REGION – Gold Line News
Local elected officials were in Pomona along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Oct. 4 to commemorate the signing of a construction contract for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension.
The initiative consists of 28 Metro projects for potential completion by the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The contract includes $805.6 million to study the first nine-miles of the project from Glendora to Pomona, with a two-year contract option to complete the full 12.3-mile project to Montclair for a total contract amount of $1.1 billion, if additional funds are secured by October 2021, officials said.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board of Directors awarded the design-build contract for the next segment of the Metro Gold Line light rail system to the Kiewit-Parsons team in August.
With the contract now executed, the project will begin major construction in 2020 and be completed to Pomona in 2025, and if the contract option is activated, the entire project will be completed to Montclair in 2028.
The contract includes: relocating existing freight tracks; installing the light-rail track system; four new light-rail stations in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona; improvements at 40 grade crossings, and more.
The project could create as many as 16,000 jobs and up to $2.6 billion of economic output for the region, as well as up to $1 billion in labor income and potentially $40 million in tax revenue, according to a study by Beacon Economics.
In four years, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers has gone from zero to 20 restaurants in Southern California.
Restaurant No. 20, a two-lane drive-thru, opened at 855 E. Alosta Ave., on Oct. 23. Design elements for Azusa include a metallic numeral 1 representing the chain’s “One Love” slogan, that love being chicken fingers.
Raising Cane’s is a Louisiana-based fast-food chain with a single-minded devotion to its core-product and a menu almost as stripped-down as In-N-Out Burger, an inspiration to founder Todd Graves. Raising Cane’s complements its chicken fingers with its own dipping sauce, crinkle-cut fries, Texas toast, coleslaw, and lemonade.
The region’s first Raising Cane’s opened in Costa Mesa in October 2015. It now has locations in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
Phoenix Mecano Inc., the North American sales and value-added manufacturer of the Swiss-based holding company Phoenix Mecano Group, opened its American-based facility in Chino.
The facility will aid in the ongoing expansion of Phoenix Mecano’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the western regions of the United States. This expansion will also allow customers to enjoy extended availability when calling or contacting North American operations.
According to company officials, having been located in California for the past 10 years, the expanded office now offers 6044 total square feet, featuring over 4500 square footage of warehouse space which will allow Phoenix Mecano to be better-positioned to provide product needs to its customer base from coast to coast.
With this new location, Phoenix Mecano said it continues to expand and carry forward its longstanding mission of technical expertise, quality products, and streamlined processes that create faster and more efficient solutions to customer challenges.
Claremont is continuing to monitor the health of the Chinese Pistache trees on Base Line Road suffering from past drought conditions. After increased watering and close monitoring, it has been determined 26 of the trees are dead or in severe decline and in need of removal. The trees were scheduled for removal in October. The removal of these trees will open up planting space for future climate appropriate trees as well as reduce insect and disease pressure on the remaining 80+ healthier trees.
City staff will continue to monitor the situation and track the recovery of the remaining trees. Additionally, the city’s landscape contractor is in the process of removing and trimming back overgrown shrubbery along the north side of Base Line Road. This vegetation will grow back quickly and be maintained at height of 3′ for ease of maintenance. For more information, please contact Community Services at (909) 399-5431.
Covina leaders and residents learned earlier this month about the successes and problems found during the city’s monthlong homeless outreach effort in September.
The effort, known as Operation RESET Covina — with RESET standing for Resource Enhancement Services and Enforcement Team — brought together its Public Works, Community Services and Police departments with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, nonprofit homeless service providers and faith-based organizations.
On the four Wednesdays in September, the groups sent teams into the city to contact Covina’s homeless residents and offer counseling, health and mental health care, housing and more to those living on the streets.
Across the four days, the teams met with 76 people, some multiple times, equaling 127 separate contacts. Of those 76:
21 identified Covina as their city of origin.
37 were interested in accepting some type of assistance.
26 reported problems with drugs or alcohol.
25 reported mental health issues.
The city spent between $22,000 and $25,000, which does not include the costs incurred by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department or other agencies, on the efforts, City Manager Brian Saeki said.
The operation led the city to draw several conclusions about homelessness in the city, along with the pros and cons of how it’s currently being addressed:
The city now has a comprehensive grasp on which organizations provide services for homeless individuals.
The lack of housing is a major roadblock, with people waiting 12 to 16 months for housing or an open bed.
It’s challenging for police officers to establish relationships with homeless individuals when they do outreach on one day and enforcement the next.
Homeless individuals are often the victims of crime at the hands of other people experiencing homelessness.
Drug issues, especially methamphetamine, are a major, contributing factor.
City staff is working on developing a pared-down, less expensive version of Operation RESET for use in the future and intends to continue to work with the city’s two mental health care facilities — Emanate Health Inter-Community Hospital and Aurora Charter Oak Hospital — to improve the discharge of their patients.
Representatives for Social Model Recovery Systems, a nonprofit organization that provides drug and alcohol and mental health treatment services, and Emanate Health praised Covina for the operation.
In addition to receiving the Operation RESET report, the City Council also adopted an ordinance that criminalizes leaving “bulky” items — one or more items that cumulatively are too large to fit in a 60-gallon trash container — in public spaces that block sidewalks or pathways.
Violators would be fined $100 on first offense, $200 on second offense and $500 for additional offenses.
While City Councilman Jorge Marquez wondered if the fines were realistic given that people experiencing homelessness are not likely to have the money to pay them, the council unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance.
For the past two years, homelessness has been a major issue in Covina. Preliminary data from the 2019 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count indicate 180 people experiencing homelessness were in Covina on one night in January. That number represents an 86% increase from 2018.
The Bascom Group, LLC has acquired Atrium Apartments, a 39-unit apartment community in El Monte. Atrium was built in 1963 and is located at 3733 Gibson Road. Bascom purchased Atrium for $9,700,000, or $248,718 per unit or $312.00 per square foot
Atrium marks Bascom’s 39th multifamily property closed in Los Angeles County and its 169th multifamily property closed in California. In the past twelve months, Bascom has completed over $1.5 billion in multifamily transactions throughout the United States.
Atrium provides ideal access to major economic centers and dynamic cores, including downtown Los Angeles, Arts District, Pasadena, Commerce, City of Industry and Long Beach. Since 2014, El Monte has facilitated 2.88 million square feet of commercial development projects in a concerted effort to transform El Monte into a leading, local economy in the San Gabriel Valley. A diverse industry base combined with El Monte’s growth agenda will continue lifting the demand for quality, workforce housing.
The Mogharebi Group (TMG) completed the record sale of Hallmark at Mission, a 75-unit multifamily community at 1201 W. Mission Blvd., Ontario. Waterford Property Company paid $21.5 million for the four-story asset built in 2019.
Waterford’s Sean Rawson says, “What makes this acquisition so exciting is that it is a new asset acquired near replacement costs with the ability to enhance value. We recognize what today’s renter wants in their home. That’s why we are going to elevate the property to attract young professionals and families as well as ensure this property reflects the signature brand of Waterford’s portfolio.”
Waterford plans to invest nearly $1 million to further enhance the residences and amenities. Units include washers and dryers, and private garages. Common area amenities include a private clubhouse, library, business center, community room with kitchen, and fitness center. There’s also a pool and spa, outdoor entertainment lounge and fireplace, dining area with barbeques, and a private pet park.
TMG’s Alex Mogharebi, Otto Ozen and Mike Marcu represented the seller, an unnamed Inland Empire based developer, as well as the Newport Beach-based buyer. Ozen says, “At a price-per-square-foot of $355, this transaction represents a record for apartment communities in Ontario. The record setting price is attributable to several factors, including a lack of available new construction inventory, our proprietary exchange platform, the high quality of the asset, and strong rental growth in the submarket.”
More than a year after it placed a moratorium on citing street vendors after first banning such activity in the city, Pomona is poised to legalize sales with restrictions on time and location.
Among the new regulations introduced in an ordinance this week, street vendors will have to be more than 200 feet away from the Fox Theater on a night of an event. The city’s new ordinance also eliminated the placement of tables and chairs on sidewalks, as well as using megaphones, and lighting because it creates a public nuisance.
Street vendors will be required to obtain a business license from Pomona and a health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Getting to this point has been a more than yearlong effort.
In July 2018, city officials announced they would implement a zero-tolerance policy on sidewalk vending after a rise in complaints. The announcement sparked some backlash and prompted Sandoval to ask that street vendors not be cited while the City Council drafted an ordinance to legalize their sales. Since then, the state Legislature’s passage of SB 956 decriminalized sidewalk vending.
After two years of community outreach, the Rancho Cucamonga City Council on Oct. 2 approved a plan to annex 4,088 acres of county land into the northern portion of the city that could add 3,000 homes and increase the city’s population by at least 9,000 people.
Annexation proposals must be approved by the San Bernardino County Local Agency Formation Commission. If approved, the city would implement the Etiwanda Heights Neighborhood and Conservation Plan on any future development. This includes some 1,200 acres of surplus land being sold by the San Bernardino County Flood Control District.
The new blueprint covers 4,393 acres of unincorporated county area extending from Haven Avenue east to the city’s border with Fontana and from the northern city limits to the San Bernardino National Forest boundary, including 305 acres of rocky, hillside terrain already in the city. The plan overlays specific zoning, housing density formulas and amenities that include 790 acres for building single-family homes with streets but no curbs or sidewalks; clustered housing with no dead-end streets or cul-de-sacs in order to increase fire safety, and two blocks for commercial shops described in the plan as having “a small-town, Main Street character with a distinctly rural twist.”
The plan also includes a 3,603-acre rural/conservation area that would set aside three separate preserves to provide open space, keep views of the nearby mountains unobstructed and protect endangered plants, such as the Plummer’s mariposa lily and Parry’s spineflower. This particular area fronting the mountains would allow a maximum of 100 homes. Also, the plan creates five different neighborhoods with varying architectural designs; 85 acres of parks and 11 miles of trails, including a public equestrian center with stables and an arena.
Mayor L. Dennis Michael said he voted for the annexation and specific plan in order to cede local control over development decisions to the city of Rancho Cucamonga and stave off “a hodge-podge” of houses and retail if left in the hands of San Bernardino County.
“The county of San Bernardino is not set up to deal with good, wise planning decisions,” he said.
But landowners living in the unincorporated area, within what’s called the city’s sphere of influence, said they were opposed to the plan. They were concerned that city zoning in the specific plan would decrease their property values.
“I am in opposition to any plan that reduces the density and value of our property,” said Lori Larson, who owns 40 acres in the proposed annexation area.
Tom Griffey, a real estate agent who represents six property owners, said lowered densities reduces the value to the owner if the land were sold to a developer. “One client spent $6 million and you only gave him three building sites. That hardly seems equitable to me.”
The average zoning density in the plan is 3 ½ units per acre, said Matt Burris, deputy city manager. Some areas have lower densities and some higher, he said.
Councilwoman Lynne Kennedy responded, saying the city has the highest property values of any Inland Empire city, mostly due to good planning. “There is no intent in devaluing property,” she assured, calling the plan “very well done.”
Other residents at the public hearing spoke in favor, saying the parks and green spaces will help children get out of the house and away from their video games to exercise.
Don Smith, a 19-year resident, said the city possesses “the gold standard” for its outreach efforts and for producing a complete and balanced development plan that will help with the state’s housing crisis. The city reported it had reached 150,000 people online and 1,000 in person in small-group meetings and at an open house since the May 16, 2018, City Council meeting when most members of the community said they didn’t like the first iteration of the annexation proposal.
“It is a level of community engagement I have never seen in my career,” Burris told the audience.
The final Environmental Impact Report, the specific plan and the zoning changes must come back for a second vote at the next City Council meeting on Nov. 6, Michael said. The meeting of Oct. 16 was canceled for lack of a quorum.
A San Dimas coyote management plan that includes trapping and euthanizing problematic animals was largely dismissed by community members who turned out for a recent forum.
Residents from San Dimas and neighboring cities are calling for the city to take a more aggressive approach and implement a coyote culling program, or widespread trapping and euthanizing coyotes without cause.
“You’re not going to be able to kill your way out of the problem,” said Jim Hartman, with Los Angeles County Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures. A culling program may appear to fix the problem for six months or even a few years but eventually the coyotes will return, he added.
San Dimas presented revisions to a proposed coyote management plan at a community forum Oct. 15 at the Senior Center.
Tensions grew at the start of the meeting as those in attendance called on the city to be proactive in its efforts to control coyotes. For almost an hour, city and wildlife officials also heard from residents in San Dimas, La Verne and Glendora about the increase in coyote attacks on their small animals and fears that young children may be next.
One of the issues is the lack of studies on the effectiveness of hazing, or scaring coyotes away from entering backyards and play spaces. The county is in the midst of its own three-year hazing study.
In San Dimas, the City Council in August got its first look at a proposed coyote management plan modeled on a regional program that moved away from trapping and euthanizing the animals and focused on hazing. Several city leaders questioned whether relying on hazing strategies was effective and directed staff to look into trapping methods.
The San Dimas plan initially recommended hazing, said Brad McKinney, San Dimas’ assistant city manager, but he later learned that method works with coyotes that are new to an urban environment.
The city’s revised strategy is a multi-pronged approach that combines public education, enforcement and a tiered response system based on the type of encounter with a coyote.
Under the city’s modified plan, residents will be asked to report any sightings of coyotes. The plan includes educational outreach and staff will visit homes and other areas to ensure there’s nothing to attract the animals, hazing is also recommended. Finally, a coyote may be euthanized under the following scenarios:
If the animal enters a yard and injures or kills an unattended pet, or a pet on a leash;
If it follows a person with a pet, or follows a person without a pet;
If it bites a person.
These incidents would have to be reported to the city, which then would contact Los Angeles County. The decision to trap or remove a coyote would come from a recommendation by a county specialist.
If there is a recommendation to set a trap, it would be checked daily. The trap would be left in a location for 10 days but there is no guarantee that it would catch the problematic coyote.
The cost per trap is $3,000.
Under state law, it is illegal to relocate a coyote. Once it is trapped, the coyote will be euthanized.
After receiving continued complaints from residents, West Covina has begun removing dated, in-road crosswalk lighting, including around Merced Elementary School.
The city uses both older in-road crosswalk light systems — in which lights flash from the crosswalk when someone is crossing — and newer rectangular rapid flashing beacons — double-sided signs at the end of the crosswalk which point at the crosswalk and flash when someone crosses — at its crosswalks not protected by stop signs or traffic signals.
The in-road lights are in six locations:
Merced Avenue and Butterfield Road
Vine Avenue and Glenn Alan Avenue
Merced Avenue southeast of Orange Avenue
Rowland Avenue and Neil Street
Puente Avenue and Nora Avenue
Badillo Street and David Court