Monday, December 17, 2012

Planning Commission Update - December 2012

The Planning Commission held their final meeting of 2012 on a rainy Wednesday, December 12th.  On the agenda were three public hearing items:

311 West Foothill Boulevard – Conditional Use Permit to allow live entertainment in the restaurant at the Aztec Hotel.  Last month, the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit request to allow alcoholic beverages to be served at the new restaurant that will soon be opening in the Aztec Hotel.  A conditional use permit was also requested for entertainment.  The Commission opened the public hearing on the request at the November meeting.  After taking comments from the public and applicant, the Commission gave direction to Staff to bring back conditions of approval to allow very limited entertainment.  The Commission approved entertainment on Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM and one weekend a month: Friday and Saturday until 11 PM.

606 East Huntington Drive – Conditional Use Permit to allow an educational facility in an existing building.  Azusa Pacific University has been pursuing a location for their growing nursing program and found a site in the East Huntington Drive High Tech Corridor that suits their current and future needs.  The Commissioners all agreed that this is a great use for the site and unanimously approved the CUP.  Welcome to Monrovia, APU!

Ordinance No. 2013-01 – Amendment of the City’s regulations for massage businesses.  Over the past few years, the state legislature adopted a couple of pieces of legislation that significantly restricts local governments ability to regulate businesses that offer massage services.  The proposed ordinance will bring the City into compliance with these new regulations.  Staff is still finalizing these new provisions and requested that the item be continued until the January meeting, so more on this issue next month.

So as we close out another year, the Planning Commission and Planning Staff wish the entire community very happy holidays and we’re looking forward to a prosperous 2013!  And with that we are resolving never to use the term “tough economic times” again. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Planning Commission Update – November 2012

Typical for the end of the year, the number of applications slows down with the upcoming holidays.  Still, the two public hearings provided opportunity for thoughtful discussion among the Commissioners in their deliberations.  The Commission reviewed the following items at their November 14, 2012 meeting:

863 West Olive Avenue – Construct a new duplex behind an existing single family dwelling.  New development in the 700 – 900 block of West Olive Avenue can be a challenge.  While the zoning allows for multi-family development, many of the lots are only 48’ wide—that’s tough, but not impossible, as was proven by this applicant.  Over the past few months, City Staff worked with the applicant to develop a design and site plan that addressed both the requirements of the zoning (no variances) and will be an asset for the neighborhood.  The request was approved.

311 West Foothill Boulevard – Approve a conditional use permit for the service of alcoholic beverages and allow live entertainment in a new restaurant in the Aztec Hotel.  No matter what you think about the Aztec Hotel, you have to admit it is one of the most unique buildings in Monrovia and perhaps in Los Angeles County.  Personally, we love the building and are looking forward to its continued rehabilitation. 

A new Mexican restaurant is proposed in the location previously occupied by the Brass Elephant.  The Planning Commission concurred with the Staff recommendation to approve the conditional use permit (CUP) to allow the service of alcoholic beverages. 

The primary discussion focused on the live entertainment permit.  Based on previously voiced concerns of the neighborhood, the Development Review Committee (DRC) forwarded a recommendation of denial for entertainment at this time.  The Commission had a vigorous discussion on the merits and concerns of the requests.  In order to give the new owners the benefit of the doubt, the Commission continued the public hearing until the December meeting and directed Staff to bring back conditions of approval to allow entertainment on a very limited basis. 

Plan Monrovia - Additionally, Staff made a short presentation on the Plan Monrovia strategic planning process which is currently underway. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jack in the Box

Updated on November 14, 2012

Now open!  The new Jack in the Box located at the southeast corner of West Huntington Drive and South Magnolia Avenue is up and running.  Store hours for the 2,588 square foot restaurant are from 6:00 a.m. until midnight in the dining room, and 24 hours for the drive-thru.  This site was the former home of The Pottery Ranch store.    

The building is located on the west side of the property with the parking spaces located on the east side of the building.   Wrapping around the building on the north is the drive-thru, which continues south along the west side of the building.  Customers can access the site via Huntington Drive or Magnolia Avenue.  

Using an exposed neon design, the Jack in the Box sign is a flashback to the style typically found on businesses located along Historic Route 66.  The sign is mounted on a replica of the background used by the Pottery Ranch sign.

Updated on October 18, 2012

In just a few months, you'll be able to sit down with a Sourdough Jack at the southeast corner of West Huntington Drive and South Magnolia Avenue.  Construction at the site is moving along quickly and, according to their banner sign, this Jack in the Box location will be "Opening Soonish".     

Original Post on August 29, 2012

In September 2011, the Planning Commission approved a request from Jack in the Box Corporation for the development of a 2,588 square foot restaurant with a drive-thru and 24-hour operation at the southeast corner of West Huntington Drive and South Magnolia Avenue.   The site is the former home of The Pottery Ranch store.
Former Pottery Ranch Site
 The building will be situated on the west side of the property with the parking spaces located on the east side of the site.   The drive-thru will wrap around the building on the north and will continue south along the west side of the property.  It will be accessed via Huntington Drive from a new driveway that has been designed to be away from the intersection to lessen traffic impacts.   Another driveway will be located off of Magnolia Avenue for both ingress and egress from the site.  The proposed hours of operation will be from 6:00 am until midnight for the dining room and 24 hours for the drive-thru.

Site Plan

The building is a mixture of stucco and brick with metal awnings and a standing seam roof.  The Jack in the Box sign will be a flashback to the exposed neon style found among businesses that were located along the old Route 66.  The background of the sign will be mounted on the replica of the background of the Pottery Ranch sign.

Front Elevation

Pottery Ranch Sign

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adios Acapulco, Hello Chipotle!

Acapulco had a good run here in Monrovia.  Prior to Acapulco, it was Garcia’s Mexican restaurant.  Unfortunately, like many businesses, Acapulco restaurants have suffered during the recession and have closed many of their restaurants, including the one in Monrovia.  Luckily for Monrovia, the Huntington Oaks Shopping Center is a sought after location and Chipotle is the first of four new food outlets to sign on to occupy a new building which will replace the Acapulco building.  

Former Acapulco Restaurant

In October, the Planning Commission approved the new building and a conditional use permit for the service of alcoholic beverages.  The new building will have outdoor seating on a patio.  Construction should start at the beginning of the year.  As soon as we hear who will be occupying the other spaces, we’ll let you know.

Chipotle, Front Elevation

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Planning Commission Update - October 2012

The Planning Commission had a full agenda with five public hearings for their regularly scheduled meeting on October 10, 2012The Commission reviewed and approved the following applications:

1820 South Alta Vista Avenue – Two detached residential dwellings on a lot in the RM4000 (Residential Medium Density) Zone and was continued from the August meeting.  The applicant presented a revised proposal to address some of the concerns raised at the previous hearing. 

420 Monrovista Avenue - Greater Ambassador Church of God requested approval to construct an addition to their church. 

600 West Huntington Drive - Construction of a new multi-tenant building that will replace the former Acapulco restaurant building. 

600 West Huntington Drive – Conditional Use Permit to allow the service of alcoholic beverages at a new Chipotle restaurant that will occupy the new building approved in the previous request. 

Amendment of the Circulation Element of the Monrovia General Plan – As part of the construction of the new Gold Line Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Facility at 1600 South California Avenue, the City will be vacating two street segments: Duarte Road (North) and the west half of Shamrock Avenue between Evergreen Avenue and the rail right-of-way.  The Circulation Element was amended to reflect the street vacations.  Additionally, the Commission reviewed and recommended that the City Council adopt the environmental documents for the Gold Line.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Planning Commission Update - September 2012

The Planning Commission met for their regularly scheduled meeting on September 12, 2012.  There were five public hearings on the agenda which makes it the largest agenda so far this year.  Is this a sign that the economy is improving in the Valley?  We certainly hope so.  Frankly, aren’t we all tired of these “tough economic times”?

So here’s what happened:

1820 South Alta Vista Avenue – Construct two new dwelling units.  The public hearing was opened and continued until October 10 to allow the applicant to make some additional modifications to the plan.

935 East Huntington Drive – Construct a new automated carwash.  This property is best known as a Christmas tree lot, or perhaps you ate at Angelo’s Burgers (or Chuck Burgers before that).  And if you are really an old-timer, you remember it as a miniature golf course with the giant golf club wielding Paul Bunyan and trampolines and a giant slide…ah, what memories, what memories.  OK, back to business.

The first phase of this two phase development will be the construction of a new carwash—FAST5xpress—on the west side of property.  After a lengthy discussion about the proposal and Commissioner Owens’ reminiscence of his days working in a carwash, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the request. 
Site Plan - 935 E. Huntington Drive

248 Madeline Drive – Addition to an existing single family dwelling that requires variances from the Zoning Ordinance.  As one of the oldest communities in Los Angeles County (the 4th oldest to be exact), much of the City was subdivided before there was zoning and quite a few don’t meet today’s requirements as far as size and dimensions.  The Planning Commission doesn’t grant a whole lot of variances, which must be based on very strict findings related to the physical characteristics and constraints of a specific property.  But, if ever a lot faced those challenges, it’s this one.  Nothing personal, but this property stepped in the box with three strikes: it’s nonconforming in area, nonconforming in size and an irregular shape.  There is also a large, non-buildable easement that runs across the back half of the property.  The Planning Commission approved the variances that will allow the property owner to add a 687 square foot addition to their 956 square foot house.

416 West Scenic Drive – Addition to an existing single family dwelling that requires a variance from the Zoning Ordinance.  The existing house is on a cul-de-sac and has a shallow depth and is an irregular shape.  (Cul-de-sac means “bottom of the sack” in French which has nothing to do with the variance.)  The proposed addition includes a substantial remodel to the house.  The Planning Commission approved the variance. 

138 East Olive Avenue – Construct a new 18-unit residential condominium on the southwest corner of Olive and Ivy Avenues.  Here’s another lot that’s been vacant for several years and will soon be developed.  While the proposed project is not that complex, due to its location, zoning and other regulations, the proposal requires a considerable number of entitlements (Planner-speak for approvals) including a General Plan Amendment, Zoning Ordinance Amendment, Zone Change, Amendment to a Specific Plan, Tentative Tract Map, Conditional Use Permit and adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration under the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  Well, that’s a mouth full.  
Elevations - 138 E. Olive Avenue

Santa Teresita Construction Update

This 22-unit assisted living facility is the first structure to be completed in the “Rose Gardens at Santa Teresina” development. The development will take place in four phases and encompasses the 12 acre Santa Teresina Hospital site (2.7 acres in Monrovia and 9.3 acres in Duarte). Over time the grounds will be developed with skilled nursing facilities and assisted living and independent living units in a campus type setting for seniors.  For more information about the Rose Gardens visit Santa Teresina's website.

North-facing elevation

East side of the building

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

955 Wildrose Ave.

In October 2011, the Planning Commission approved a parcel map to subdivide the property at 955 Wildrose Avenue for the future development of two new houses.  The property is located on the north side of Wildrose Avenue, east of Mountain Avenue and west of Rose Lane.  The houses are currently in the framing stage.

The home nearest the flood control channel will measure 4,348 with an attached two-car garage and a detached guest house with one-car garage to the rear.  The house to the east of this one will measure 4,496 and will have an attached three car garage.  Both homes will be two-story.  Exterior materials include stucco, stone veneer, decorative shutters and trim surround around windows and doors.  Several mature trees, including oaks have been retained to be part of the planned landscaping.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

212-216 West Olive Avenue

Earlier this summer, City Council approved the development of a 4-unit, Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 212 and 216 West Olive Avenue.  What is unique about this proposal is that it will incorporate the existing 80 year-old house into the development. 

The three new two-story units incorporate several of the same design features as the existing house which will visually unify the development.  The new houses are between 1,807 to 1,878 square feet.  Several years ago, the City Council adopted the Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance which added incentives to incorporate older “character” homes into new developments.  The idea behind this was to allow new development to occur as the zoning permits, but by retaining some of the older homes; it would help new development blend into existing neighborhoods.  This is the first time these provisions of the Code have been implemented and we’re hopeful that it will look as good when constructed as it does on paper.  Stay tuned!

Existing 80 year-old house that will be retained

New construction

Site Plan