Sunday, August 16, 2015

Books and Bears and Depots and Neighborhoods...and Traffic

One of the plethora of things that we love about working for a small city is that we get to wear many hats.  Not ones to be pigeonholed, this mix of assignments keeps us on our toes and contrary to the belief of our big-city counterparts, small cities can be just as complex as the big ones.

The diversity of the work of the Planning Division was on full display at the August 4 City Council meeting.  Yes, we're a little late and we thought about skipping it, but we thought you'd like to know...So, without further ado, here's the what we had going on:

2015 is the year of the Monrovia Neighborhood Study.  Based on concerns of Monrovians, the City took a step to slow things down and "take a breath" so the community could have a conversation about what Monrovia's neighborhoods should look...and even more important, what they should feel like.  Over the past six months, City Staff has facilitated a conversation with the community to figure that out.  We've done a lot of listening and what was presented to the City Council was what we heard and some potential policy considerations.  The City Council reviewed this information at a Study Session in July, with a follow up on August 4th.  The Council provided policy direction which is being forwarded to the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission.  (Editor's note: If you are one of our loyal and diligent readers, this is old news to you.)

One of Mick Stilkey's creations
The City Council also approved a new piece of public art to be installed in the Monrovia Library.  The Library Book Mural will be designed, constructed an drawn by Sierra Madre artist, Mick Stilkey.  The mural will be installed in the Youth Services corridor.  Library patrons know this as the wall that's screaming "put art here."  Well, maybe not is a library after all...a loud whisper perhaps.

The mural's centerpiece will be one of Samson's relatives Penny-farthing through a field along with some of his native species friends...headed to the Youth Services room, of course!  Based on the recommendation of the Art in Public Places Committee, the City Council enthusiastically approved the commission of the mural.  Read all about it in the Staff Report.

The approved design for the mural
Another chapeau that the Planners proudly wear is our Historic Preservation hat. The City's Historic Preservation program includes the review and designation of Monrovia's historic landmarks.  Currently, there are 135 designated landmarks! Based on the direction of the City Council, City Staff will start the process to designate Monrovia's Santa Fe Depot as a local landmark.  

Monrovia Depot in better days (1961)
Lots of folks are surprised that it's not already designated.  It's a long story, but the bottom line is that until recently, the Depot was owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, AKA Metro.  As part of the talks regarding the Gold Line, the City negotiated taking ownership of the Depot which means that we now control the destiny of this important part of Monrovia's transportation history which will ultimately be the centerpiece of Monrovia's Station Square.  One of the first steps will be to designate it as a historic landmark which will facilitate it's restoration and preservation.  There's some plans in the works, so stay tuned for some exciting news soon.

In the meantime, take a look at the City Council report for more info.

...and last, but not least, the Council adopted a resolution confirming that Monrovia is in conformance with the County's Congestion Management Program Program or as we affectionately call it--CMP.  We could go on and on about the CMP, but it was a late meeting...If you're so inclined, you can read all about it in the Staff Report.