Arcadia Council approves proposed Downtown Development zoning changes
By Terry Miller
In an atypical turn of events, Mayor Pro Tem April Verlato recused herself from discussion on a couple of items involving Downtown Development near the Gold Line but did manage to participate in public comment on the matter which involves significant changes to some projects with particular regard to the issue of parking. Council approved zoning changes to Downtown Mixed-Used (DMU).
When Verlato took to the podium, Councilman Tom Beck quipped that he required the correct spelling of her name for the record.
Verlato said she had no problem with the height of 60-feet proposed for one project but was concerned about the number of parking spaces that will be needed to accommodate all the new businesses and mixed-use projects slated for areas around Downtown Arcadia as these projects move forward. Verlato said that the city will need double the amount of parking spaces anticipated.
Of particular concern to Verlato is Parking Lot West (behind Denny’s and near the Post Office). Verlato said downtown revitalization needs a “kick-start,” and hopefully an “in lieu parking fee” could be assessed to developers to guarantee parking will be made available in the future.
As it stands now, parking areas around the Gold Line station in Arcadia are at capacity. Combine that with local business employees (like Rusnak) using these lots and it adds to the problem.
Verlato made reference to Old Pasadena’s revitalization where critics complained about all the multi-story parking lots; only later to discover that there was a massive need for such parking as is evidenced by “Lot Full” signs all the time in Old Pasadena.
Every city has parking issues but Arcadia and Monrovia share unique challenges to accommodate the ever growing population especially with such an emphasis on mixed-use projects in and around Gold Line Stations in the San Gabriel Valley.
Ultimately, planners hope these projects will veer people away from using their cars and rely more on public transportation like the light-rail offered by the Gold Line. Skeptics disagree and feel California’s eternal love affair with cars will never end and the result will be that finding parking anywhere close to your destination will be sweet sorrow.
On a sad note, Council adjourned in memory of Rod Salazar who died unexpectedly on July 4. Salazar was a bright, cheerful personality who attended just about every community event in Monrovia and Arcadia, and was dearly loved by those who had the pleasure to know him. Council members paid touching tributes to well-liked Salazar who “left us far too early,” Tom Beck said.