Azusa City Council members voted on Monday, Aug. 17, to approve new bonds to pay for the unfunded accrued liability of the city’s pensions.
The city has approximately $83.5 million in unfunded accrued liability, the city’s staff report reads. In March, the City Council approved to move $10.7 million in cash from its sewer, water and electric utility funds toward the unfunded accrued liability. The newly passed bonds, which cost around $70 million, coupled with that cash would cover those unfunded costs, the staff report says. Azusa has already paid $5.4 million of its unfunded accrued liability costs from those utility funds, according to a presentation from Michael Bush, the president of Urban Futures, the city’s financial advisory team.
In June the Chino City Council held a public hearing on a $4.32 million cost savings on its share of the 60 Freeway Central Avenue Bridge improvement project. The purpose of the meeting was to memorialize the approval of a new freeway agreement and a new freeway maintenance agreement with the state of California, acting through the Department of Transportation. Upon allocation of funds, bids will be advertised and construction award will begin in September.
The project will cost $33,649,197. The share from the City of Chino, City of Montclair and San Bernardino County is $20,053,528. Chino will be responsible for $14,974,384 of the cost. The city is responsible for 91.8 percent, the county’s share is 7.6 percent and Montclair’s share is .6 percent.
The Trade Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF) targeted $1.2 billion for the Los Angeles/Inland Empire Corridor, of which San Bernardino County received a total of $121 million.
The TCIF program is more than 10 years old and most projects are completed or finishing construction. The State Route 60 Central Avenue Interchange Improvement project is the only project that is eligible for the funding and able to meet the allocation deadline of June 2020.
A total of $8.6 million is available for local use. The project was initially approved in 2014.
The city of Montclair and the unincorporated county of San Bernardino will pay a portion of the cost. The Chino city council on June 5 approved an agreement with the California Transportation Commission, the California Department of Transportation, and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.
The City of Chino Hills has written a letter to San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman opposing the operation of home-based restaurants that are legal under a state law that went into effect January 2019.
The law, known as AB 626, allows residents to operate kitchens in their homes where the food could be picked up, delivered, or consumed at the home. The city council is asking the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors to forbid such operations in the county. The Board of Supervisors discussed the possibility of allowing such businesses six months ago but asked for additional study and a report from Public Health staff.
The report was delayed because of the coronavirus, and the matter will return to the board at an undetermined date.
An authorization by the county automatically opts in all cities within the county, according to a presentation made to the board by Department of Public Health Director. Cities cannot impose zoning restrictions on the businesses and oversight would be limited to code enforcement violations if neighbors complain about odors, traffic, parking or noise.
Riverside County is the only jurisdiction in California to have opted in.
A home restaurant would be allowed to employ one person in addition to household members, serve up to 30 meals a day or 60 meals a week, and generate up to $50,000 in gross sales a year.
The operation would be exempt from several health and safety rules placed on traditional restaurants, including a handwashing sink, exhaust hood ventilation requirements, certain sanitation requirements, and a letter grade card in the window, according to city and county staff reports.
Under the law, home kitchens can only be inspected once a year and by appointment only, unlike the unannounced visits made by health inspectors to restaurants.
In addition, the law would allow home restaurants to operate in apartments and accessory dwelling units that are located on the premises of residents and apartments.
Additionally in Chino Hills; Shopoff Realty Investments announced that the company has sold 320 acres of land in Chino Hills as permanent open space to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), who will own and manage the land. The land was originally purchased as part of a larger portfolio that has since been separated and monetized.
“The stretch of land is completely undeveloped and borders Chino Hills State Park on three sides. While Shopoff is usually in the business of land entitlement and development, the firm recognized early on that this piece of property was unique with its steep hillsides and rustic terrain, and would be best left undeveloped as open space, providing more protected land for the benefit of the public,” according to a statement.
The permanent preservation was made possible by use of funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The property will now provide connectivity and habitat for wildlife and will expand the protected lands adjacent to Chino Hills State Park.
One factor that complicated this sale was that the property’s mineral rights were sold off by previous landowners in the early 1900s due to the land’s potential for oil and gas production, a common practice for many properties in this region. Without ownership of these mineral rights, the property could not be sold using state conservation funding. In order to make this sale possible, the firm had to obtain the mineral rights for the property, which were sold many decades prior. Ultimately, Shopoff was able to track down the heirs, and negotiate a purchase of the mineral rights, allowing the sale of the land to MCRA.
During a special meeting of the Claremont City Council on Aug. 11, the Claremont City Council unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance giving local authorities the ability to fine people observed in public without face coverings. First-time offenders would face a $100 fine, rising to $200 for a second offense in a single year and $500 for a third. An individual could get a second or third ticket in a single day if that person continues to refuse to wear a face covering. Citations would not involve the court system, but would be handled completely at city hall and those cited could request a hearing.
The proposed urgency ordinance creates four ‘mask zones’ where non-exempt individuals must wear masks unless they can demonstrate (by a preponderance of the evidence) that it is feasible to maintain a distance of at least six feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence at all times according to the staff report.
The four “mask zones”—Thompson Creek Trail, the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, the Village and the Village expansion—were identified as areas that consistently have large concentrations of people. In these zones, individuals not wearing a mask would have to prove that they were able to maintain six feet of physical distancing to avoid a penalty, which is a key distinction. In the rest of the city, one could still face a fine but the onus falls on the person writing the ticket to prove that social distancing was not being followed.
The city will concentrate its enforcement in the four zones. The boundaries for the two Village areas include the railroad tracks on the south, College Avenue on the east and Cornell Avenue on the west. The northern boundary for the Village will be Harrison Avenue, and for the Village expansion will be Bonita Avenue.
Claremont staff said that the ordinance would be enforced by city employees with the authority to write a citation, and that the bulk of that responsibility would fall on the shoulders of the park rangers. Reserve police officers and the community services officer also have the authority to write citations.
During the meeting both the council and staff agreed that the goal in passing the ordinance was not to issue citations to the public but to slow the spread of the virus through compliance with the existing mask order. City employees whose jobs include handing out such tickets would do so only if asking someone to wear a mask does not work.
Los Angeles County’s face covering order went into effect on June 19 and requires: “All persons wear a cloth face covering over both the nose and mouth whenever they leave their place of residence and are, or can be, in contact with or walking near or past others who are non-household members in both public and private places, whether indoors or outdoors.”
The city’s ordinance would end when the county and state health orders mandating the wearing of masks are rescinded, or at the city’s discretion.
Exemptions to the ordinance include: children under the age of two; people with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask; people working in areas where wearing a mask creates a safety hazard; people obtaining a service involving the nose or face; the hearing impaired; people seated at restaurants; people who are incarcerated; and those working outside or exercising, as long as they can safely maintain six feet of distance from others.
Goodman Group has finalized the construction of Goodman Logistics Center El Monte, a 1.2 million-square-foot industrial property. The development provides between 227,850 and 935,657 square feet of space to prospective tenants.
Located at 4300 Shirley Ave., the facility has a LEED-certified shell, 36-foot clear heights, a 185-foot truck court, 147 dock-level doors, 536 parking spaces and 164 trailer stalls. Additionally, the property features 24/7 access, on-site security, office space and ESFR sprinklers.
The center is close to Interstate 10, which also provides access to Interstate 605. The site is 13 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles and within 24 miles from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The facility’s location could serve as many as 20 million consumers in Los Angeles County.
Demand for e-commerce goods is on the rise and the industry is expected to reach $6.5 trillion in value by 2023, according to Goodman Group data. Last year, Mutual Trading Co., a Japanese distributor of food, beverages and restaurant supplies, signed a 300,000-square-foot lease at Goodman Logistics Center El Monte. The company moved to the site from five locations and consolidated its operations under one roof to improve its supply chain.
Crews will be fully rebuilding the railroad crossing on Glendora Avenue in the city of Glendora, as part of the 9.1-mile Foothill Gold Line light rail project. This work requires a full closure of Glendora Avenue at the railroad crossing for approximately 5 months. SoCal Gas Co. and Frontier Communications will be relocating underground utilities for the first month. Kiewit-Parsons will use the remainder of the closure time to complete the rest of the grade crossing reconstruction.
Closure began Aug. 21 and continues thru Jan. 15. The street will be fully closed to all traffic both vehicular and pedestrian, at the railroad crossing 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Ada Avenue, just north of the crossing and Route 66, which is just south of the crossing, will remain open and accessible by way of detour routes.
Crews plan to work daily 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., Monday thru Saturday. Be aware that occasional longer working hours may be needed. The city approved working hours are 7 a.m.–9 p.m., seven days a week, which is consistent with the City’s municipal code.
Access will be available to local homes and businesses on Glendora Avenue, within the closure area north and south of the railroad crossing. A detour route will be in place during the closure and signage will be posted to direct motorists and pedestrians. Follow all detour signs.
Vermont Avenue, both northbound and southbound, will remain open and serve as the main detour route. · Ada Ave both eastbound and westbound will remain open. · Route 66 both eastbound and westbound will remain open. · A truck detour route will be in place during the closure and signage will be posted to direct all large trucks. Please follow detour signs. · Grand Ave both northbound and southbound will serve as the main truck detour route. · Noise from construction equipment will be produced near the active work zones. · Bus stops may be temporarily relocated, for more information: · Foothill Transit Bus: (800) RIDE-INFO/ (800) 743-3463 or foothilltransit.org · Metro Bus: (323) GO-METRO/ 323) 466-3876 or www.metro.net
Project Construction Questions Hotline: (626) 513-5788; General Project Questions: (626) 471-9050; e-mail: CommunityRelations@Kiewit-Parsons.com; e-mail: PublicAffairs@Foothillgoldline.org; SoCal Gas: (877) 238-0092 / (800) 427-2200; Frontier Communications: (800) 239-4430. Stay ahead of construction, sign up for alerts: www.foothillgoldline.org
The Mogharebi Group has completed the sale of Amber Ridge, a 147-unit community located at 2421 Foothill Blvd., on the historic Route 66 in La Verne. The property sold with multiple offers for a record-setting sales price of $49.7 million or $338,095 per unit.
Amber Ridge is located near University of La Verne and the prestigious Claremont Colleges, a top-ranked regional college, drawing a high level of interested buyers. The property has been maintained under the same ownership for over 30 years.
Built in 1973 & 2006, Amber Ridge is comprised of 25 buildings totaling 152,861 rentable square feet on a 9.63-acre site. Amber Ridge boasts a resort-style swimming pool, clubhouse with a full kitchen and fireplace, outdoor BBQ & entertainment area, leasing center, business center, fitness center, pet grooming salon, tot lot, and a mix of garaged and covered parking.
Greystar continues to move forward on The Gabriel, a 312-unit multifamily project in North Pomona. The four-level Type V wrap development is located on a 4.2-acre land parcel at Bonita and Garey Avenue, situated between Claremont and La Verne.
The KTGY-design plan includes units ranging from 660 to 1,397 square feet, in one- to three-bedroom floor plans. The community will feature a Zen courtyard, urban garden courtyard, and an active courtyard. The property will also have a variety of amenities including a pool, fitness center, clubhouse, co-working space, and pub room.
Greystar and HQ Capital entered a joint venture to develop, lease, and operate the asset, with Greystar also acting as general contractor. Delivery of the first units at The Gabriel is expected in December of 2021 and project completion is expected in June 2022.
The city launched its RC CARES COVID-19 Community Relief Program last Monday, Aug. 24 (through Sept. 4), the first day renters and business owners could apply online for a host of grants funded by the city’s relief budget.
Funding comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The city’s portion amounted to about $2.2 million, the city reported. The relief fund program was approved by the City Council on July 15.
City officials predict that after more than six months of a pandemic that has resulted in 40 million jobless benefit claims nationwide, the request from qualified applicants will exceed the nearly $2 million in relief funds.
When the application period closes at 5 p.m Sept. 4, the city will conduct a lottery to help choose grant recipients, the city reported.
The city’s relief program is one of the most extensive of any city in San Bernardino County. Applicants must meet qualifications, such as live in the city, as well as income requirements, for example. The program has four components:
Residential Rental Assistance: Provides up to three months of rental assistance to prevent eviction. The maximum grant is $1,200 per month for up to three consecutive months. The city will pay the landlord. Renters must be at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), have lost income due to COVID-19 and are at risk losing housing or eviction.
A San Dimas biotechnology firm was awarded a $42 million contract by the Department of Defense to provide 250,000 coronavirus oral fluid swab test kits to military treatment facilities.
The contract with Curative Inc. also provides for end-to-end testing operations, including testing at its lab, laboratory validation studies, personnel training, custom software integrations with electronic health records, shipping and test results. Under the contract, test kits and associated support will be provided to more than 100 military treatment facilities across the DOD in a manner that addresses medically urgent and emergent needs.
The test is also self-administered, meaning health care workers observe and guide patients through the sample collection process from a distance which significantly decreases both the demand placed on frontline staff and the need for frequent changing of personal protective equipment. To collect a sample for testing, the patient is first instructed to cough three times, releasing particles from the upper and lower respiratory tract into the patient’s saliva.The patient then swabs the inside of the mouth and seals the swab in a secure container for laboratory processing. Results are made available to patients via an electronic medical record within two to three days.
The contract follows a demonstration of Curative’s testing method at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, where approximately 7,800 joint active duty personnel were tested over a three-day period in June. Curative conducts Los Angeles’ drive-through coronavirus testing. Funding for the contract comes from the coronavirus aid bill.
SOUTH EL MONTE
All cities are required by state law to devise plans to accommodate future housing needs, including for those of lower incomes; but two local cities were on the state’s bad list for failing to approve a so-called housing plan.
South El Monte is now off that list.
South El Monte’s housing plan calls for all properties zoned commercial-residential to have a minimum residential density of 20 units per acre.
Currently, the zone has a maximum density of 35 units per acre if located adjacent to single-family residential, 87 units per acre if located adjacent to multifamily developments, and 100 units per acre when not adjacent to any residential zone.
Clare Properties, the developer of the Commons, a proposed development on the northwest corner of Monte Vista Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, is suing the city of Upland due to a conflict regarding environmental review.
The plan for the Commons encompasses 9.5 acres, three acres of which are located in Upland. The Upland side of the project would contain 48 of the 68 total townhomes included in the plan.
Due to initial backlash from the city of Upland regarding the development, Clare Properties has said that it will either build the Upland side of the project pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 35, or not build it at all.
SB 35, signed in September 2017 and effective since January 2018, allows for a streamlined approval process for the construction of affordable housing. Projects that go through SB 35 are subject to a ministerial approval process and do not require environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Because of this, the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) issued in April only included an assessment of the 6.5 acres located within Claremont. On June 15, the city of Upland responded to the report demanding that a new DEIR should include the Upland portion of the project and be recirculated for public review and comment.
A letter sent by the Upland planning division also expressed frustration with the developer’s plan to construct via SB 35. [Going through SB 35] would mean that the environmental consequences of developing 48 new homes on 3.0 acres that lie within the flight path of the Cable Airport would never be analyzed or disclosed to the public, asserts the City of Upland.
The city of Upland also asserts that the project does not qualify for construction under SB 35, which Clare Properties disputes. To qualify for SB 35, projects must meet a number of criteria, including that at least 50 percent of the proposed residential units are classified as “affordable” and that the project meets the objective standards of the city’s planning code.
According to the city of Upland, it has determined as a matter of law that development of the project within Upland does not qualify for SB 35 review because it does not meet several of the city’s objective standards.
West Covina is planning a taxable lease revenue bond deal that uses their city streets as collateral. The West Covina Public Financing Authority priced $205 million in lease revenue bonds July 24 to pay off its nearly $200 million in unfunded accrued California Public Employees’ Retirement System liabilities. The bond issue also provides $1 million in working capital that would be paid back in four years.
The bonds, rated A-plus by S&P Global Ratings and carrying a 10-year par call, priced to yield between 1.747% for a 2021 maturity and 3.892% for 2044.
Lease revenue bonds do give cities more control of the process and timing, since they aren’t at the mercy of the court’s schedule for the validation. The validation process typically takes three to four months but during the pandemic, it is sometimes taking longer.
Depending on the legal structure, there may be added flexibility for use of proceeds to CalPERS or more strategic timing of investing in the market.
CalPERS’ estimates that it is 70.8% funded, which is based on an assumption of future investment earnings averaging 7% a year. In the 2019-20 fiscal year that ended June 30, CalPERS posted a 4.7% return. Over the last 20 years, it has averaged 5.5% by its own calculation. Cities may have more reason to look to pension bonds to ease the pressure of pension liabilities with the decline in revenues resulting from the recession brought on by the cease of business amid the pandemic, but they also may be bracing themselves against the potential for contribution increases from CalPERS.