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Commission Approves New Downtown Development Standards to Retain Area Charm

The Civic Center Area Plan creates new zones for mixed use development.

The Glendora Planning Commission approved a set of guidelines for future development in the heart of the city’s historic area and surrounding neighborhoods Tuesday.

Zoning for the Civic Center Area Plan had long been in place, according to city officials, but no set guidelines had been passed on future development in the area.

The area – Vista Bonita Avenue and Wabash Avenue, and Bennett Avenue and Foothill Blvd – is home to some of the city’s most historic buildings, including four designated as landmark buildings, and 56 structures identified in a historic survey. The variety of bungalow type homes also adds to the downtown’s unique charm.

The new developmental standards would change some zones from residential zoning to mixed use, having both residential and commercial components.

“The community is very concerned about retaining our historic village character and quality and that is definitely one of the goals of the CCAP, is to try to preserve the character of the Village area,” said Planning Manager Dianne Walter.

Walter said there was previously a “hodge podge” of up to 9 different zones.

The district was divided into three zones, each zone with its own developmental focus -- the downtown residential area, the downtown shopping area and an area determined as still developing.

The plan also dealt with architectural guidelines and promotion of sidewalk dining.

Traffic concerns were found to be minimal, said Walter, and a city parking analysis in 2010 showed sufficient parking in the downtown area during peak hours.

Commenters spoke out on the project, raising concerns that the not enough professional review had occurred on the plan, while others claimed that the city did not provide enough opportunities for the public to take part in the development of the plan.

Four public workshops were hosted since 2010 when the CCAP process was announced to the public. An Ad Hoc Committee including members from the Commission, Historical Preservation Committee and the Business Improvement District, was formed in 2010.

“We can go on an on and on about the way this was put together over a period of the year,” said Commission Chair Joe Battaglia. “There were more than four people that were involved listening, looking , discussing, material brought by staff, so this was not just created  yesterday.

The commission approved the new guidelines 4-0, with Commissioner Cliff Hamlow absent. The ordinance will be sent to the City Council for approval.

Yolanda Mckay March 08, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I'd hardly call it retaining charm when they have increased the density of my neighborhood to 30 units an acre from it's current 25 maximum. Increasing density makes more traffic, noise, pollution etc, I'd hardly call that charming. It also leaves too much up for interpretation on what is in line with the "historic character", it could come down to who you know or who does not like your politics at city hall etc. We went to a meeting about this issue last year & were assured that density would not increase. LOL, I believed them. As for this area still developing? We have been in this R3 zone for over 25 years, it is already developed. This is more of a redevelopment issue. This is an example of a City's cavalier approach to the rights of property owners. I don't know anyone on my block who wants this. We are the ones who will have our property rights limited. How many people who live, not work, in the new zone were on the committee? City Hall keeps our streets in the dark, they want us to pay an extra assessment for historical lighting, so far we have voted down the tax increase that would apply to our neighborhood only. The city should provide lighting if they want to increase the density and add commercial venues. As for the idea that increased density will not be a problem, BS, the city parking analysis needs to be questioned.
Ralph Long March 08, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Good decision Planning Commission! Mixed use has been successful and is gaining momentum in small cities like ours across the country. It is getting us back to the agreeable, manageable, walkable cities of 100 years ago, before the automobile became so ubquitous and sprawl took over. Planned properly, mixed use communities can be very pleasant to live in and are becoming more and more popular for people at all life stages. Increasingly, mixed use is becoming the neighborhood of choice for the younger set, which bodes well for the long term viability of Glendora. I applaud the Planning Commission, City Council and City staff for making the decison to go with forward thinking concepts, rather than maintaining planning concepts that seemed right 50 years ago, but have since been shown to not be sustainable.
Ian March 08, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Keep packing 'em in. Tighter. Squeeze 'em together. Tighter. Stack 'em on top of each other. Why go three stories when we can go for four? This will reverse urban sprawl. This will save The Village. This will make Glendora sustainable and charming. I like lemonade better than Kool Aid, but I'll go ahead and drink whatever ya got.
Terry March 08, 2012 at 11:26 PM
"Long term viability" is the key phrase. The Gold Line, mixed used projects, and the upcoming condominium project will help Glendora have another prosperous 100 years. There is no need to dwell in the good 'ol days. Those days are long gone. What this city will eventually need is to encourage pedestrian friendliness by slowly reconstructing commercial properties in its main throughways like Route 66 and Foothill--and even Arrow Hwy. Construct main buildings next to the sidewalk and stick the parking spaces to the back. Auto-friendly strip malls with giant front parking lots are a thing of the past... way past.

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