.

“We can take them out the back to that location there, which would be least disruptive,” he said.

Commissioners approved a conditional use permit 4-0 (Commissioner Arun Jain was absent) on the condition ambulances use only the northwest parking lot.

In other business, commissioners approved a change in the city’s municipal code that would change the term expiration of members of the La Cañada Flintridge Design Commission from even- to odd-numbered years, in accordance with a 2018 City Council resolution.

Twitter: @SaraCardine