The city of Azusa has begun a one-year effort to develop its first Pedestrian Master Plan. Azusa Walks will provide an overview of the pedestrian travel network in the city, identify barriers, and provide options to improve conditions that will encourage walking such as sidewalks and crosswalk improvements.
The project team will develop the plan by using some of the following activities to gather public input:
Azusa Walks is funded through a grant from Southern California Association of Governments.
The survey gathers broad data on what would make it easier to walk in the city and doesn’t collect specific data for corridors, streets, or areas. A comment section is included at the bottom of the question that pertains to improvement recommendations.
The project is supported by an advisory committee composed of members of the Azusa Planning Commission, Parks & Recreation Commission, Senior Advisory Committee, Azusa Unified School District and Azusa Pacific University.
The City of Chino is working with the community to create the city’s first inclusive playground for children with disabilities. The playground can also be used by children without disabilities.
Inclusive playgrounds have wheelchair ramps leading up to playground equipment designed for use by children with disabilities.
The playground will be built at the future Chino Rancho Park at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Phillips Boulevard. The city owns the 1.1-acre vacant property.
There are currently no city parks in that area of town.
The park will also contain fitness stations, walking trails, two pickleball courts, picnic shelter, restrooms, open space, a city of Chino monument, drought tolerant landscape and a parking lot.
The park will be developed with a $2,858,075 state grant awarded to the city last March as part of the 2018 Parks Bond Act Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalizations program Proposition 68 grant. A total of 478 applications were submitted in a competitive grant process for $254,942,000 appropriated by the state to create new parks and recreation opportunities in underserved communities. For more information or to offer ideas and suggestions call: (909) 334-3256.
Chino Hills residents may now build a second house on the same grounds as their home under new state standards that allow more flexibility than previous city standards.
The city’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance, which has been the subject of numerous meetings by the planning commission and city council for a year, went into effect March 11.
The state has enacted laws to accelerate the development of these units to address the housing shortage. The city’s current regulations have been loosened to comply with these new state laws, making it easier for homeowners to offer additional housing on their properties such as rental rooms with a private entrance.
If the city takes longer than 60 days to process an ADU application, the state ordered that the application shall be “deemed” granted.
An ADU is an additional small residence on the same property as a single-family home, such as a back house or small bungalow, sometimes referred to as mother-in-law quarters or granny flats.
An ‘efficiency’ ADU allows a combined living and sleeping area, a full or partial kitchen and a bathroom, and is not intended for more than two people, similar to a studio apartment, that can be attached to, detached from, or contained inside a primary residence.
Residents may build an apartment over a garage if the garage is located behind the house and complies with the setbacks applicable to the primary dwelling.
A “junior” ADU, which would be new in the city, is a dwelling unit of no more than 500-square-feet that is contained in the home or in an attached garage and includes an efficiency kitchen with a cooking facility that includes appliances, sink, counter, and cabinets, and a bathroom wither within the unit or shared with the primary residence.
Unlike the ADU and the efficiency ADU, the junior ADU does not require its own bathroom.
Residents may build ADUs and junior ADUs on their property even if they live in homeowners’ associations with covenants, codes, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that prohibit such units.
Although the ordinance has gone into effect, it must be approved by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
Community development director Joann Lombardo said the HCD has confirmed the ordinance has been received but has not provided any indication as to when it will be reviewed.
The City has received a revised application from Trumark Homes for the development of a housing project on the site of the former La Puerta Intermediate School. The proposed project consists of 65 homes, nine Accessory Housing Units (ADUs), and reconfiguration of La Puerta Sports Park. Trumark has submitted a draft Specific Plan for the 20-acre property, which would require a zone change and Environmental Impact Report.
The Planning Commission held a preliminary review of the project at its meeting on April 6 to provide the developer with initial feedback on the project. The proposed project will go through the city’s Commission and Committee Review Process which can take 12-18 months. On April 14 the Architectural Commission held a Preliminary Review of the proposed project’s design. For more on the proposed project and to view a tentative review schedule,visit the city website.
A townhome project that would be built on the site of the historic Covina Bowl has been approved by the Covina City Council.
Trumark Homes is working on the development at 1060 W. San Bernardino Road, which would have 132 townhomes priced from the low $400,000s.
The units would range from 745 to 1,825 square feet and would feature one to four bedrooms. The buildings have been designed to incorporate architectural elements from the Googie-style bowling alley.
Trumark plans to restore the Covina Bowl sign, put a lawn bowling area where the bowling alley stands now and expects to repurpose materials from the building to create new signs.
Covina Bowl was built in 1956. At the time, the bowling alley was one of the first to have a cocktail lounge and more sophisticated decor, according to Trumark. It was designed by mid-century architectural firm Powers Daly and DeRosa.
The development is one of five residential areas Trumark is working on in Southern California. The others are in San Bernardino, Anaheim, Brea and Escondido.
The City of El Monte has partnered with Northgate Markets to provide bi-monthly boxes of food and groceries to low-income residents in the community, because of concerns about food insecurity rates, which are rising in El Monte due to job losses and other economic hardships.
If you are a resident of El Monte and need food assistance, you can call City Hall at (626) 580-2213, with the program set to run through June.
According to Feeding America, food insecurity was at the lowest rate it had been in 20 years back in 2019. Due to the pandemic, job losses and economic hardship have seen about 42 million people become food insecure.
Every two weeks, staff members at Northgate Markets walk through their aisles and pull necessities such as meat, fruit, dairy, and produce. From there, the groceries are sorted and packed then sent out to 110 low-income families. For many El Monte residents, it is a lifeline during the pandemic.
A portion of Vermont Avenue in Glendora will be closed for more than five months for construction related to the 9.1-mile Foothill Gold Line light rail project.
Vermont will be closed through Sept. 25 between Carroll Avenue and Route 66 to pedestrians and vehicles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Construction will occur between 7 a.m. and midnight, Monday through Saturday, according to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. People will be able to access homes and businesses on Vermont Avenue within the closure area.
Also, Alda Avenue will permanently close at Vermont and become a cul-de-sac.
During construction, crews will relocate underground utilities, install a new safety and communication system, install two new light rail tracks, install the relocated freight track and rebuild the street.
Motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to detour on Glendora Avenue, and bus stops will be temporarily relocated. More information on the Foothill Transit Bus relocations can be accessed by dialing 800-743-3463 or visiting foothilltransit.org. Information about the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority relocations can be accessed at (323) 466-3876 or visiting metro.net.
Residents and businesses near the construction zone can contact (626) 513-5788 or CommunityRelations@Kiewit-Parsons.com for more information.
The Metro Gold Line currently travels from Union Station to Montclair. The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority is working to add new light-rail stations to connect the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair. The project is being built in phases, but the entire extension is expected to be done by 2028.
City Brewing Company LLC, a manufacturer of beverages has announced a $630 million investment program to accelerate the company’s growth. As part of this investment program, City has agreed to acquire the Irwindale brewery operations from Pabst Brewing Company. City plans to re-open the iconic Irwindale brewery formerly owned and operated by Miller Coors. Once operational, the newly named “Irwindale Brew Yard” will be the largest full-service, low-alcohol beverage contract production facility in the western United States. The plant will have initial capacity of approximately 55 million 24 x 12-oz cases per year and is expected to grow to 110 million cases per year by 2024. The facility is expected to begin production in the third quarter of this year and to hire over 150 employees within the next 12 months.
City will add a wide range of processing and packaging capabilities, enabling the Irwindale Brewery to produce hard seltzers, traditional FMBs (flavored malt beverages), mainstream and craft beer, premium non-alcoholic drinks and spirit-based ready-to-drink beverages in a broad variety of primary and secondary packages. The plant will also feature automated variety pack capability.
A midyear budget review shows a stronger finish than expected for the current fiscal year in La Verne, with sales tax revenues projected to come in $550,000 ahead of original estimates last spring.
The city is expecting $4.4 million in sales tax revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends June 30. The figure still remains $100,000 less than what was collected in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Over the past few months, sales tax revenue projections have climbed steadily since the city’s budget was originally adopted in June 2020, increasing from $3.85 million to $4.2 million in October and to $4.5 million in February.
The $100,000 drop from the last budget update is due to an anticipated change in regards to revenue from online shopping, specifically from Amazon and its sales tax reporting. The global e-commerce company may possibly shift some revenues to cities where distribution sites are located instead of where items are shipped.
Revenues in other areas have increased as well, including property taxes, estimated at totaling $5.4 million this year, a $329,000 increase from 2019-20. Motor vehicle in-lieu fees are now projected to hit $3.9 million, resulting in an additional $149,000 in revenue.
Measure LV, a 0.75% sales tax increase approved by La Verne residents in March 2020, will bring in $3.3 million for the current fiscal year. The city’s original projection was $2.7 million.
Nonetheless, the city still saw some significant losses. The Fire Department was forced to shut down in-house transport services in 2020 because of staffing shortages. While one ambulance resumed service last fall, revenues will be about $300,000 this year, a $440,000 decrease from original estimates.
New homes at the Neuhouse community in Ontario went on sale April 10. The community built by Landsea Homes has 334 new homes in three neighborhoods. Amenities include a kids pool, spa, cabanas, fire pit, barbecues, dog park, private park and pool. Neuhouse is also next to a future public park of roughly 27 acres.
Style types include mid-century, modern Spanish and California modern architecture in detached single-family homes in the Rohe neighborhood or attached row and courtyard townhome products in the Eave and Alto neighborhoods.
The single-family homes in the Rohe neighborhood will range from 1,862 to 2,173 square feet with three to four bedrooms and two-and-a-half to three bathrooms. Townhomes in Eave and Alto will range from 949 to 1,612 square feet and have one to three bedrooms and one-and-a-half to three bathrooms.
Prices for detached holmes start at $599,000 and rise to $659,000. Townhomes start in the $300,000 price range and rise to the $500,000s. According to the builder, Phase 1 started construction in February, with construction estimated at two-and-a-half years total.
After concerns about dipping into its reserve funds last spring, Pomona expects to finish out the fiscal year with a $3.3 million surplus.
The stronger-than-expected financial outlook is the result of projected savings in job vacancies and a revised payment strategy on pension obligation bonds.
The city projects to close out the fiscal year on June 30 with a reserve fund balance of $21.8 million. The figure would be well over the city’s 17% minimum fund balance policy.
Higher-than-projected revenues came from areas such as property taxes, expected to end the year approximately $1 million higher than originally budgeted. Sales taxes are estimated at $1.5 million more than originally forecasted, due to more online shopping over the past year. Taxes make up 85% of Pomona’s revenue, according to staff.
Overall, the city expects to spend $109.1 million this fiscal year with revenues reaching $112.5 million. These figures are a contrast from the budget adopted by city leaders in June 2020, which forecast $110.8 million in revenues and appropriations of $116.7 million, resulting in a projected deficit of $5.9 million.
When approving its budget last June, the city did so with the possibility of laying off workers and making deep cuts. A series of discussions included stringent salary reductions and leaving city positions unfilled to help balance the budget.
To stay in line with goals, all city departments will continue to operate within budget and will monitor expenditures. Additionally, the city earmarked $45,000 for the new Independent Redistricting Commission and marketing associated with the commission’s work. Another $150,000 is budgeted in the upcoming fiscal year for the commission, according to a city staff report.
Despite the improved financial projections for the current fiscal year, the city is anticipating a $5.6 million deficit for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. For the 2021-22 fiscal year, the city’s spending is budgeted at $118.4 million, a $5.3 million difference from the current year. Also, revenues are expected to drop to $112.8 million, a $404,905 difference from the previous year.
Impacting the budget next year, are an expected drop in the Transient Occupancy Tax, also known as a bed tax, which the city normally collects from hotels, totaling $1 million. City permits, fees and licenses are also projected to decrease $450,000, according to staff.
The projected spending increases include a $1.1 million Humane Society contract and $3 million in pension obligations. Furthermore, a $2.5 million increase for Los Angeles County fire services contract is expected to kick in.
The California Department of Transportation announced a proposal to assist XpressWest in the development of an electric high-speed passenger rail system from Apple Valley to Rancho Cucamonga that would run primarily along Interstate 15.
This project will serve as the second segment of the Brightline West high-speed passenger rail system that will initially connect Apple Valley to Las Vegas over 170 miles of track, with 135 miles in California.
Caltrans entered into a lease agreement with Brightline West on the initial segment in June 2020.
The Cajon Pass segment will add 50 miles to this alignment primarily within the existing I-15 corridor right of way protected by a median barrier, ending with a station constructed adjacent to or connected to the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink train station.
According to Caltrans, “An environmental study estimates that the rail system will reduce carbon emissions by 300,000 metric tons a year – the equivalent of removing nearly 65,000 vehicles off the road. Additionally, XpressWest (a Brightline company) projects that the overall proposed rail system from Las Vegas to Southern California will create “500 new jobs post-production” on top of the already projected “10,000 jobs during the project’s construction.”
No information is provided regarding when the construction along the I-15 would begin or as to how long such construction would last if the memorandum is approved.
The public may submit comments in two different ways: Electronically by emailing email@example.com or written to David Matza at California Department of Transportation, District 8 Office — 464 West 4th Street, 12th Floor, San Bernardino, CA 92401.
Upland took a major step in creating new housing by giving City Ventures, an Irvine-based developer, an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop a plan to build 29 townhomes on a city-owned 1-acre parcel on the northwest corner of First Avenue and A Street.
It would be the first Downtown Upland housing project north of the railroad tracks and would be located less than an eighth of a mile from the Upland Metrolink Station. A townhome project south of the tracks of about 200 units was built in 2016. Commuter rail access just outside front doors is a second-part of the formula and is part of what is called transit-oriented development.
City Ventures is a specialty builder known for multi-family housing projects built on smaller, in-town spaces, often near train or bus stations. They’ve built for-sale housing in 60 California cities, including developments in Downey, Alhambra, Azusa, Carson, La Verne, Santa Ana, West Covina and Covina.
SOUTH EL MONTE
Accela, a provider of cloud-based solutions for government, announced that South El Monte has gone live with a new digital permitting system powered by Accela technology. South El Monte can now automate the management and tracking of permit applications from start to finish that should increase transparency, save valuable time and resources, and improve user experience for both residents and agency staff.
With Accela, the city reports that it will be able to reduce permit processing time by 33% by automating previously manual and paper-based workflows. The new system enables residents to upload documents, submit applications, make payments, check application status, and schedule inspections all in one centralized digital location. In doing so, the city believes it will increase transparency and visibility for residents throughout the permitting process. It also provides agency staff and builders, engineers, and architects with improved project management capabilities to keep important community development projects on schedule and budget.
Due to the widespread economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many pet owners may have put off paying for their required annual pet licenses and incurred late fees. Beginning April 15, the city of Walnut, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC), is waiving late fees for residents renewing or buying a new license for their dog or cat through June 30, 2021. In addition to the late fee amnesty, DACC is happy to offer a free microchip (usually a cost of $7.50) for all pets licensed during this time. Microchipping is mandated in the City of Walnut and greatly increases the likelihood that your pet will be returned to you if lost. The free microchip offer is redeemable by appointment at any of the County’s seven animal care centers+.
If you are not certain if your pet’s license is current or not, you may access your pet’s record on the DACC website, or call (562) 345-0400 to inquire.
+ Residents must make an appointment online and provide proof of payment such as their paper receipt or screenshot of online receipt to redeem their microchip. * Available senior rates if animal is Spayed or Neutered. Senior owner must be sixty (60) years of age. ** With submittal of required documentation.
For more information, call Department of Animal Care and Control License Division at (562) 345-0400.
–Compiled by Bill Ruh, CVAR Director of Government Affairs