Claremont Insider: Planning Commission Considers Hot Topics

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Planning Commission Considers Hot Topics

You may have noticed that long-empty property at the northeast corner of Mills Ave. and Foothill Blvd. There used to be a Union 76 gas station there that always seemed three to five cents higher than anywhere else. Some West L.A. folks bought the property and put up a brand new building there, and it has been empty for quite a while now, thanks to the owners' unwillingness to charge anything lower than West L.A. rent for the Inland Empire property.

Here's a photo of the location:

Click on image to enlarge

We heard a few months back that a 7-Eleven was being planned for the site, but we didn't see much going on with the property. We suspected that the 7-Eleven wouldn't be too popular with the residents closest to the location, though students at the Claremont Colleges might appreciate a having another nearby 24-hour convenience store. There are Arco and Chevron mini-marts at Claremont Blvd. and Foothill Blvd, but our town can always use another outlet for 3am strawberry-frosted Pop-Tart cravings.

The reader who sent in the photo of the site also wrote to tell us that there will be a public hearing tonight at 7pm tonight regarding the 7-Eleven:
SUBJECT: Public Hearing for proposed 7-eleven (Foothill & Mills)
DATE: Mon, February 15, 2010 7:24:49 PM
TO: Claremont Buzz


...I am a Claremont resident. A few days ago, I took a walk around the neighborhood and noted a sign (small) alerting residents of a public hearing held Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7pm for a proposed 7-eleven on 601 Foothill (corner of Foothill & Mills).

I just moved to the area last year and I am not sure what exactly this means but in an effort to alert more informed residents, I pass this along to you. We definitely don't need or want a 7-eleven which may impact the area negatively.

As an aside, please keep it up. I enjoy reading your blog and keeping myself informed about my neighborhood via your site.


The hearing the reader is referring to is a regularly scheduled meeting of Claremont's Planning Commission in the City Council chambers at 225 West Second St. in the Claremont Village. The 7-Eleven applicant is seeking a conditional use permit (CUP) to operate the business. The matter is the third item on the agenda.

Here is the staff report for the 7-Eleven CUP.

* * * * *

Residents concerned about the 7-Eleven may have to wait a bit to be heard. Item number two on the agenda is a proposed ordinance to allow drive-throughs in Claremont.

The issue is a contentious one and represents a collision between the City's desire to help balance its books by bringing in a drive-through Walgreens pharmacy and Fresh & Easy grocery store to the Peppertree Square shopping center at Arrow Hwy. and Indian Hill Blvd. The City really needs the sales tax revenue those stores represent, but traditionalists in town feel that part of Claremont's charm is that there are no drive-throughs allowed.

The local group Protect our Neighborhoods falls into the latter category, and they've lined up against the proposed revision, according to an article by the Daily Bulletin's Wes Woods II:
Residents Peter Farquhar, Andrea Farquhar and Colleen O'Brien spoke out against the drive-through ordinance at that meeting, as did Ray Fowler, representing Protect Our Neighborhoods. Fowler gave the city a letter from the group's attorney.

Fowler read to the commission from a statement to that he later read at the Dec. 8 City Council meeting.

"We believe that a recently proposed ordinance that would allow the development of banks and pharmacies with drive-throughs would be in conflict with the city's goal of becoming a sustainable community because it seeks only immediate, not long-term, economic gains and it forgoes consideration of the negative environmental impacts of allowing such development," according to the statement.

The article said that PON also had their attorney, Amy Minteer, send the Planning Commission a letter outlining the group's concerns. The City is hinting that retaining the drive-through ban will cause Walgreens to scuttle its plans to move into Peppertree Square, and that in turn may cause Fresh & Easy to pull out as well, ending any immediate prospects for South Claremonters to get that grocery store they've been waiting for.

There should be plenty of debate on this one as well as the 7-Eleven, so the planning commissioners will probably be for a long night. They just may have to send out for Pop-Tarts.