In a rare move, the Glendora Planning Commission voted at their August 4 meeting to recommend the City Council deny an application to build 40 detached condominiums.
The Planning Commission voted 3-2 in favor of recommending the project be denied after a lengthy discussion over traffic concerns on neighboring streets and the developer’s desire to eliminate the mixed-use component for this project in the Town Center Mixed Use subdistrict of the hotly-debated Route 66 Specific Plan.
The proposed project by Watt Communities, LLC, would have brought condos to 255 S. Vermont Ave. and 296, 300 and 308 W. Carroll Ave. The two-story, detached condos would range in size from 1,634 to 1,766 square feet.
Planning Commission member Eric Duyshart expressed concern over the potential for noise disturbances from what he believes would be loud train horns coming from freight trains and the future Gold Line. He also expressed concern over the mixed use component being altered for this project ahead of the Route 66 Specific Plan review.
“I have this lingering concern … making exemptions to that document and how we’re going to modify it. From a commissioners perspective, it makes me uncomfortable,” Duyshart said.
While Commissioner Joseph Battaglia commended the developer for presenting a low-density project with a lower overall height, he felt that doing away with the mixed use component entirely for this project could jeopardize mixed-use in the future.
Planning Commission member Andrew Jared felt that increasing development in that area would divert traffic congestion to certain nearby streets.
“I think Vermont is traveled too heavily as well and it becomes a back road to Glendora Avenue. I see that as only getting worse with the Gold Line coming in,” Jared said, adding that he believes the project would be shoe-horned into that area, overburdening additional streets nearby.
Jared was also against altering the mixed-use component before the Specific Plan review is complete.
Commission member Michael Matthews also expressed concern over the desired mixed-use zone amendment and what that could mean for future development.
Discussion was continued from the July 7 meeting as Watt Communities worked with the city to address traffic and neighborhood concerns that affected residents expressed at length and to analyze a revised traffic impact study.
The revised study showed an estimated increase in the number of peak a.m. trips with 30 total, compared to the current frequency of 22 trips. Peak p.m. trips would also rise to 40, compared to the current 15 trips, said Jerry Burke, assistant Public Woks Director and city engineer.
Some concerns addressed by public speakers regarded overloading nearby streets with traffic and the street width requirements for a certain numbers of lots.
The traffic engineer examined nearby Washington and Pennsylvania avenues, which both have a width of 30 feet and determined that the highest peak volume of trips was 34, far below the maximum of 400 vehicles per hour, Burke said.
A letter submitted during public comment at the July 7 meeting that mentioned the Glendora Municipal Code requires a street width of 40 feet when serving more than 24 lots. Pennsylvania, Washington and Carroll avenues each serve less than 24 lots, Burke said.
As part of the proposal, a 650-square-foot home and 22,184-square-foot warehouse both built in 1910 would have had to be removed. The warehouse is considered the last citrus packing house in the city, but is not considered historically significant due to numerous additions and renovations made, said Glendora Planning Director Jeff Kugel.
The recommendation to deny the project will next go to the Glendora City Council for consideration.