Only two more Claremont City Council meetings to go until the council's annual August break. Here's what to expect tonight in the council chambers at 225 Second St. in the Claremont Village:
The Claremont City Council will meet in closed session at 5:15pm for a super secret briefing from City Manager Jeff Parker on negotiations with the Claremont police rank-and-file and management associations.
The council will also discuss a liability claim against the City by Kiran Se Corporation, the company that wanted to put a 7-Eleven convenience store in the prize-winning building at 601 E. Foothill Blvd. Seems understandable - the Kiran Se people were encouraged by city staff to proceed with their plans and then had their feet knocked out from underneath them when citizens complained about the proposed store for a variety of reasons (pedestrian safety, worries about binge drinking by college students, the usual Claremont snootiness).
In keeping with a long-standing Claremont tradition, we can probably expect a lawsuit by Kiran Se Corp., which has filed a claim against the the City of Claremont for unspecified damages. We're not sure how far that will go, though. As we recall, Kiran Se withdrew its appeal of the Planning Commission's denial of their Conditional Use Permit, so they did not exhaust their administrative remedies.
If you're interested, you can read the closed session agenda here.
As usual, the council's regular session begins at 6:30pm. You can see the meeting streamed online or watch it later. Just click here.
It's a light agenda.
The consent calendar shows that the City will likely deny a claim for property damage due to the construction of Padua Park.
The public hearings portion of the regular session will take up the matter of Claremont's crosswalk policy with a recommendation to not have new crosswalks installed on Mountain Ave. between Foothill Blvd. and Harrison Ave.--something that may ruffle some feathers in the neighborhoods along Mountain.
City staff is also recommending revising the City's system of in-lieu parking credits by introducing a second price tier. Businesses in the Claremont Village have a certain number of so-called parking credits that are supposed to reflect the number of actual parking spaces a business requires for customers and employees. The number is dependent on the type of business. Retailers have fewer parking credits than restaurants because stores generally don't bring in as many customers restaurants.
The parking credits can become a problem when someone wants to convert shop space into a restaurant. Under the City's current policy, that businessperson would have to pay $9,000 for every parking space deficiency they had under the formula used by city staff. The City allows businesses to purchase credits in lieu of having the actual spaces available. The proposed modification to the in-lieu parking credit policy would be to create a second tier at $1,000 per credit. The new tier would apply only to businesses employing more than 15 people or that will bring in over $500,000 annually.
We found the way City Hall looks at parking very illustrative of the general myopia afflicting our fair city. According to Housing and Redevelopment Manager Brian Desatnik's report for this agenda item, the council's recently passed resolution 97-105 states:
The Village is a mixed use neighborhood as well as a City center. People desiring to visit the Village should be able to park there. However, people should not expect that parking be available immediately adjacent to the business or place to which they are destined. The supply of parking shall not be deemed a problem as long as persons visiting a Village destination can park somewhere in the Village.
Notice that it's the City defining the parking problem. If you're from out of town and you stop in the Village to buy something, you should know that you have no right to expect to park near your destination. If you think there's a problem here, you are wrong, says Claremont.
Like many area residents, we know what to expect with Village parking, so we don't begrudge a little walk. Neither we nor the City, however, gets to define the problem. Customers and visitors do, and they'll vote with their wheels if they find the parking arrangements inconvenient.
By the way, the Conscious Claremont blog has an interesting take on this issue. They're attributing this parking policy redefinition solely to one location: the old Casa Flores building at 232 Yale Ave. Conscious Claremont says:
But, after taking a longer view, I suspect this policy may be created specifically for the Casa Flores location---there are few cases with usage change [i.e. retail to restaurant]. I was told the $150,000 CDBG grant has been earmarked for this property---the proof seems to be the lack of advertising about the funds availability, & a year has gone by with no takers. This would fit the pattern of altering general policy to facilitate specific plans.
Um, excuse us, but did we miss the City Council meeting the disposition of that $150,000 Community Development Block Grant was decided? Who decided this? If true, it's just another case of the way public policy is decided in Claremont..
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14 - COUNCIL MEETING WITH SUPERVISOR ANTONOVICH
Now we know why Claremont lets L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich ride in the City's annual 4th of July parade. It requires a lot of buttering up to secure those much-needed county grant dollars for the city's projects.
Tomorrow at 8am, the council will hold its annual meeting with Antonovich. The meeting will take place in the Citrus Room, right above the council chambers.
The council has four items on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting:
- Sycamore Canyon Park
- The College Ave. affordable housing project
- Funding for more open space
- Library hours
These are all items involving county funds. Come on out and watch the supplicants perform.