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