Despite fervent opposition from Glendora residents over the Monrovia Nursery Development, city council voted unanimously to approve plans and zoning for the 124-home development of 20,000-sq-ft-lots at last night's city council meeting.
During the public hearing at, 116 E. Foothill Blvd., residents called details of the proposed site a "traffic disaster" waiting to happen. The proposed development includes 95 acres of city and unincorporated land near Sierra Madre and Barranca to the north and Foothill Blvd. to the south. With 124 new family lots proposed at the site, including the 517-acre Rosedale master planned community in neighboring Azusa, residents foresaw congested traffic flow through their neighborhood streets.
Much of the concern focused on Citrus Avenue, a main thoroughfare, as an access street to the development site at Sierra Madre. Without it, said residents, traffic flow will disperse to nearby residential neighborhoods.
"This is really a disaster," said resident Mike Shaw. "Citrus Avenue needs to go all the way through. We need that."
Residents argued that the city had promised an access street from Citrus Avenue in initial planning.
But according to city manager Chris Jeffers, previous plans indicated early on that Citrus Avenue could not be accessed, citing inconsistencies with the city's General Plan land use and typography issues with private land.
"This project cannot be done without Citrus," said resident Ken Smolka. "We haven't even considered the traffic we'll get from the [future] Gold Line…when you look at this project, you need traffic flow. This is not traffic flow."
For resident Bill Kettlerer, the proposed U-turn at Barranca and Bennett posed another problem. According to Kettlerer, the U-turn will block street access to the front of his house, as parking is restricted on his front curb.
"I also have a truck and the only way to get to my house is to do a U-turn….there is no way my truck is going to make it with the space there is," said Kettlerer.
The planning department presented a computerized traffic simulation, which depicted anticipated traffic in the impacted intersections after completed development, including Barranca and Sierra Madre avenues at peak morning and evening hours. According to the presentation by traffic engineer Arum Gajendran of Rick Engineering, only several cars would pass through the intersection at morning and evening peak hours.
However, the simulation did not include expected traffic from the Rosedale community, which city planner David Chanataranga said would be a minor increase of 4 percent.
While a group of residents opposed the project, others supported it, including a group of more than 400 residents who signed a petition in favor of the project.
"This is a good plan," said resident Doug Boyd. "One hundred twenty four lots on 95 acres is the best deal we're going to get for low density development."
City officials warned that should there be any further delay in the proposed plan, the developers might choose to build in nearby unincorporated areas where city land standards do not apply.
Monrovia Nursery representative Peter Carlson acknowledged that possibility, stating that the developers have consulted Los Angeles County for an alternate location.
According to City Attorney D. Wayne Leech, the city has no control over unincorporated land.
After long deliberation which stretched until midnight, the council passed the proposed plan without amendments, 5-0.
"I think we have a great deal," said mayor Ken Herman. "Is it perfect? No. But when it's done, I think we're going to be happy with it."