Compiled by Bill Ruh, CVAR Government Affairs Director
Baldwin Park is set to enter negotiations with a developer looking to build a warehouse on city-owned land that had been tentatively earmarked for affordable housing. The city council voted 3-2 to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with MG Development Group for the purchase of city-owned lots at 13057, 13061 and 13065 Garvey Ave., just north of the 10 Freeway.
The city bought the lots from Caltrans for $375,000 in August 2016, and Caltrans made the general request that they be used for affordable housing. However, Caltrans and the city did not enter into a binding agreement to ensure the land is used for affordable housing, according to a staff report.
In a March 2 letter to the city, MG Development Group President Michael Galanakis offered $525,000 for the land. On it, the company plans to build a single, 15,000-square-foot commercial-industrial warehouse building with Mission-style architecture.
Starting July 1, the city will give households a “water budget” – or allocation – based on the number of people living there and their daily usage. Outdoor landscaped areas and weather will also help determine allocations. Rates, meanwhile, will increase by 8 percent. The city has the option to raise rates another 8 percent on July 1 of each year through 2022.
Around 61 percent of customers will see up to a $5 increase per month. About 25 percent of customers will see a $5 to $10 increase.
The council voted 3-2 in early May to approve the new rate structure, known as budget-based rates, and rate increases. Mayor Peter Rogers, Vice Mayor Cynthia Moran and Councilman Art Bennett voted in favor of the proposal, while Councilmen Brian Johsz and Ray Marquez voted against it.
Before the vote, the city had received 5,671 qualifying protest votes, fewer than the 11,095 required by state law to defeat the proposal.
The proposed rate structure includes three tiers. Tier 1 is the indoor allocation and is based on a family of four using 55 gallons per person per day. Tier 2 reflects outdoor usage and is based on the property’s landscaped area, about one-third of the total lot size, and weather. Water users who surpass their Tier 2 allocation would jump into Tier 3, which charges a higher rate.
At the Tuesday meeting, the council directed city staff to increase the cap from 3,100 square feet of permeable landscaped area in the outdoor allocation to 7,500 square feet to better accommodate larger lots. The cap remains at 1,000 square feet for multi-family residences.
The city is raising water rates to ensure it has sufficient revenues to meet all operation and maintenance needs, build sufficient reserves and fund capital improvement projects, according to a staff report on the matter.
If the city did not implement the 8 percent increase this year, it would be unable to pay debt owed on bonds taken out a few years ago to build water facilities. The council could raise rates by less than 8 percent in 2019 and not at all in the following years, as they have done in the past. The previous rate increase covered 2011 through 2016, but increases were not implemented in 2015 or 2016.
Claremont is in the midst of re-imagining 17 acres of underutilized property south of the Village along Indian Hill Boulevard. While the Village is known for boutiques, quaint eateries and college town atmosphere, the environs south are different.
The process to define that area’s future, however, is slowing now that the City Council wants two city commissions to reconsider a document outlining guidelines and polices for any private and public agencies that would want to build there. Once a specific plan is adopted, adherence to its rules can expedite development.
At its April meeting, the council was expected to move the specific plan toward a March 2019 completion. But questions continue to linger for city leaders after members of its Planning and Architectural commissions differed on the details, such as building height limitations.
The project area is composed of 34 properties on 17 acres — along the west and east sides of a quarter-mile stretch of Indian Hill Boulevard from Wharton Drive to Arrow Highway. Among the properties are rental houses.
The largest of the properties is the 5.5-acre Richard Hibbard Auto Center (formerly College Chevrolet), 191 S. Indian Hill Blvd. The Vortex site, now owned by Keck Graduate Institute, is one of the most important and historical portions of the plan.
In June 2016, Claremont received a $500,000 grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to put toward a consultant to help devise a specific plan for the Village’s southern region.
Sargent Town Planners were brought in March 2017 to put together the plan. Between the summer and fall, the company conducted initial studies and prepared a document for the public to review. The process was slightly delayed in the fall when the owner of Hibbard informed the city it had found a new buyer, Village Partners.
Claremont expects to complete the draft by June and bring it back to the commissions and City Council. After that, the plan would then go through a roughly six-month environmental review period. The goal is to have the final version adopted by either February or March 2019.
Two of the three legs of the new Lemon Avenue interchange of the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar opened on May 1. As of that date, freeway riders traveling eastbound have taken the Lemon Avenue exit via a newly constructed off-ramp.
An eastbound freeway on-ramp — also at Lemon Avenue — scheduled to open sometime in June, will complete the three-legged interchange that has been in the works for 14 years in the eastern section of Los Angeles County, at the corner of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties.
Along with Alameda Corridor East Authority (ACE), the lead agency, Caltrans, Los Angeles County and the cities of Diamond Bar and City of Industry have been working on adding the new exit/entrance to the busy freeway since 2004.
A contract was signed in 2011. Construction has been ongoing for the past 1 1/2 years, including multiple weekend lane closures, detours and delays. The increase in truck traffic from the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has clogged the 60 Freeway in the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire, known as a truck route.
The project will reduce existing traffic congestion and delays and improve mobility and access to and from the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar and Industry, while eliminating weaving and confusion.
In addition, closing the Brea Canyon Road ramps and diverting cars and trucks to Lemon Avenue is a precursor to a full-fledged reconfiguration of the larger 57/60 freeways where they join together for a two-mile stretch in Diamond Bar, known as the SR 57/60 Freeway Confluence.
The larger, $260-million project has been billed as a fix to the No. 1 freeway interchange in the state for truck accidents and delays as ranked by the American Transportation Research Institute.
America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) opened in May on the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District‘s adult education campus. With nearly 8,000 square feet of dedicated space, it joins more than 200 other AJCCs already scattered throughout the state. It is the first AJCC to open in a school district.
The center will serve as a one-stop shop for both job seekers and employers, with free training programs, job postings, labor market information, skills assessments, help with preparing resumes and a variety of other services.
The center fills a critical need in the region as there is a 15% unemployment rate among people 18-29 years old with 35% of the population in the area having less than a high school education. The AJCC will serve a broad range of demographics ranging from young adults and working mothers to at-risk youths and others including those who have been laid off from their jobs.
The America’s Job Center of California is a collaboration of local, state, private and public entities that provide employment services and resources to meet the needs of the California workforce. As part of the federal Workforce Investment Act, a network of career centers was established throughout the country to help people with job training, employment services and related support services.
XG Communities LLC, a provider of wireless, asset marketing and engineering services for cities and municipalities across the United States, announces their agreement to market and manage wireless coverage solutions for the city of La Verne.
Under the multi-year agreement, XG Communities will begin marketing the city’s street light poles and other assets for small cell co-location. This effort will enhance the ability for La Verne to deploy wireless connectivity throughout the city.
As wireless carriers densify existing networks and get ready for 5G, it is estimated that the industry will deploy hundreds of thousands of small cells, making it increasingly difficult for cities to manage the application and deployment process. In collaboration with the carriers, XG Communities will streamline applications with a predictable process, while preserving community aesthetics and generate long-term revenue to the city.
The decision for the city of La Verne to partner with XG Communities was based on maintaining control, preventing visual blight and increasing connectivity for businesses, residents and citizens. The solution will be the foundation to deploy Smart City infrastructure and enhance business investment.
Pomona city leaders are poised to shore up a projected $4.7 million budgetary shortfall by dipping into its savings.
That was the recommendation made May 14 by staff during a two-hour special study session.
The proposed $107 million operating budget for 2018-19 is used to pay for the bulk of city services, including police and fire, parks and the library. With revenues for the next year expected to be about $102 million, staff couldn’t recommend approving the nearly $1 million in funding requests from various departments.
That means the city had to put off the following requests unless funds become available:
$851,000 from police to replace 16 vehicles
$40,000 from library for new office furniture and carpet cleaning
$78,800 from Neighborhood Services for computer labs at seven community centers and staff computers at its recreation sites