SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
On Tuesday March 21st, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted Proposition 90. Proposition 90 is an initiative that enables homeowners 55 years or older to transfer the base year value of their principal residence in one county to a newly purchased residence in another county provided that certain requirements are met. Prop. 90 allows homeowners 55 years or older to move closer to family, medical services, lifestyle centers, downsize in an effort to reduce expenses, or to take advantage of recreational opportunities. Without Prop 90’s protection, these homeowners would have been locked-in to their previous residences due to the significant property tax increase incurred in moving. To qualify for the program, applicants and properties must meet certain requirements per the California Board of Equalization. These requirements have been provided below along with additional information from their site here.
The council directed the city attorney to negotiate a contract with Donald Penman to serve as interim city manager at a special meeting, and is expected to vote on the agreement at a regularly scheduled council meeting. The contract would provide Penman, 63, with a $90 per hour salary that cannot pass 570 hours during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Penman most recently served as Temple City’s interim city manager from March until September and can only work 960 hours in any fiscal year, according to Cal-PERS rules for retirees. Penman also was San Fernando’s interim city administrator for all of 2013. He retired in 2011 from Arcadia after 13 years with the city, three as city manager. Before then he worked at Simi Valley, Baldwin Park and San Fernando in administrative roles. He will not receive any additional health, retirement or insurance benefits, but will be provided a city-issued cellphone and reimbursed for reasonable travel and mileage expenses incurred during his work for Azusa. Former Azusa City Manager James Makshanoff took the top job at San Clemente in September and the city council voted to conduct a search for a new city manager at its Sept. 15 meeting. The city is receiving applications for a permanent city manager, with a deadline of Nov. 6. Penman will assist with the search and will step down when a permanent replacement is found.
The city could stop restricting where sex offenders can live and move if the council takes the city attorney’s recommendation. The Baldwin Park Municipal Code prevents sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any children’s facility and from loitering within 300 feet of any children’s facility. The law was enacted in December, 2006, based on a section of the state penal code that allows cities to adopt tighter restrictions on where offenders can live and move. A case before the California Supreme Court has challenged the state code as being unconstitutional, while movement restrictions are preempted by state law, according to People v. Nguyen, the staff report states. Independent analysis by the City Attorney’s Office suggests there is a possibility the state and city’s restrictions may eventually be found to be invalid. For the reasons cited in People V. Nguyen, the City suggests, at least, suspending enforcement of Chapter 133 (municipal code) pending judicial determination of the validity of Penal Code 3003.5. Several local cities have been sued by a civil rights attorney and registered sex offender challenging the constitutionality of cities’ restrictions on sex offenders that are stricter than state law.
State restrictions apply to sex offenders currently on parole and prevents them from living with another registered sex offender or within 2,000 feet of a school or park. Baldwin Park’s ordinance includes a ban on where a sex offender can spend time, which could be found invalid. The council has the option to repeal the city’s municipal code ordinance, to suspend enforcement or to continue enforcing restrictions on sex offenders.
The city and Golden State Water Co. continue to battle, this time over the water company’s application to the state Public Utilities Commission to increase revenues over a three-year period. The PUC will hold a hearing in San Francisco to review Claremont’s petition. In the latest battle with the company, Claremont is seeking intervener party status so it may advocate for consumers — residents, businesses, and educational institutions — on proposed revenue hikes. In July, San Dimas-based Golden State Water asked the PUC for slight revenue increases for Region 3, which includes Claremont, San Dimas, Apple Valley and Wrightwood. The water provider has asked the PUC to increase revenues by 0.68 percent in 2016; 2.41 percent increase in 2017; and 2.69 percent increase in 2018. The increases would help finance improvements and capital investments. In its protest, Claremont is asking the water company to release financial information involving office expenditures and capital projects, to understand better how those costs impact current and future rates. Claremont is not the only agency opposed to the proposal, the Office of Ratepayers Advocates — a division within CPUC — has also protested the general rate case. The city has requested that a public hearing be held in the city in September or October. City officials have been fighting with the water company over its rate increases since 2012 and is considering using eminent domain to take over the water system. Earlier this summer, the City Council approved a ballot initiative, known as Measure W, which would allow Claremont to use up to $135 million in bonds to acquire the water system.
Covina City Council denied a controversial 67-home development slated for a Covina industrial park Tuesday night after a coalition of business owners pleaded with officials to maintain zoning restrictions in their neighborhood. More than 50 business owners signed a petition opposing DC Corp.’s project on a former Clippinger storage lot and two vacant lots beside it on Edna Place at Grand Avenue. Residents to the north praised the development for ridding the area of a blighted eyesore, but Edna Place’s businesses said it would open them up to complaints and lawsuits that could shut down their operations and cause job loss. The denial came in a 3-2 vote after Councilman John King said he was swayed by the opposition’s impassioned speeches. The zoning change — from light manufacturing to residential — clashed with the city’s general plan, which designates Edna Place as a place for businesses. Some in opposition questioned the quality of life a resident might have living next to a company creating aerospace parts, on a street with no sidewalks and frequent industrial traffic. DC Corp. and consultant Michael Touhey promised a nearly 60-feet divide between the nearest business and homes as well as sound proofing that will dampen noise from industrial neighbors. Touhey said at the meeting he already had interest from a “national coffee and doughnut” chain for one of two planned commercial buildings
Diamond Bar City Council amended its agreements with the City of Industry and the California Department of Transportation, paving the way for the new freeway interchange on Lemon Avenue. The amendment to the long running project allows the interchange to proceed. In December of 2010, Diamond Bar had originally approved the agreement with the state to build the new interchange on the 60 Freeway at Lemon. The interchange will include a westbound on-ramp, eastbound on-ramp and an eastbound off-ramp. In September of 2011, the council ratified a right-of-way with the state and Caltrans for the acquisition of property and building easements on nine homes along Flintgate Drive, as well as four businesses. This agreement authorized the state to buy the rights-of-way while Industry would pay the costs. In return, Diamond Bar would reimburse Industry with Federal and Metro Prop C funds. In a report, Diamond Bar’s senior civil engineer Kimberly Young noted the acquisition of the rights-of-way began in March of 2012, but it soon became apparent that the costs had been underestimated. Only four of the 13 rights-of-way have been negotiated, with the remaining nine mired in condemnation proceedings. Acquisition costs have risen from the original $900,000 to more than $1,640,000. And Caltrans support costs have climbed to $597,200. When Diamond Bar learned about the increases, it asked to use Metro Prop C Funds earmarked for construction. The request was approved. Now, the Lemon interchange project will use $1,751,045 in federal funds for the right-of-way phase. For the required match, Diamond Bar will use $405,430 in Metro Prop C funds plus another $80,725 from the City of Industry. The rights-of-way should be acquired by the end of the year. Construction is expected to begin next June, with completion in January of 2017. The projected cost of the interchange is $22,340,000. This includes $2,780,000 for the environmental and design phase, $2,240,000 for the right-of-way phase and $17,320,000 for construction. Under the three-party agreement, Diamond Bar is contracting with Caltrans to advertise the project, award it to the low bidder, and administer the contract. Diamond Bar has committed $11,300,000 to the Lemon interchange, including $8,630,000 in federal funds, $2,294,000 in Metro Prop C funds and $400,000 from the Highway Safety Improvement Program. The City of Industry has already put $4,900,000 toward the project. It has also agreed to fund the remaining $6,200,000.
El Monte is looking outside the police department for its new police chief. Police Chief Steve Schuster is retiring at the end of next month and the city is conducting a national search to find his replacement — an unusual move in a department that has exclusively promoted from within in recent history. Before being named chief three years ago, Schuster spent 37 years in the department, starting as an 18-year-old cadet. Schuster said the unprecedented decision to include external candidates has sparked some concern in the department. A search firm has been asked to meet with the Police Officers Association and the Police Mid-Managers Association, as well as the city council, to get their input on the qualities they would like to see in the next chief. The City recently conducted executive searches to find a new finance director and public works director for the city. Earlier this year, the city conducted a salary survey and learned that Schuster’s total compensation and benefits is 24 percent higher than his peers in neighboring and similarly sized cities, Godinez said. Schuster earns an annual base pay of $193,512 plus nearly $10,000 in bonus training pay as well as benefits. The new Chief, like the city’s other new executive directors, will not be on a contract. The City hopes to have a new chief in place by the end of the year. The search firm, Alliance Resource Consulting, began advertising the position last week. Applicants will then have until Nov. 7 to apply. Alliance will narrow the applicant pool down to 12-16 candidates. At that point,city staff will internally further narrow the field to six or seven candidates for interviews. A panel of experts named by the City will then interview the candidates and select the top three or four who will have a second interview with the city manager and the assistant city managers, who will make a selection.
144-unit development on Foothill Boulevard is one step closer to approval as the Planning Commission voted at its Oct. 7 meeting to send the proposal to the city council. Foothill 533 would bring 144 townhomes to 8.8 acres at 533 and 617-647 W. Foothill Blvd., and 158 N. Valencia St., which includes the “Rain Bird” and “Naked Juice” sites, the staff report states. There would be a tot lot, a dog park and a central square with a pool, spa and recreation area for residents to use. Current utility poles and overhead electrical lines along Foothill Boulevard could be an issue, as the cost of installing the lines underground could pass $1 million. The planning commission voted to recommend the city council evaluate undergrounding the lines but not include it as a condition of approval, as well as accept the conditions of approval and require that trees be added to the right-of-way. Part of the site requires remediation where a dry cleaner was located, which City Ventures has agreed to. Noise remediation from the railroad tracks also were calculated and included in the proposal. However, planning commissioners would have to agree to four zone amendments: reducing the required setbacks from 25 feet to 20 feet from Foothill Boulevard; reducing the second- and third-story setbacks; waiving the maximum building height to include three-story buildings; and allow tandem parking in garage stalls. The planning commission has reviewed the City Ventures proposal three times, beginning in May with a 150-unit development that was then scaled back to 144 units after issues were raised with the property on the eastern edge of the project. The development will have two building groupings: Foothill Towns, along Foothill Boulevard; and Village Towns, on the north end of the property along the railroad tracks. Each townhome will have two- to four-bedroom layouts ranging from 1,284 square feet to 1,906 square feet each, while the buildings will be two or three stories tall. The development would include 370 parking spaces, each unit provided at least two spaces.
A California Welcome Center, which will help market the region to tourists, is set to make its return to the Ontario Mills this fall, after the closure of the welcome center in San Bernardino last year. The informational center, when it opens later this year, will help better market the region to visitors. The Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau won a bid to host the welcome center, and hopes to open the 1,200-square-foot area in an area near the mall food court. With 28 million visitors annually, Ontario Mills is a prime location for the visitors center. New freeway signage, will direct motorists from out of town toward the welcome center at the mall, helping to bring more people into the shopping center. The center will employ about 10 to 15 paid staff and volunteers. Toshiba will be providing the technology at the center, which will also include digital displays, brochures and ticket sales for events and attractions in the region.
City Council members have approved a change of land use for a parcel in north Pomona that will make it possible for a developer to build a 143-unit condominium project. The council members voted unanimously to change the land use of the property in the 800 block of Bonita Avenue from special industrial to medium-density multiple family residential. Developer Matthew Livingston of Ridge Crest Real Estate plans to build on about 7 acres of land that was once occupied by a Xerox manufacturing building. The building was razed in 1996 and the land has been vacant ever since. Xerox had to clean up contamination of the site that resulted from the work that took place there.
Members of the city’s Planning Commission reviewed the development proposal in September and granted a conditional-use permit for the project. The commission also sent council members a recommendation to approve the land use change.
A beloved bronze statue valued at $25,000 that has adorned the fountain in front of San Dimas City Hall for more than 15 years disappeared overnight in a brazen theft, on Thursday October 16th. A city employee discovered the art piece missing shortly after 7 a.m. Friday from it home at 245 E. Bonita Ave.
Titled, “Catching Frogs,” the sculpture by renowned artist Vic Riesau was first dedicated in 1998 after being donated by former San Dimas city manager Robert Poff, according to the San Dimas Festival of Arts. The organization coincidentally began setting up for this weekend’s Wildlife and Landscape Art Show in the Robert L. Poff Gallery in the Community Building at city hall. Shantel Baez of San Dimas immediately noticed the statue missing when she arrived at city hall. Two of her daughters played in front of the fountain as two of her sons took part in a karate class at the civic center. The motive for the theft is unknown, but the “beloved” sculpture may have been stolen merely for the value of the bronze it is made of. Investigators found no tire tracks near the fountain Friday, but based on the size and weight of the statue, officials believe a vehicle was involved. The statue stood three feet tall and was made of solid bronze. Officials believe that bolt cutters were used. Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700.
Walnut has some big plans for Walnut Ranch Park. The city is considering a $20 million aquatics complex that will be second to none off Amar Road. City council looked at the first schematics during a study session last week. The master plan was done by the Aquatic Design Group of Carlsbad. The plan was presented by Aquatic Vice President Justin Caron and Mary Rooney, Walnut’s Community Services Director. The design group was contacted by Walnut in February to develop ideas for the new aquatics center. After meeting with the city staff, Aquatic provided four different proposals. It was then hired to provide a master plan for an aquatics center, community building, amphitheater and new parking lots. The plan also included relocating the existing trailhead and adding restrooms for the soccer field to the east and trail users. The master plan features two pools. An 8,512 square foot recreation pool will have a river current channel, zero-depth beach style entry and six swimming lanes. An 8,684 square foot competition 35-meter pool will offer 14 lanes. The city plans to sell unused park land in Three Oaks. It officially abandoned the land so it could seek bids to sell it. The new aquatic center at Walnut Ranch Park will also have a 4,945 square foot spray park with interactive play equipment. Adding to the fun will be three waterslides with individual run-out flumes. A new amphitheater with covered stage and four tiered seating area will hold up to 1,000 people for the very popular concerts in the park and other performances. A secondary restroom will serve either the amphitheater or pools. It will also have a concession stand. The 6,828 square foot main building will become the long awaited community building. This will feature a 2,200 square foot multipurpose banquet room with a garden reception area and concessions area. The building will also hold men’s and women’s locker rooms, a lobby, five staff offices and two storage areas. The complex would have a large parking lot with space for 333 cars, as well as a smaller lot with 33 spaces. The entrance will be off Amar, an extension of the existing Alta Sierra Road. A new traffic signal and turn lanes will be required. City council wants the aquatics center to pay for its operating costs. Council emphasized that this master plan was not a final design. The city still has to approve moving forward into more detailed design.
The city was left with a $6.3 million surplus after positive revenue gains and winnings from two legal settlements in the last fiscal year. The City Council this week agreed, 4- 1, to utilize $2.3 million of those funds to take care of the deficits in the following accounts: the General Capital Improvement Fund, the Animal Shelter Fund and the Self-funded Liability Fund. The practice follows a new policy to allocate any excess funds above 10 percent of the budget – or $4 million of the $42 million – to pay off existing debts in other city funds. The city allocated $826,535 to fund capital improvements, $591,650 for animal services and $179,940 to the self-funded liability account. In a separate action, the council also agreed to reverse a prior transfer of $716,000 from the former Redevelopment Agency to the General Fund. The transfer actually occurred in 2010, was meant to help pay for improvements on Foothill Boulevard.
The issue was the city didn’t have a contract in place that would have shown Upland had taken redevelopment money for a project it did in prior years.