Council OKs changes to zoning ordinance

After hearing from some residents who remain opposed to the idea, the City Council on Tuesday moved ahead with an updated zoning ordinance that will allow for 343 affordable housing units.

State law requires every city in California to comply with laws that mandate specified zoning for low-to-moderate income housing. La Cañada Flintridge is required to zone for affordable housing that comprises three different types: mixed use, multiple family residence (R-3), and residential planned development zones.

Three areas will be designated to allow for mixed use: the area where Foothill Car Wash Lube & Oil is located, the Big Lots! shopping center area between Ocean View Boulevard and Rockland Place, and the Ross Dress for Less shopping center area that lies between Castle Road and the Ross store.

Under the new changes, the area east of Angeles Crest Highway in the Downtown Village Specific Plan, originally zoned to allow for senior housing, will now allow for housing that accommodates all ages.

The proposed zoning change to R3 includes the land where Joanne’s Fabrics sits, the lot behind the Little Gym of La Cañada, and a piece of property located at 4505 Castle Lane.

The area on the south side of Foothill Boulevard of Curran Street and Indiana Street including Magpie’s is also being rezoned R3. This designation was of concern to residents who say it is too close to La Cañada Elementary School and Memorial Park. It is also, according to resident Marjorie Cates, too small an area to accommodate multiple family residences and she and her neighbors are wary that a developer might strong-arm people into selling their properties.

“On behalf of my neighbors of Curran Street, we’re scared,” Cates told the City Council during the public hearing. “The people on Curran are already scared they will have to sell. Is there any way of discouraging a local developer?”

Danette Erickson, acting treasurer for the Crescenta Valley Town Council in neighboring La Crescenta, stood up to propose that since La Cañada Flintridge has a need for low-income housing, maybe the city should consider annexing some of La Crescenta to accomplish that goal.

“We already share [the Los Angeles County Fire Department], we share the same police force, why not share low-income housing?” she said.

City officials attempted to calm residents, emphasizing that there are no development plans on the horizon and stressing the unlikelihood that they will be developed soon, if at all.

“If residential property owners here are not willing to sell, it won't happen,” said Robert Stanley, director of community development.

Councilman Donald Voss echoed those thoughts. “These rezoning plans to adhere to the state law,” he said, “make the use of the land for shelters and low-income housing possible, but ultimately not probable.”


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