Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cell Tower Inquiries by Ridgeside Residents

This week, City Staff has received several phone calls, emails and even some discussions over the counter regarding a flier concerning a proposed cellular tower near the Ridgeside reservoir. 

While it is true that the City was approached recently by wireless company consultants, the discussion of additional facilities is very preliminary.  A considerable amount of work will need to be done before the question even gets to the point of whether it should be considered. 

At this point, no commitments have been made.  No applications have been received.  

In 2011, the City completely overhauled the Monrovia Municipal Code to address changes in federal law and court cases where cities were on the losing end.  These actions continued to reduce the ability of local governments’ ability to regulate the location of new wireless facilities.  The City’s wireless regulations are very comprehensive and require a considerable amount of information and study as part of an application. 

Based on the City’s regulations the site at the reservoir as well as another site at Sawpit Dam are both classified as “discouraged locations” in the Zoning Ordinance.  The installation of any new wireless facilities require a noticed public hearing process

As we all rely more and more on wireless service, it is putting a greater strain on the existing infrastructure.   Currently, there are no cellular facilities in this area of Monrovia and this proposal is being considered to improve cellular communications for public safety as well as residential purposes.  Again, it is little more than an idea being floated.  If it does move forward, there will be a considerable amount of outreach, dialog and public input as part of the review process. 

Check out our website for more information about wireless communication. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Come to the Roundup

No, this doesn't have anything to do with livestock.  It's about protecting the environment from toxic trash.  The County of Los Angeles in cooperation with cities in the northern span of the San Gabriel Valley have regular events to collect what is collectively known as Household Hazardous Waste.  This is stuff that we all have in our homes like batteries, expired prescriptions and old paint.  These are things that we're not supposed to put in the trash because they contaminate the ground.  You don't, do you?

If you've never been to one of these events, they are incredible.  County staff do an amazing job in the coordination and operation.  You don't even have to get out of your car.  Pop the trunk and they do the rest.  Just like when we recycle, it always makes us feel good when we think of all those things that are not going to the dump.  So here's the details:

Day:  Saturday, March 1, 2014
Time:  9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Where:  Myrtle Avenue Park and Ride Lot at the southwest corner of South Myrtle Avenue and Pomona Avenue (1601 S. Myrtle Ave., Monrovia). 

So muster up your chemicals, batteries and old computer equipment and bring it down to the Roundup on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

Want to know more?  Take a look here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Planning Commission does a double take

The Planning Commission met on February 12, 2014 for their regularly scheduled meeting to review two very similar requests.  Pinch hitting for Commission Chair Carlos Parrague was Vice Chair Anne McIntosh who kept things moving along.  

The future Copper Still Grill
The first public hearing concerned Copper Still Grill, a new restaurant that will be opening soon at 608-610 South Myrtle Avenue, sandwiched between Rudy's and Pinkberry.  The owners describe the restaurant as "reminiscent of days gone by; rustic, distillery-themed with interior decor treatments of wood and copper throughout." 

The menu is still a work in progress, but they tell us they will be serving updated traditional classics.  We got a peek at their menu which is still a work in progress but our mouths are already watering thinking about the "pot roast dip"...oh, we forgot to mention they will have a full bar, which is the reason they went before the Planning Commission.  The Commission unanimously approved their request for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).  

Sakura Sushi House
On to public hearing number 2 (known in the biz as PH-2); a request for a conditional use permit to serve alcoholic beverages at a restaurant.  Sound familiar? Sakura Sushi House has been opened for a few months now at 215 East Foothill Boulevard, in the Certified Market Center.  The Commission reviewed their CUP request to serve beer and wine and at the close of the hearing, the Commission unanimously approved the request.  Sushi and sake, sounds like a winning combo to us. 

New shelter for Huntington Drive
The next item was a determination of General Plan Conformity.  Sounds important, right? Well, it is but not very exciting except to perhaps the Planners...well, maybe...not so much...Here's the Reader's Digest, one sentence version.  Del Taco (opening soon at 945 East Huntington Drive) is building a new bus shelter which had to be built partially on their property to provide enough clearance for pedestrians and will now be given to the City and the Commission needed to determine that it was OK.  It was.  All the legal stuff can be found here.  Did we mention our new obsession, the CrunchTada? 

And finally...the Housing Element!  Staff provided the Commission with an update on the adoption of the Element...and with no way to top that, the meeting was adjourned.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

129 Landmarks and Counting

One of the things we love about being part of the staff of a small city is that we get to wear many hats.  Your city planners have quite a collection of chapeaus: zoning expert, landscape guy, demographer, transit master, filming coordinator, and at times janitor.  But one of the things at the top of that list of things we do is Historic Preservation.  

We won't get into the nitty-gritty of the City's Historic Preservation program here, but if you want to find out more, be sure to check out the Historic Preservation page on the city's website.

At the center of the program is the designation of historic landmarks.  These are buildings (or in one case, a clock) that have significance to Monrovia.  The City of Monrovia now has 129 designated historic landmarks and one historic district.  That's a lot for a city with less than 40,000 people.  

And what we want to share with you, our faithful reader, is our new online photo album of Monrovia's Historic Landmarks. This collection of photographs represent each of the City's designated landmarks.

We've provided some basic information about each property to get the ball rolling, but the purpose was not just to educate, but also be educated.  Do you know something interesting, unique or special about the history of one of our landmarks?  A person? An event? A secret?  Share it by adding a comment.  Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S.  If it is a secret, we promise to keep it to ourselves.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

DRC Update and More!

Wednesday's Development Review Committee (aka DRC) meeting was a mixed bag of applications.  Ten in all.  Some of the highlights were new signs for Wendy's to go with their new remodel; signage for Cafe X20 which will be taking over the Garden Grill at 335 West Foothill; and a sign program proposed by the Gold Line Construction Authority to help promote businesses that are being affected by the closure of Myrtle Avenue. 

A new house at 514 South Fifth Avenue was approved.  This replaces a house that was destroyed by a fire.  (Is it just us, or have there been a lot of house fires in the past year?)

Also on the agenda was a review of the new floor plan for Wang's restaurant on East Lemon in Old Town and a couple of residential additions.

In other news, the Planning Commission will be reviewing requests to serve alcoholic beverages at two restaurants at their meeting on February 12.  You can get the details here.  

We'll give you the update next week.

Oh, yes and we'd be remiss if we didn't give one last shout out to the Housing Element.  It received final approval by the City Council on Tuesday, February 4.  Curious?  We thought you might be, so check it out here.