Thursday, October 25, 2018

Community Planning Oktoberfest Continues! Oi! Oi! Oi!

It has been another Award Winning Community Planning week!  You read that right, folks...Award Winning!!!  This is truly no under statement...we really really won an award!!

Extra, Extra, ... Read all about it:

Photo Courtesy of the California Preservation Foundation
The Monrovia Depot Rehabilitation project won a prestigious California Preservation Foundation Award on October 19, 2018, as it was an exemplary example of rehabilitation.  In other words it was and EE project (Exemplary Example).

The Monrovia Depot Rehabilitation project focused on restoration and adaptive reuse of the 1926 Santa Fe Depot as a future restaurant.  The Depot sits in the center of the City of Monrovia's Station Square Transit Village directly adjacent to the Metro Gold Line light rail platform. 

To read more about this important historical resource and landmark, click here

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Do you speak Plannerese?

Put down that Pumpkin Spice Latte…
Hold your thoughts on your Halloween costume…
We're continuing our celebration of what really makes October special – 


[pause for the rapturous applause to die down]

As you know loyal reader, it’s that special time of year when the winds start to gust and everyone starts thinking about urban planning. 

Well, maybe it's just us, but we hope we've heightened your awareness of all the planning that's been going on around Monrovia for the past half a century.  You're thinking about urban planning, right? Is that just us?

Like most professions, Planning has its own jargon that we affectionately refer to as Plannerese.  Not just words, but also a whole cadre of acronyms to boot!

But you know us, we like to help. an early trick or treat, we're including a special word search filled with all sorts of helpful planning lingo to add to your vocabulary.  

Can't read that small print?  Well, neither can we, so click here to download your very own copy of the word search.  Make copies, they're excellent pumpkin stuffers!

Good luck and remember – sometimes setbacks are a good thing!

Oh, don't worry we haven't included the acronym from hell.

Monrovia Planning Fun Fact: 
The City of Monrovia adopted its first specific plan in 1975.  Titled, "A Plan for the Improvement of the Downtown Area", it laid the groundwork for what has become Old Town Monrovia.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Community Planning Month - Housing Builds Community

More on Community Planning Month  
We Know You have been Waiting for It!

Last week the Over the Counter Blog received an uncharted level of viewing traffic. We spent several days scratching our heads and wondering what caused this tremendous level of interest. Then it dawned on us...!  Last week we shared that October is National Community Planning Month!!

We also promised you more blog posts on this fine topic! It is now obvious that folks, just like you, have been checking in for updates. So now that we have kept you in suspense for a week, we are ready to roll out this year’s planning theme!  

Drum Roll Please…
I can’t hear you…??
You can use your keyboard keys to drum.  The “d” and “k” keys work well for that, but just make sure your wrists don’t hit the space bar…that will get you off beat. Just a small helpful hint. :) back on topic! This year’s theme is:

Housing as Community Infrastructure!!!

We know you've heard of communities building housing, but have you heard of housing building communities? “Housing as Community Infrastructure” focuses on ensuring that all residents have safe and affordable housing options to advance economic and social equity goals. 

Did you know that Monrovia embraces this theme every single day? This month, Monrovia has the opportunity to celebrate the City’s inclusive growth policies that give residents a genuine stake in housing and development, as well as our vision to help new residents afford the ability to live and contribute to our amazing City.

Here are a few fine examples on how we do this:

So much amazing work has been completed over the last four years to improve Monrovia’s housing stock. Just within the last two years, the City has renewed its development standards to ensure the provision of new multifamily housing, neighborhood compatibility, and historic preservation.  

On the new multifamily housing front, we can boast that the City has approved two large housing developments; Avalon Bay Monrovia Specific Plan and Station Square South Specific Plan.  Together, these developments will provide 450 new residential units. And…not only will these projects provide quality housing, each one will have unique features that make them true Monrovian ventures to prove that Monrovia goes above and beyond!   

 Station Square South Specific Plan by The Richman Group of California

In addition to the 296 residential units that will be provided by Station Square South Specific Plan, the project will transform the terminus of Peck Road (which is currently a very VERY boring dead-end street on the south side of the railway) into a new “kiss and drop” for Metro Gold Line access.   

You read right…not only will you soon be able to access the Gold Line from the south side of the station, but you will be able to “kiss and drop” whomever you like while doing so. 

The new Gold Line access point is a critical design feature that lends to the success of the project. This is because placing a dense housing development near a transportation mode (i.e. Metro Station) yields less reliance on vehicles, which in turn yields cleaner air! This concept also promotes walkability, which is just all around healthy!! (4 out of 5 doctor's agree!) In summary, good planning and love will be in the air upon completion of this project!

 Avalon Monrovia Specific Plan by AvalonBay Communities

The Avalon Monrovia Specific Plan project is located just south of Old Town Monrovia, on Myrtle Avenue between Chestnut and Walnut, and will provide 154 new residential units, including 13 affordable units for very low income households.  This affordable housing component further echoes Monrovia’s desire to keep housing costs down.  As we all know, affordable housing is a hot topic for all middle class Californians. 

If this is the first time you are reading about these projects, you will want to check out Monrovia's Development Spotlight Page for more information! Just Click Here: Monrovia's Development Spotlight Page.

So now that you know another reason why your dedicated Monrovia Planners find the month of October so special! Continue to raise your glasses with us!!  This year’s theme was meant for all of us, because Monrovia embraces housing as community infrastructure every single day!! 

Please stay tuned for next week’s special focus on Historic Preservation!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Zoning, you don't look a day over 50...

It's that time of year again...
When leaves on trees turn color and fall to the ground,
When you start thinking about what you will be for Halloween, 
When that one coffee on every commercial street corner
introduces the new and improved
pumpkin spice latte,

And Most Importantly

(wait for it...wait for it...)

When we all celebrate

National Community Planning Month!!!

Yes, folks…October means planning is in the air!... But not any old type of planning…not party planning, not wedding planning, but Monrovia land use planning, which truly is one of a kind!

Could National Community Planning Month be the real reason we celebrate Oktoberfest?

Well, that may be a little bit far-fetched (we can dream, can’t we?)

But there are many reasons why National Community Planning Month is so special and deserves an entire month of celebration.

OK, so we're Planners and it is our chosen profession and we believe in the power of planning, but...

National Community Planning Month is celebrated each October as a way to highlight the role of planners, both professional and citizen planners, and the importance of good planning in communities across the nation. This is because city planning is essential for communities to prosper and maintain balance and cohesiveness.  Each year, the American Planning Association identifies a theme to help communities across the nation highlight an aspect of planning.  More on that later...

So to recognize the role community planning has played in building the Monrovia that we all know and love, the Monrovia City Council also proclaimed October as Community Planning Month in Monrovia.  Thanks Council!  With all seriousness, we appreciate the affirmation!

So you ask, how does this relate to planning Monrovia?

Well, Monrovia has a lot to write home about!  So much so that we’re going to take the whole month to tell you all about it. 

We hope that by the time Halloween rolls around, you will know a little bit more about Planning, what your community Planners do and how Planning has helped shaped Monrovia.  As always, our aim is to inform, educate and hopefully, even make you chuckle here and there with our corny asides.

So let's kick things off with this fun fact:
Monrovia adopted its first zoning ordinance 95 years ago. 

That's amazing!  It seems like only yesterday...but on that dark and warm evening of September 17, 1923, the Monrovia Board of Trustees adopted Ordinance No. 740 which established five zoning districts in the City and the types of uses that would be allowed.

OK, so we don't really know what the weather was like, but Monrovia...with no air conditioning...chances are it was hot.

Well, it looks like its just about that time...Oh?  This year's theme?  Stay tuned...In the meantime, check out our website to learn more about Planning in Monrovia.