The council voted 3-2 in closed session to dismiss Police Chief David Salcedo “without cause.” Mayor Manuel Lozano and Councilwoman Monica Garcia voted against the dismissal. Salcedo, who was most recently a police captain in Inglewood, was appointed to lead the Baldwin Park police force at the end of January after the council fired former Chief Mike Taylor in September in another 3-2 vote. Salcedo’s first day on the job was March 13. Captain Doug Parnell was appointed to serve as interim chief. After making statements about the dismissal, Lozano and Garcia left the council’s regular meeting “in protest” of their colleagues’ decision, which came the day before Salcedo was supposed to be officially sworn in during a special ceremony at City Hall. City officials would not elaborate on the reason for the sudden firing. Councilman Ricardo Pacheco, who requested the item be placed on the council’s closed session agenda, said in an interview Thursday that several police personnel had concerns about Salcedo and that he personally had concerns about his ability to lead the department.
Councilmember Glenn Duncan plans to step down after 25 years. Duncan is winding down his financial planning business and other commitments. He and his wife have listed their home for sale—so far he has two full-price offers—and they’re in escrow on a home in a Palm Desert retirement community with golf courses, pools and more. The reason? Health. He was diagnosed in September with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system. It can be treated, but not cured. Duncan, 69, was elected in 1992 and has been returned to office six times since. Only Eunice Ulloa, first elected in 1984, has served longer. Duncan contemplated running against Ulloa to succeed Yates but decided to seek a new council term instead. While the matter of replacing Duncan won’t come up until he formally resigns, the understanding is that under a new state law, his seat would have to go up for election in 2018. A replacement could be appointed in the meantime from Duncan’s District 1, in northwest Chino. Duncan said he expects to resign by July and perhaps as early as June.
Drafts of election maps that divide Chino Hills into five districts were shown to the city council by National Demographics Corp., the firm developing maps and strategy to transition to a district-based system. The city council voted 5-0 in November to change the system in response to a demand from Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, an advocacy group, to convert to district elections or face a lawsuit. The group said changing to a district election would allow Latino voters to elect candidates of their choice. Doug Johnson, president of National Demographics Corp, said he drew the maps to conform to the Federal Voting Rights Act and federal laws that forbid racial gerrymandering and require that populations are balanced. Mr. Johnson said council members should not be paired in one district because that would not respect the wishes of residents who voted candidates of their choice into office. Mr. Johnson said maps 1 to 3 and the map submitted by resident Jim Gallagher pairs councilmembers. Maps show that the Asian population is concentrated on both sides of Grand Avenue and extends to the entire northern section of the city, and the Latino population is contained primarily in the Los Serranos and Glenmeade areas. The map shown on Page A3 most closely aligns with federal laws. District 1 would be represented by Mayor Ray Marquez, 2 by Peter Rogers, 3 by Art Bennett, 4 by Cynthia Moran, and 5 by Ed Graham. Resident Luis Esparza said the map splits Butterfield Ranch in half to accommodate the seats of Councilmembers Moran and Graham, who both live in the area. Mr. Johnson explained that Butterfield Ranch will have to be divided anyway because the population is growing and new maps will have to be drawn when the census is taken in 2020. The council is expected to choose a map at the Tuesday, May 23, meeting. The change will take place in time for the November 2018 election when Mayor Marquez, Mr. Graham, and Mr. Rogers are up for re-election. Councilwoman Moran and Councilman Bennett will remain at-large councilmembers until they are up for re-election in 2020. The maps are posted on the city’s website, chinohills.org, under local news on the home page.
The city held a public presentation of its draft housing element on April 17, months after it was sent back from the state for further review. The meeting, held in the Citrus Room above the city council chamber, was meant to go over the revised housing element and to answer any additional questions about specific parts of the plan. The housing element is a part of Claremont’s general plan, as well as a state law requirement that outlines city demographics, affordable housing programs and an outline of where the city can put low-income housing if need be. It is not a mandate for Claremont to build low-income housing, it’s more a way of showing Sacramento that the city has the space and resources available for it. The housing element is the only part of the general plan that needs to be renewed every five-to-seven years, and the city has been out of compliance since February 2014 for the 2014-2021 period. Throughout the vetting process, the city wrestled with one major part of the element: the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA. Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) tasked the city with placing 373 units of different income levels around the city—157 of which were low, very low or extremely low-income housing. Claremont eventually settled on two locations, a sliver of land at the intersection of Harrison and Cambridge Avenues, and a small portion of the golf course on Indian Hill Boulevard that belongs to the Claremont University Consortium. The city sent the draft housing element on Nov. 10, 2016, but it was returned by the state in January for further review. In a letter addressed to the City of Claremont on Jan. 9, Jennifer Seeger, assistant deputy director of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, outlined several areas of improvement and clarification within the housing element.
“In particular, the element must include a complete site analysis, and programs must demonstrate a beneficial impact within the planning period,” Ms. Seeger said. Her letter pointedly addressed specific programs in the element—density bonus programs, marketing of affordable units to local work forces, transitional and supportive housing and permanent supportive housing for veterans—and requested specific time frames rather than “ongoing” implementation statuses in the original draft. Claremont has 32 houses that meet the state’s definition of transitional housing—residential homes in any neighborhood that have six beds or fewer that are not subject to special permits from the city. An amendment to the municipal code to clarify that transitional and supportive housing are considered residential uses and only apply to residential restrictions would be processed concurrently with the adoption of the housing element. As far as veteran services are concerned, the housing element notes that the city is working with Tri-City Mental Health Pomona and Jamboree Housing Corporation—who also worked on Courier Place—to build a 37-unit development on the 900 block of west Base Line Road that would be “permanent supportive housing for veterans and Tri-City Mental Health clients.” The project is slated to take place within the 2014-2021 time frame. The state also mandated the city to go into more detail about the chosen sites for the RHNA requirement, in part tasking the city with going into more detail about the suitability of the infrastructure. In the element, the city outlines the golf course plot as being close to a sewer main at the southwest end of the site, a water main, storm drain and other services. The CUC doesn’t have any long-term plans for developing the site, the city notes, and it’s close to amenities such as Trader Joe’s and Claremont High School.
The Covina-Valley Unified school board voted 5-0 to close Lark Ellen Elementary School at the end of the school year. The decision came six weeks after the district sent a letter to Lark Ellen parents that sparked an uproar and said in part, “As you are likely aware, Covina-Valley Unified School District has decided to repurpose Lark Ellen Elementary School at the end of this school year.” After an outcry from parents, the district backpedaled on that letter. While it maintained that a school closure was necessary because of declining enrollment and a state budget proposal that’s unfriendly to public education, district officials said they would consider closing Manzanita or Merwin Elementary in addition to Lark Ellen. As part of that process, the district convened a committee to consider the decision. That committee voted 9-0 last week to recommend closing Lark Ellen. Lark Ellen parents, however, have remained skeptical of the district’s intentions. Many have said the district had no plans to reconsider their decision, but it was trying to save face because the decision to close a school without a public forum is a violation of the Brown Act, California’s open meetings law. A group of parents calling themselves the “Coalition of Parents to Save Lark Ellen” has threatened to sue the district. Parents from Manzanita and Merwin Elementary Schools spoke in support of their schools and expressed support for the district’s decision.
The building-scape at the University of La Verne is about to change. In a few months, University of La Verne officials expect to break ground for the construction of a five-story, 398-bed student residence and dining hall on the southern end of campus. The project will kick off what is expected to be the first of a three-phase plan for new construction and renovation projects to be carried out over an 18-year period. It’s all part of a master plan for the university recently approved by La Verne city leaders. The development plans are meant to provide the resources that will allow students to train in some existing and new fields of study at the university and be ready to meet the needs of the region. The growth comes as the university celebrates 125 years as an institution. Developing the plan was a four-year process that included participation of the university community and city, all collaborating to determine how ULV is physically going to meet the needs of future students and the region.
Rather than spreading out, the university will grow upward. Each of the plan’s three phases will take about six years to complete. Plans for the first phase are the most clear and have a financing road map. Phase II plans have been developed, but before the university can begin construction, it must raise money and pay off Phase I debts. Phase III is still somewhat of a concept that will come more into focus as part of a future master plan. What comes first: Phase I will augment student housing, which currently can accommodate 837 students. At buildout, and with the demolition or repurposing of existing dorms, the university expects to house just over 1,000 students on campus. The first project is a five-story building that will house both a residence hall and dining facilities, just north of a new parking structure built along Arrow Highway. The building will be 60 feet tall, about 4 feet taller than the parking structure, according to a city staff report. Despite the height, staff recommended the council approve the university plans because “the building is internal to the campus and will not be substantially visible from the public right of way,” according to a staff report. The 116,090-square-foot building’s first floor will be occupied by the dining hall, and the four top floors will comprise the 386-bed residence hall. That’s 178 more beds than the nearby Studabaker-Hanawalt Residence Hall. Cost of the building is estimated to be $40 million, which will be paid through bonds and funds the university has set aside. Once the new building is ready for the Fall 2018 academic session, Studabaker-Hanawalt Residence Hall will be demolished. That space will become a parking lot. Meanwhile, Brandt Residence Hall, on B Street and Bonita Avenue, will be renovated and an addition built. It will no longer serve its original purpose, becoming instead the university’s new Multicultural, Interfaith and Spiritual Center. Once completed, the facility will have a new and bigger sacred space, the university’s multicultural center, interfaith offices and possibly space for community engagement programs. Because the existing chapel does not meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities and requires earthquake work, it will be demolished. Groundbreaking for this project is expected to take place in fall 2018. The final project of the first phase will be the construction of a new academic building on land currently occupied by the University Chapel. What comes next: Phase II plans include demolition of Davenport Dining Hall and Woody Hall, a building that currently houses financial aid, university registrar and accounts receivable offices. Phase III plans are fluid and include property to the east of D Street and south of Second Street. Some of the plans fall within the city’s Old Town La Verne Specific Plan area. Development there would have a mixed-use element, including retail on the ground floor and offices and housing above. The city would like to see development that serves to entice pedestrians from a Gold Line light-rail station—anticipated to open in about a decade at Arrow Highway and E Street—to downtown. Plans for Phase III will probably come before the City Council for approval sometime after Phase II is completed. Residents and property owners living near the university have had opportunities to review and comment on the academic institution’s master plan. Some have expressed concerns about the older buildings on the campus, particularly those of a historic nature, and some have spoken out about what is now a shuttered plan to close Third Street between B and D streets.
South Pomona residents unhappy with the recent approval of a gas station near a neighborhood school will have a chance to appeal to the city council May 1. The hearing, originally scheduled for April 3, was postponed to give project proponents time to prepare traffic and air quality studies. At its Jan. 11 meeting, the Planning Commission approved the construction of a gas station on vacant land at 2085 S. Towne Ave. Residents of the area, including parents of children enrolled at nearby Philadelphia Elementary School, have said they don’t want a gas station there. Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jared said the applicants say additional work “needs to be performed to truly understand and adequately address the concerns of the community.” Had the city not agreed to the time extension, the project proponents could sue the city, Jared said. Councilwoman Cristina Carrizosa is the one who appealed the Planning Commission’s decision. The proposed development involves the construction of a gas station with a convenience store and canopy providing shelter for six gas pumps. The project would be built on just over a half-acre on the northwest corner of Towne Avenue and Philadelphia Street. Carrizosa’s appeal is based on concerns tied to traffic and possible health effects on residents—particularly children, and the students, faculty and staff of nearby Philadelphia Elementary School—along with those using Philadelphia Park and the community center located there. The park and the school campus are next to each other and are a short walk from the site of the proposed gas station. Area residents, including parents of Philadelphia Elementary students, have said the gas station is too close to the school and the traffic it would generate will present a danger to children going to and from school, in addition to presenting health risks for the children.
Stater Bros. grocery company held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new store on the site of the Day Creek Marketplace shopping center, under construction at the northwest corner of Day Creek Boulevard and Base Line Road. Company officials said the 45,000-square-foot store, when complete in the fourth quarter of 2017, will anchor the center and will be the third of its stores in Rancho Cucamonga. The shopping center is being developed by the Lewis Group of Companies. Overall, the shopping center will feature 92,500 square feet of real estate space, which will also house a CVS Pharmacy, according to a Lewis Group informational web site. Committed tenants to open at the center’s 23 units also include Jersey Mike’s Subs, MOD Pizza, Tobiko Sushi, West Coast Dental, Great Clips, Waba Grill and a Starbucks, according to the Lewis Group.
The Upland City Council will consider rescinding its vote to approve a controversial mixed-use development because it violated the state’s open meetings laws. On Feb. 27, the council voted 3-0 to approve the multistory, 33,055-square-foot project, which would be built on the southwest corner of C Street and Third Avenue. The agreement, approved by the council, allows for WB Properties to buy the public parking lot into the historic core’s first combination commercial-residential project. But the council will consider undoing that approval, according to the staff report. The council item comes as a group of merchants put Upland on notice that a previous staff report failed to properly disclose the location of the property to be sold and is demanding action be taken within 30 days to correct the issue. The staff report from the Feb. 27 meeting described the parking lot only as being located “on the southwest corner of C Street and Third Avenue.” According to the April 24 staff report, “Although there was widespread public knowledge of the property to be sold and the city’s ownership of said property, it is in the public’s interest to save the costs of potential lawsuit contesting the agenda description.” The staff report does not indicate if the council would take another action, at a later meeting, to again review and approve the $400,000 purchase agreement with Rancho Cucamonga-based WB Properties. The original deal was approved 3-0 with Mayor Debbie Stone and Councilman Gino Filippi abstaining. Several business owners who gathered Friday to discuss the latest developments say they are not opposed to growth in the downtown but continued to express concerns that the deal undervalues the property and would eliminate much-needed parking spaces downtown.
The West Covina City Council voted 5-0 to approve funding for a new two-officer bike patrol team that will focus on park safety and homeless outreach. The approval of the new positions, which will be funded through a two-year state law enforcement grant and city funds for homeless services, brings the city’s police force up to 104 sworn officers and will help the police department provided targeted enforcement at parks and address ongoing homeless concerns across the city. According to a staff report, the city has received an increased number of complaints about homeless people in the parks. In 2016, the police department received 2,248 calls for service related to homeless, 120 of which occurred in the parks. The complaints involve a range of illegal activities, including overnight camping, graffiti, drug and alcohol use, public urination and defecation, as well as unwanted behavior toward children and families. The police department has also seen an increase in public safety issues not involving homeless people at city parks, according to the report. Faulkner said he hoped the bike patrol team would be deployed by the end of the summer, adding that the department needs to fill some vacancies before assigning two officers to the team. Once chosen, the officers will undergo state Peace Officer Standards and Training for bicycle units, as well as specialized training in crisis communication and social services. Because the state law enforcement grant is only good for two years, Faulkner said he hopes the department will be able to obtain funding later on through Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax for homeless services approved by voters last year.