Cities Reports

May-June 2020 Cities Report

REGION

Azusa-Fireworks-mapMooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes, based in Plano, TX, is breaking ground in new markets, as some franchise owners switched gears and adjusted their previous burger restaurant plans to open Mooyahs instead, a company press release said. These owners will bring the concept to Upland, Ontario and Claremont, in addition to New York and Virginia.

In California, franchise owners Kit Chui and Hank Lu had planned to open a different burger franchise, but faced issues that lead them to search for other “better burger” franchise concepts that they could own and operate. They ended their search by signing a deal for three Mooyah territories. The brand has 100 restaurants either open, under construction or in development in markets across the U.S.  

AZUSA

The Azusa City Council voted unanimously to reauthorize fireworks stand permits for 2020 during a special City Council meeting on June 4.

Azusa is the only Foothill city in the San Gabriel Valley that allows the sale and use of “safe and sane” fireworks for Fourth of July celebrations. The city traditionally issues fireworks sales permits to local nonprofit organizations as fundraisers for their community activities.

“I’m glad we came to our senses and allowed [ourselves] to continue a great tradition in Azusa that we should continue to honor,” Mayor Pro-Tem Uriel Macias said.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Azusa City Council had voted May 18 to temporarily cease issuance of fireworks sales permits for the upcoming July 4, 2020. The decision was made in response to social-distancing restrictions and in anticipation of increased pressure on police and emergency personnel, according to a news release.

Azusa City Council held a special City Council meeting on June 4 to discuss fireworks sales permits in 2020. Azusa residents who initially voiced concerns against the fireworks ban now have the option to purchase legal “safe and sane” fireworks as usual.

“I stand by the decision that I made on May 18, but things have changed since then,” Councilman Jesse Avila Jr. said, referring to evolving coronavirus conditions. “I think we need to leave it up to the citizens and residents of Azusa whether they want to purchase fireworks or not.”

BALDWIN PARK

Baldwin Park Unified School District (BPUSD)  is finalizing facility upgrades as part of Measure K, a bond measure approved by Baldwin Park Unified voters in 2006, to improve school safety and security, enhance learning and athletic facilities.

Baldwin Park Unified students will benefit from new air conditioning systems, restored sports fields, new school marquees and safer infrastructure as the district completes Measure K-funded projects targeting safety, long-term needs and current needs. These upgrades are the last items to be funded by the bond measure, approved by BPUSD voters in 2006. District officials said that to ensure that Baldwin Park Unified students have every opportunity to succeed, they  must create the most conducive learning environments.

The district is addressing critical needs with upgrades to electrical poles at Baldwin Park High School and to Sierra Vista High School’s gymnasium HVAC system. Additional needs being addressed include: new roofing at Olive Middle School, Sierra Vista Junior High School, Baldwin Park and Sierra Vista high schools; district-wide elementary school playground safety upgrades to create safer fall zones; and new school marquees for Bursch, Central, De Anza, Kenmore, Pleasant View, Tracy, Vineland, Walnut, Sierra Vista Junior High and Baldwin Park High School. The district renovated the sports fields used by the community’s three Little League organizations at Elwin and Vineland elementary schools, and Olive Middle School. Additional field upgrades will include new fencing, netting, lighting and all-weather artificial turf for multi-use fields. Baldwin Park and Sierra Vista high schools will receive canopies and multi-level shade units to be placed over seating areas and existing tables, ensuring students have ample shade and shelter areas.

Next, BPUSD will use funds from Measure AE, approved by the community in 2018, to fund a Safe Schools Initiative, including cloud-based surveillance security systems, phones and Incident Commander security system.

CHINO

Public comment is sought through July 7 by the city of Chino on the draft environmental impact report for an industrial building project to be located at the southeast corner of Mountain and Bickmore avenues in the Preserve area of south Chino.

Majestic Realty Co. is proposing to develop two industrial buildings of 1,168,170 square-feet and 914,040 square-feet on a 97-acre site that was a former commercial dairy property. A tenant for the project has not been announced.

Known as Majestic Chino Heritage, the project will also include various site improvements, including vehicle drive aisles, landscaping, a water quality/detention basin, truck trailer and passenger vehicle parking areas, outdoor employee break areas, exterior lighting and signs.  Majestic Realty Co. is also seeking a special conditional use permit to allow loading doors facing the public street. Building one will have 248 dock doors and building two will have approximately 146 dock doors.

The ground surface elevations of the buildings’ footprints will need to be raised out of the Prado Dam Reservoir Area, while lowering the elevations of other sites within the reservoir to maintain the reservoir’s overall capacity to hold water that may back up behind the dam during “rare, extreme storm events,” according to city planners.

The project will require the excavation and transport to offsite locations of approximately 609,000 cubic yards of fill dirt. Those excess fill dirt locations include: the southwest and southeast corners of Pine and Johnson avenues, the southwest corner of Chino Corona Road and Cucamonga Avenue, the Chino Corona Road and Comet Avenue intersection, and south of Hereford Drive and west of Hellman Avenue.

The draft environmental impact report (DEIR) is available at Majestic Chino Heritage Project.

Public comments are due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, at City of Chino Development Services Department – Planning Division, 13220 Central Ave., Chino, CA, 91710. City planner for the project is Andrea Gilbert. Information: (909) 334-3314.

The Chino City Council is expected to vote on the DEIR and special conditional use permit at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday, July 7, at City Hall.

CHINO HILLS

The city of Chino Hills has written a letter to Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman opposing the operation of home-based restaurants that are legal under a state law that went into effect January 2019.

The law, known as AB 626, allows residents to operate kitchens in their homes where the food could be picked up, delivered, or consumed at the home. The city council is asking the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors to forbid such operations in the county. The board discussed the possibility of allowing such businesses six months ago but asked for additional study and a report from Public Health staff, said county spokesman David Wert.

The report was delayed because of the coronavirus, he said, and the matter will return to the board at an undetermined date, he said. An authorization by the county automatically opts in all cities within the county, according to a presentation made to the board by Department of Public Health Director. Cities cannot impose zoning restrictions on the businesses and oversight would be limited to code enforcement violations if neighbors complain about odors, traffic, parking or noise.

Riverside County is the only jurisdiction in California to have opted in. A home restaurant would be allowed to employ one person in addition to household members, serve up to 30 meals a day or 60 meals a week, and generate up to $50,000 in gross sales a year. The operation would be exempt from several health and safety rules placed on traditional restaurants, including a hand-washing sink, exhaust hood ventilation requirements, certain sanitation requirements, and a letter grade card in the window, according to city and county staff reports.

Under the law, home kitchens can only be inspected once a year and by appointment only, unlike the unannounced visits made by health inspectors to restaurants. In addition, the law would allow home restaurants to operate in apartments and accessory dwelling units that are located on the premises of residents and apartments.

CLAREMONT:

After initially announcing it would wait to see what protections Los Angeles County’s rental assistance program would offer, the city of Claremont took a proactive step by launching its program first. During the city council meeting, the council approved two emergency assistance programs that would provide grants to either Claremont renters or businesses that have been significantly impacted by the stay-at-home orders from the state and county. Under the emergency rental assistance program, for which there is a wait list, qualifying individuals and families can receive a rental subsidy for two months based on income and size of household.

The applicants must meet additional criteria including: residing in Claremont; annual income not to exceed Housing and Urban Development’s moderate income levels; household was economically impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic period (February through present); have a signed lease agreement; provide a W-9 form from their landlord or property management company; and submit a signed participation agreement between tenant landlord and the city. The application process will be conducted online.

Income eligibility ranges widely. An individual is considered extremely low income if earning $23,700, moderate income at $63,100. A family of four is extremely low income at $33,800 and moderate at $90,100. Rental assistance will be in the form of a monthly rental payment made directly to the landlord or property manager. The amount of the rental assistance shall not exceed HUD’s maximum allowable rent because the money comes from the block grants.

HUD has a formula that gives rent a percentage of income (30 percent max should be spent on rent). The maximum amount is what the renter will receive towards offsetting rent per month. This means an extremely low-income person will receive less for a similar unit than a moderate income person under HUD rules.

Applicants must complete a brief intake form on the city’s website after which the applicant will receive an email with the application along with a list of required supporting documentation. The application process will be conducted online through the city’s website, where there is already a wait list.

The city has also launched a related program to provide grants for small businesses impacted by mandatory closures in either the county’s safer-at-home order, or the state’s stay-at-home order. There are more than 100 applications, no more are being accepted.

The small business grant program is intended to help businesses that are unable to pay employees or their commercial rent. Qualified applicants will receive grants in the form of a check from the city of Claremont. If the business is requesting assistance with their commercial lease, the payment will be made directly to the landlord or property manager. Documentation on how the funds will be spent must be provided.

Small business grants will be made under two HUD eligibility criteria: micro-enterprise assistance, in which the business has fewer than five employees and the owner’s income is at or below 80 percent of the area median; or a special economic development activity under which the business must meet a public benefit. This could include making a job available to a low or moderate income person, or creating one full time equivalent job.

To be eligible, a business must meet specific requirements including: be a small business with fewer than 500 employees; multinational or publicly traded businesses are not eligible; must be a commercial business; must be located in the city; business was impacted by COVID-19—was required to close as non-essential, or reduced business due to safer-at-home order and social distancing.

Funding for the program comes from a series of community development block grants the city receives every year from HUD and grants cities get from the county under the CARES act. This includes $85,948 from the 2019-2020 allocation that was not spent, plus $186,003 available from a prior year, according to numbers provided by the city.

The initial $188,000 budget for the rental assistance program will include a community development block grant of $92,759 from the county’s allocation under the CARES act and $95,538 from fiscal year 2020-21 CDBG funds. The budget for the emergency small business grant program will come from two CDBG funds, $176,368 from fiscal year 2019-20 and $106,146 from fiscal year 2020-21. The total package will be $470,856 for both rental assistance and business grant programs.

To apply to get on the wait list for rental assistance program, visit the city’s Website Here.

COVINA

IRA Capital has added another medical facility to its growing healthcare portfolio after a $39.9 million purchase in Los Angeles County. The 63,000-square-foot Magan Medical Clinic was sold by Genesis KC Development, a subsidiary of DaVita, based out of Denver. The deal was announced and arranged by Stan Johnson Company.

The two-story property sits on five acres at 420 West Rowland St., Covina. The facility was originally built in 1962 for the current tenant, Magan Medical Clinic, and was recently renovated and modernized. A subsidiary of Optum and UnitedHealth Group, Magan operates 22 specialties and serves more than 22,000 patients annually.

Irvine-based IRA Capital has been expanding its healthcare portfolio, having closed on approximately $150 million in acquisitions in the past 30 days, with another $150 million expected to close before the end of June. In Southern California, the private equity firm recently purchased St. Joseph Hospital of Orange in a sale-leaseback deal for $38.4 million.

IRA was founded in 2010, and it has acquired more than 6 million square feet of property across 25 states, valued at more than $2 billion.

EL MONTE

On June 5 the city of El Monte enacted a landlord/tenant rent re-payment program.  Commencing on the start date under the Los Angeles County Eviction Moratorium of the 12-month period for the repayment of unpaid rent, each tenant and landlord shall establish a prorated repayment schedule of the unpaid rent that is at least 25% of the deferred amount of the rent due at the end of each 3-month period within the 12 month repayment period of the County Eviction Moratorium or any further extended repayment period as the County may approve.  If the Tenant terminates the tenancy during the repayment period, the total amount of deferred rent shall be come due immediately.  Nothing in this Ordinance shall operate to prevent a Tenant and a Landlord from agreeing to different repayment terms.

GLENDORA

The Glendora  Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the City of Glendora are offering financial assistance to Glendora small businesses that are experiencing financial hardship due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The COVID-19 Business Recovery Program is a forgivable loan program created to assist small for-profit businesses facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 stay at home orders. The program is intended to provide emergency financing to businesses that were unsuccessful in obtaining financing from other state and federal programs. Loans ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 will be allocated to eligible, qualified small businesses based on availability of funds and review of the application and required documentation submitted.

The program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Fund (CDBG-CV). Due to the federal funding source, the program requires that the funded activity provide a benefit to low- to moderate-income (LMI) persons. This requirement can be met through job retention of an LMI individual.

No application fee or collateral are needed to apply. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and loans will be processed as long as funds are available. The loan converts to a grant that does not need to be repaid after four quarters of compliance have been met.

Business Size:
·         25 or less employees
·         5 employees or less (including owner) if the business owner is LMI

Program Limits:
·         $5,000 to $15,000

Requirements:
·         For-profit business established on or before March 2018.
·         Business must be in good standing with the city of Glendora.
·         Small business with no more than 25 employees as of March 19, 2020.
·         Location (owned or leased) on a commercial address in Glendora. If leased, must have two or more years remaining, or have an option to extend with similar effect.
·         Demonstrated financial hardship directly attributed to COVID-19.
·         Must retain or reinstate at least one LMI job that is at risk or has been terminated. The retained job must be kept for at least four full quarters.
·         Verification or certification that assistance from any other source has not been received, either due to a denial or inability to apply due to lack of funding.
·         Other requirements may apply upon review of completed application.

Use of Funds:
·         Rent of business location
·         Outstanding business expenses
·         Employee Payroll
·         Working Capital
·         Payroll for sick time coverage
·         Adaptive business practices in order to remain open

CDBG Requirements:
·         Funds must provide benefit to low- to moderate- income person by way of job retention of at least one LMI individual for each loan awarded.

Repayment:
·         Amount is forgiven after 4 full quarters of compliance verifying retention of LMI job.
·         If compliance is not met, repayment begins 12 months after disbursement at a 2.25% rate with a 3-year term.

LA VERNE

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the traditional Fourth of July festivities in La Verne have been canceled. This year there will be residential and business decorating contests.  The contests will be sponsored by the La Verne Chamber of Commerce.

Here’s how to take part in the event.

Step 1 – Decorate the front of your business (or your front window) in a 4th of July theme. Awards will be given out for Most Patriotic, Most Creative, and Community Favorite.

Step 2 – Register by June 22 by emailing a photo of your decorated business, along with your business name and address, to julie@lavernechamber.org.

Step 3 – Wait for the voting and enjoy the 4th of July! Voting will take place between Monday, June 22, and Sunday, June 28, on the Shop La Verne Facebook page. The winners will be announced on Shop La Verne on June 29. Winners will receive bragging rights and a special sign announcing which award their business won.

ONTARIO

Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors has directed the sale of a two-tenant retail pad building located at 961 N. Milliken Ave., Ontario. The price was $4 million. Built in 2002, the building features 6,300 square feet of retail space. Assure Dental occupies 3,500 square feet of the property, while Verizon Wireless occupies the remaining 2,800 square feet. Sam’s Club at The Marketplace at Ontario Center shadow anchors the property.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA

The city of Rancho Cucamonga laid off 10 full-time employees late on May 14, due to declining tax revenues resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, city officials said. Layoffs came from two departments, Community Services and Community Development.

The action comes two months after the city let go 289 part-time employees who worked in recreational programs such as sports leagues, libraries and concert venues—programs shut down by safer-at-home orders, city officials explained. Most part-timers worked between 10 to 15 hours a week, often on the weekends.

Officials were not specific as to affected positions nor name the personnel occupying those jobs. Community Services provides classes and sports programs. Community Development includes three sub-sectors: engineering, building and safety, and planning.  The layoffs were made in an effort to balance the city’s budget.

In a rough estimate,  city revenues from sales tax and hotel guest room taxes, known as Transient Occupancy Taxes or TOT, are down about 10% to 15%, combined. The city in late February had predicted a $400,000 drop in TOT this year based on the slowdown in tourism from China, where the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Using more recent data, hotel occupancy in Rancho Cucamonga is about 10%, down from 75% to 80% this time last year. Some hotels have zero guests.

UPLAND

In a complete reversal, the Upland City Council  repealed its ordinance that protected commercial and residential tenants from evictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Out of 127 California cities and counties that have passed such measures, Upland and one other, the city of Duarte, have rescinded eviction moratoriums, according to data compiled by the California Apartment Association.

Upland cited a letter from a law firm representing several apartment owners and retail property owners in the city, threatening to sue the city over the temporary evictions ban adopted March 31.

The urgency ordinance was aimed at allowing tenants to suspend rent payments if they contracted COVID-19 or lost their job or substantial income due to stay-at-home and closure orders. The ordinance prohibited a landlord from filing an eviction notice in court. Though back rent would have been paid eventually, tenants had until six months after the city declared the emergency is over.

Lawyers representing owners of 755 apartments, including the College Park Apartment Homes, urged the city to repeal. If not, the lawyers threatened to sue the city of Upland potentially for millions of dollars of lost rent. The property owners, represented by the law firm Rutan & Tucker, operate a total of 755 residential units in Upland, broken down as follows: 448 units in College Park Apartments; 240 units in Rancho Monte Vista Apartment Homes; 23 units with RMV Annex LLC and 44 units in the Arrow Vista Apartments. Also, the firm represents commercial owners within the College Park Retail Centre in Upland.

The letter stated that landlords have been informed by “numerous” tenants that they are unable to pay rent and that losses to landlords could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

Upland, as well as Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Pomona, the city of San Bernardino and San Bernardino County adopted local eviction bans. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order was strengthened by a ruling from the state Judicial Council on April 6, which stopped almost all foreclosures and evictions except when public health or safety is involved.

The order from the Judicial Council, the rule-making body of the court system, applies for 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted, while Upland’s applied for six months from May 31. Some wondered if cities needed to act after the latest rules were released.

WEST COVINA

West Covina City Council members declared a fiscal emergency on May 19 because of financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The fiscal emergency grants City Manager Dave Carmany the power to take any and all actions to address the fiscal emergency.

With the new powers, Carmany is allowed to make changes to personnel and benefit costs, operations and reductions in service levels. He’ll also be able to review and negotiate changes to labor agreements, service agreements and franchise agreements as legally permitted. City Council members voted unanimously. The meeting was live streamed online because of the new coronavirus’s restrictions on public gatherings.

Critics, however, assert that the city was in a precarious financial situation before the pandemic, saying the city should not blame the outbreak for all its financial issues. In October, the state declared West Covina to be among the cities in the worst financial shape, ranking it as 17th worst.

The next month, the city approved a 12% raise for firefighters, even though its budget was tightly balanced. That was financially irresponsible, resident Steve Bennett said in submitted written comments to the council. Declining revenues from taxes isn’t the only culprit. Los Angeles County will not pay successor agency bonds the city is due until January 2021 because of the financial restraints it faces from the new coronavirus. The city is due $6.5 million in bond money.

The city manager maintained the city’s financial situation can be attributed solely to the pandemic.


Dec. ’19-Jan. ’20 Cities Report

Compiled by Bill Ruh, CVAR Government Affairs Director 


AZUSA

Avison Young announced the $7.5 million sale of Rockvale Apartments, a 34-unit, multifamily property located at 333 N. Rockvale Ave., Azusa.

Avison Young’s Irvine office represented the seller, a private company with offices in Covina, as well as the buyer, a private investor group based in Arcadia. The cap rate was 4.3% and the price per unit was $220,588.

Built in 1960 and situated on .8 acres of land, the property is a two-story garden-style design, consisting of 19 one-bedroom units, 14 two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit. Amenities include a large pool area and on-site laundry facilities.

This sale marks the third apartment property this Avison Young team has sold over the past year in the city of Azusa. In November 2019, the team completed the $16.76 million portfolio sale of The Riviera and Rainbow Gardens in Azusa. The two nearby apartment properties total 72 units and were also constructed in the early 1960s.

Over the past five years, Azusa has been the fastest-growing city in the San Gabriel Valley, with 6.6% population growth during that period. The area has also seen a significant amount of capital infusion with new planned developments in various stages of construction in all property sectors.

CHINO

The Chino City Council on Dec. 17 approved paying Gruen Associates of Los Angeles more than $240,000 to develop a master plan to improve the aging city hall complex.

The civic center was completed and went into use in the 1970s, according to Deputy City Manager Vivian Castro in a report to the council. The site comprises approximately 15.29 acres in downtown Chino, on the west side of Central Avenue, between Chino Avenue and C Street. Approximately eight acres include the city hall and vacant police and courthouse facilities. A vacant fire station and former Human Services building, owned by the city, are directly across Central Avenue.

The civic center property also includes the Chino Branch Library, the Chino Senior Center, the Seventh Street Theatre, the Chaffey College Chino Center, parking lots and open space. In addition, the city owns the Chaffey IT Center on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and C Street, as well as the Gray Building (Chamber of Commerce building) and the Chino Youth Museum building.

Three bids, ranging from $244,461 (from Gruen) to $667,560 were received. The council agreed to pay an additional $18,232 to Gruen for community input and stakeholder meetings, social media content and development of a project website, for a total contract of $262,393. Work on the plan is expected to begin in January and be completed by late July or early August, according to the contract documents.

CHINO HILLS

The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years.

The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands.

The NRDC is a non-profit environmental organization established in 1970 with offices in Santa Monica, San Francisco, other states, and abroad.

The state’s Department of Water Resources began requiring cities and counties to report annually on their landscape permitting programs in 2015 to ensure that new irrigated landscapes are water efficient.

The four entities are singled out as “named respondents” and approximately 300 cities and counties are in the “proposed respondent” class.

Chino Hills and the other three entities had robust new growth and are representative of all jurisdictions that failed to file one or more of the annual reports between 2015 and 2018, according to Ed Osann, director of national water use efficiency for the NRDC.

The city of Chino Hills issued permits for approximately 1,500 units between 2015 and 2017 without submitting the required reports. According to Chino Hills building reports, new dwelling unit permits were issued as follows: 110 permits in 2015, 448 in 2016, and 1,030 in 2017.

The residential growth included Bristol Chino Hills, Vila Borba, Santa Barbara and Jade Tree in southern Chino Hills, the Founders development on Grand Avenue and Founders Drive, and The Crossings at Chino Hills on the northeast side of Fairfield Ranch Road and Monte Vista Avenue.

IRWINDALE

Molson Coors Beverage Company announced plans to cease production at its facility in Irwindale by September 2020.

The second largest U.S. beer manufacturer also announced an agreement with Pabst Brewing Co., giving the Los Angeles-headquartered beer company the option to purchase the Irwindale facility for $150 million.

The 40-year-old Irwindale facility employs about 470 workers and produced 4.8 million barrels of product last year—including Miller Lite, Coors Light, Miller High Life, Miller Genuine Draft, Steel Reserve, and Miller 64, among others—which was shipped to 261 independently owned wholesalers.

Molson Coors will begin moving production from Irwindale to its facilities in Golden, Colorado, and Fort Worth, Texas, over the next nine months.

As for Molson Coors’ arrangement with Pabst, the maker of Pabst Blue Ribbon will have 120 days after receiving notice from Molson Coors of Irwindale’s closure to exercise its option to buy the brewery, according to a U.S. SEC filing. The document notes that as part of the agreement between Molson Coors and Pabst, both companies have “executed mutual release of claims related to their ongoing litigation and dismissed the litigation with prejudice,” referencing Pabst’s lawsuit against the former MillerCoors over a nearly two-decades-old contract brewing arrangement. Both parties announced a settlement in that case in November 2018.

This past November, Pabst reached a long-term agreement to brew the majority of its production volume at City Brewing Company by December 2024 and maintain contract production at City facilities until 2040.

For Molson Coors, the announcement of Irwindale’s impending closure follows last October’s announcement of new CEO Gavin Hattersley’s sweeping restructuring and revitalization plan aimed at reinvesting $150 million annually in its core products, above-premium offerings, new beyond beer innovations and digital capabilities.

As part of that initiative, Molson Coors consolidated its corporate center and four business units into two business units–North America and Europe. Molson Coors’ Chicago office became its North American headquarters and the company closed its Denver office. The company also moved its functional support roles to its offices in Milwaukee, WI.

At the time, Molson Coors said it would cut as many as 500 jobs as part of the effort. The layoffs came a little more than a year after MillerCoors announced it would eliminate 350 salaried positions by the end of October 2018.

Although the Irwindale closure marks another major streamlining effort by Molson Coors, the planned Irwindale closure is unrelated to the larger effort, the company said.

POMONA

Construction has begun on Agoura Hills-based AMCAL’s Veterans Park Apartments at 444 W. Commercial St. in Pomona.

Veterans Park Apartments is an affordable apartment community featuring 61 multifamily units ranging from 600 to 1,000 square feet, and will serve veteran families and their needs. The 1.27-acre site is located two blocks from the Pomona Transit Center, a major hub with the regional transit authority. It is also within walking distance from Pomona’s Arts District and lively downtown area.

Non-profit Hope Through Housing Foundation will provide assistance coordinating services available to Veterans.

The community will include 25 one-bedroom/one bath units, 15 two-bedroom/two-bath units, and 20 three-bedroom/two bath units. One unit will be reserved as an unrestricted manager’s apartment.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA

Renovations to 9494 Haven in Rancho Cucamonga are finishing up and will deliver 61,000 square feet of modern office space in a two-story building. Originally built in 2004, the renovations have more than doubled available office space with the addition of second floor.

Ownership is also modernizing 9494 Haven’s building exterior, creating a new identity and curb appeal for the space. All renovations are scheduled for completion in February 2020.

The property represents the largest contiguous block of space now available in the Rancho Cucamonga/Ontario submarket.

SAN DIMAS

A Vroman’s Bookstore, a high-quality organic grocery store, and a 50-room boutique hotel could be built on vacant property near downtown San Dimas.

The project known as Pioneer Square replaces the once-proposed four-story hotel on the south side of Bonita Avenue between Acacia Street and Cataract Avenue, adjacent to Pioneer Park.

The town square would have subterranean parking, which allows for more open spaces throughout the project. The layout draws on European influences with paseos and courtyards throughout, as well as pop jet fountains in one area.

At its Dec. 10 meeting, the City Council in closed session “selected Pioneer Square LLC as a developer for the purposes of negotiating a purchase and sale, subject to validation of project viability and financing,” City Manager Ken Duran said.

The selection of Pioneer Square is a departure from the original plans for the site.

About three years ago, the council decided to designate a hotel development as the preferred use of the site, after a city-commissioned report found it was a viable option.

In November 2017, the council entered into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Fine Hospitality Group to build a 110-room Fairfield Inn by Marriott and 11,000 square feet of retail space on the vacant lot. But in December 2018, residents asked city leaders to revisit the types of development that could go there.

The city hired consultant Kosmont Companies of Manhattan Beach in February 2019 to determine if other types of businesses would be viable there.

Creative Housing Associates, which specializes in transit-integrated neighborhoods, was drawn to the property because it is a five-minute walk from the future San Dimas Foothill Gold Line stop, he said.

This proposal lends itself to those with a car-optional lifestyle, he said. Which is why there will also be a small high-end grocery store on-site. Meanwhile, the retail portion will be anchored by Vroman’s, which will be located at the center of the project.

Plans for the west corner of the site include a 50-room boutique hotel complete with a rooftop bar and restaurant. The  hotel will be a contemporary version of the historic Walker House. Next to the boutique hotel, 50 apartment units are planned. The hotel and apartments would wrap around the western and southern part of the site. A historic Oak tree will be preserved and become a dominant feature of a courtyard for the hotel.

The development may include a variety of other commercial uses, such as a Pilates or yoga studio.

UPLAND

Upland residents and members of the City Council have clashed with the developer of a proposed e-commerce logistics warehouse/distribution center over the adequacy of the project’s environmental review.

About 25 residents testified Jan. 9, against the project brought by Bridge Development Partners, telling city leaders the review—known as a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND)— underestimates the amount of noise, air pollution, health effects and traffic they would experience. Three others spoke in favor of the project.

The review concluded that the 201,096-square-foot warehouse to be built on 50 acres on the north side of Foothill Boulevard near the terminus of Central Avenue “would not cause new substantial direct or indirect adverse effects on human beings.”

An EIR could take a year and set the project construction time frame back. The developer wants to start building in the summer. A rumored tenant is Amazon, the mega e-commerce company, but no tenant has yet been signed, Kotler said.

Originally, Bridge proposed three warehouse buildings of 275,000, 330,000 and 370,000 square feet, eliciting a hue and cry from many residents concerned about traffic, noise and pollution.

Bridge came back with a smaller project — a single warehouse building — that has been further scaled back for about an 80% reduction in size. The warehouse would operate 24/7 but trucks would be capped at 25 per day—five in the daytime and 20 at night, for a total of 50 truck trips per day.

The warehouse would have 16 dock-high doors for trucks and 16 van-loading doors; 224 parking spaces; 12 stalls for truck trailer parking; 1,104 van parking stalls and 1,000 new trees planted around the perimeter and between the parking spaces.

Of the 20 effects measured, 13 were determined to have no significant impact on the residents of northwest Upland and nearby Claremont, while seven will be fixed using 28 “mitigation measures.” These areas include noise, air pollution and traffic, of primary concern to residents.

The fix-it measures include setting back the building 700 feet from Foothill Boulevard and surrounding the perimeter with mature trees to block noise, adding electric vehicle charging stations for 6% of the parking spaces, and limiting truck idling to five minutes, according to consultant Kimley-Horn, hired by Bridge to do the MND study.

Adding substantial delays in the process could bring the larger project back onto the table, increasing the environmental impact, he said.

Though Bridge stuck to its report about the adequacy of its environmental review, others at the joint City Council, Planning Commission and Airport Land Use Committee workshop criticized the document.

As far as cars and trucks running on gasoline and diesel fuel, the study concludes no air quality impact. But Nilsson said Bridge’s consultant based that conclusion on every van from a fulfillment center traveling 6.9 miles maximum, which he said was way too low.

WEST COVINA

Months after upholding the city’s regulations on accessory dwelling units—commonly known as granny flats—West Covina is gearing up to discuss them again, this time to change them in accordance with several new state laws.

In February 2019, the City Council voted to maintain several city standards on granny flats, which are considered a quick, short-term fix to Southern California’s affordable housing crisis.

Current city regulations allow owners of properties 12,000 square feet and larger to build granny flats as large as 1,000 square feet when detached from the main house and no closer than 25 feet to the rear property line.

However, a suite of new state laws signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom—Senate Bill 13 and Assembly bills 68, 670 and 881—prohibits minimum lot size requirements like West Covina’s and reduces the minimum distance to property lines to 4 feet or what is “sufficient for fire safety.”

With the new laws in effect as of Jan. 1, the Planning Commission was pressed to initiate a code amendment to get city regulations in compliance, Community Development Director Jeff Anderson said. The commission voted 3-2 to start the process, with a majority of commissioners expressing disdain for the new state laws.

The 12,000-square-foot minimum lot size was intended to ensure neighborhoods could sustain increased density, and the 25-foot minimum setback was meant to ensure neighbors’ privacy, the commission decided last fall.

The commission also criticized a change allowed by the new laws that says the owner is no longer required to live on the property in either the main home or the granny flat. Commissioners believed that this change creates a speculative or “spec” market in which investors will buy up homes, build granny flats and offer little oversight over the people who rent them.

August 2019 Cities Report

Compiled by Bill Ruh, CVAR Director of Government Affairs

CVAR REGION

Bill-Ruh-at-groundbreaking-Gold-LineTwelve-million people rode Metrolink in 2018, making this the highest annual ridership ever, the commuter rail agency announced in August. With the expansion of the Gold Line, those numbers are likely to grow.
A contract was decided for the design-build part of the Gold Line expansion to Pomona, slated to cost $1.5 billion. Additionally, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments Governing Board voted favorably on use of $126 million discretionary transportation funds to complete the much-anticipated project.
According to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, the 12.3-mile extension will extend beyond Pomona and not stop at La Verne, as was the original plan. According to a report from the SGV Tribune, the Metrolink will reach Pomona by 2025, making the Gold Line the longest in the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority system.
The extension was announced just before Metrolink declared that they have reached their highest annual ridership, ever. The new record is an increase of 247,000 boardings from the prior year, and eclipses the previous record of 11,796,086 set in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Compared to July 2018, there were 3.7 percent more riders in July 2019. Additionally, mobile ticket sales reached their highest month ever in July 2019, at more than $3 million, Metrolink reported.
Metrolink cited a robust local economy and more workers commuting through Los Angeles Union Station as reasons for the uptick in its travelers.

AZUSA

A proposed dry-mix concrete manufacturing business, whose operations would start at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, in Azusa drew the ire of nearby residents at a Planning Commission study session.
For several years, Consolidated Ready Mix, at 162 N. Aspan Ave., has been the focus of contention for people living in the surrounding neighborhood of single-family and multifamily homes not even a block away. The business began operating illegally without the proper permit in 2017 and was issued a cease-and-desist letter by the city in December of that year.
Later that month, applicant Rondell Fletcher began the process to seek the proper permitting and to expand the operation, but the business continued operating nonetheless. The city issued a second cease-and-desist letter to the business in May 2018. Fletcher said the business stopped operating about a year ago, and in that time, the environmental study for the proposed on-site improvements was completed and has been made available for public comment through Sept. 6.
The city estimates that the Planning Commission will consider approving Consolidated Ready Mix’s expansion proposal—as well as its request to operate 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday—in October.
The 50 people in at the study session voiced concerns over the business’ bad actions, its possible pollutants and the noise it would generate, especially as early as 5:30 a.m. six days a week.
Consolidated Ready Mix’s environmental study states that an 8-foot masonry wall would be constructed to reduce noise.
The Azusa Unified School District is opposing the development because of potential health hazards to students and families nearby, and because it’s close to the now-closed Mountain View Elementary School, which could be used for other educational purposes in the future. .
Planning Commission members asked a handful of questions of city planning staff and of Fletcher, but took no position on the proposed business expansion. Fletcher did not respond to the residents’ comments, but asked that they base their criticisms on fact instead of emotion.

CHINO

Chino Police Department Capt. Wes Simmons was named the city’s 18th Chief of Police, taking over for Chief Karen Comstock, who retired in July. Capt. Simmons, 48, has worked for the Chino Police Department for 23 years as a police officer, corporal, detective, sergeant and lieutenant, and earned the title of captain in 2014.
He was sworn in during a private ceremony on July 25, and in a public swearing-in ceremony on Aug. 1 at the Chino Police Department headquarters.
Simmons is a 2014 graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cal State Fullerton. He also has a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.
Simmons has overseen the department’s budget, worked in its professional services, the criminal investigations unit, crisis response unit and is a founding member of the Chino Police SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team.

CHINO HILLS

Dog Haus celebrated the grand opening of its first Chino Hills restaurant on Aug. 10. Located at 3330 Grand Ave. (across the street from the Shoppes at Chino Hills), this was franchisee Marcus Chan’s first Dog Haus location.
The 1,300-square-foot restaurant, designed to elevate the hot dog and burger-eating experience, by serving up its acclaimed menu offerings within the contemporary aesthetic of a modern industrial space. Dog Haus Chino Hills will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

CLAREMONT

Claremont residents are voicing concerns about the Village South plan, a 24-acre area that is still being worked out. Elements the environmental impact report (EIR) have already drawn the ire of residents worried about the potential density of the project.
A scoping meeting was held to discuss potential environmental impacts of the future project. Those attending the meeting were concerned about the number of potential residential units that was first unveiled in the notice for the meeting—up to 1,140 units, with a 73-room hotel.
Sargent Town Planning, the developer of the project, noted that the number was the maximum number of units that could be scrutinized during the EIR process.
The environmental review process would be split into two tiers—Tier One estimates a mix of two- and three-story buildings with a maximum of four stories, with up to 30,000 square feet of retail, up to 20,000 square feet of office space, and up to 736 residences, which they say would mostly be two bedroom apartments and condos.
Tier Two is what could happen if there was a community benefit program in place that would allow for more density on the project. That program would allow for a developer to build more units and create more density in exchange for community amenities such as a park or more retail space.
Under tier two, up to five stories could be allowed in the interior of the plan area, with up to 60,000 square feet of retail, 50,000 square feet of office space, a 73-room hotel and up to 1,140 units. Those units would mostly be studios and small apartments.
Residents voiced concerns about parking, density and design.
There will still be ample time for public comment in the future. After the draft EIR is presented, there will be 45 days for additional comment and a public workshop, according to the city. More comment will be received when the final EIR is presented.
Written comments can be directed to City of Claremont, 207 Harvard Ave., Claremont CA 91711 Attn: Christopher Veirs. Comments can also be emailed to cveirs@ci.claremont.ca.us.

 

COVINA

Partial preservation is in the cards for the San Gabriel Valley’s Googie-style Covina Bowl.
When the midcentury bowling alley closed two years ago, its future was uncertain. Now Trumark Homes says it plans to save as much of the building as possible–although it will not reopen the lanes.
Trumark is not the first developer to try to build on the site, but it did sign a purchase agreement for the Covina property in May. It plans to ultimately fill much of the site with three-story townhomes.
In the years following the closure of the bowling alley, the Los Angeles Conservancy voiced concerns about the property being adequately secured. The building was broken into and vandalized; even the copper wiring has been stripped from the interior.
Bringing bowling back to the site, even if Trumark wanted to, is not possible: The property’s deed stipulates that bowling operations can’t continue. The family that owned the bowling alley owns another one nearby in West Covina. Not wanting to “oversaturate” the area with bowling, they took reopening Covina Bowl’s lanes off the table.
It’s too early to say for sure how many homes would be built on the 4.3-acre site, but the plan as it stands now is to keep about 12,000 square feet of the Covina Bowl building, or roughly 75 percent of the façade. That will including the recognizable A-frame over the entrance, the wavy awning that extends out toward the parking lot, and the fantastic “Bowl” sign.
The preserved section of the building would be repurposed into an office building, or possibly a retail space.
The river rock that gives the Covina Bowl that Flintstone, midcentury look would be reused in the facades of the townhomes. Trumark is looking into having the townhomes, in some way, mimic the Googie glamour of the 1950s building. The idea emerged through early meetings with the conservancy. Those meetings were about finding ways to retain what we can and pay homage to the original use.
The project is still in the very early development phases. It could take a year to 18 months before that process is complete. When the planning department approvals are finalized, the sale will officially close.
The Covina Bowl was completed in 1956 and was built for members of the family that sold it to Trumark. The bowling alley was designed by Powers, Daly, and DeRosa, which went on to design almost 50 bowling alleys in California between 1955 and 1962, and were “widely recognized as the masters of the form,” according to the Los Angeles Conservancy.

EL MONTE

Rideshare drivers could find themselves making $30 an hour in the city of El Monte, home to one of the largest transportation hubs in Southern California.
The El Monte City Council voted to draft an ordinance guaranteeing a $30-an-hour minimum wage for rideshare drivers. The move is supported by members of Mobile Workers Alliance, a driver-led organizing project of Service Employees International Union Local 721 in Los Angeles. If the ordinance becomes law, it would be the first of its kind in the United States.
At the state level, a bill working its way through the Legislature seeks to classify drivers for companies such as Lyft and Uber as employees, rather than independent contractors.

GLENDORA

JLL has brokered the sale of Glendora Commons, a grocery-anchored retail center located in Glendora. Seagrove Property Group sold the asset to a private foreign investor for $13.6 million. Located at 1241-1251 Lone Hill Ave., Glendora Commons features 41,689 square feet of retail space. Completed in 2017, the property is currently occupied by Aldi, Guitar Center, Chick-fil-A and Pick-Up-Stix.

LA VERNE

Monarch Home Sales, a mobile homes and manufactured housing maker based in Huntington Beach for more than 25 years, is opening a new office in La Verne, at 3845 Emerald Ave., according to a statement.
Monarch Home Sales’ President and CEO Elizabeth Alex said the company wants to expand to the Foothill Corridor.

Pedestrian safety a concern.

 

ONTARIO

The city of Ontario has been approved for nearly $5.8 million in state Active Transportation Program funding to improve pedestrian access and safety around Haynes, Vista Grande and Oaks Schools.
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) recently adopted its 2019 Active Transportation Program Metropolitan Planning Organization Component, which includes $5.764 million for pedestrian improvements around the three Ontario Schools. The project will construct more than 3 miles of missing sidewalks, nearly 200 handicap ramps, enhanced pedestrian crossings, street lights and plant more than 900 street trees.
It is the fourth Active Transportation Program grant the city has received over the past six years, accounting for more than $10 million in public improvements to improve pedestrian facilities. These improvements are in addition to the $7.7 million of active transportation projects that are being funded through a $35 million Transformative Climate Communities grant awarded last year by the state Strategic Growth Council to redevelop the city’s historic downtown.
The combination of these grants will result in nearly $18 million in active transportation improvements in the city, increasing pedestrian access to local schools, parks, commercial centers and transit stops.
The projects also include educational activities for students, parents and community members about the positive health benefits of walking and bicycling, as well as traffic safety and the rules of the road.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA

Marcus & Millichap Capital Corp. has secured a $12.7 million bridge loan for the acquisition of Sunrize Center, a shopping center at 8639 Baseline Road in Rancho Cucamonga, which features 100,224 square feet of retail space.
The debt placement is a floating-rate program starting at 6 percent with a five-year term and 12 months of interest-only payments and a loan-to-value ratio of 71 percent.

Fore Property has announced the opening of a new apartment community in Rancho Cucamonga, Arte, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development at 10130 Foothill Blvd.
The property features 182 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including five live/work units. It has a rooftop lounge, swimming pool, spa, two-story fitness center, dog park, karaoke room, outdoor grilling areas and an entertainment patio with an outdoor fireplace. The complex is scheduled to be completed in late September. Monthly rents will range from $1,900 to $3,100, with average rents going for $2,300. The units are designed by Architects Orange, based in the city of Orange.

SAN DIMAS

Advocacy Development Partners has broken ground on The Terraces at Via Verde, a 32-unit memory care community in San Dimas. The project is scheduled to open in early fall 2020.
Upon opening it will be the only stand-alone memory care community in the San Dimas area, according to the developers. The community will be split into two 15,000-square-foot neighborhoods with 16 suites each, all located on 1.2 acres near parks and shopping centers.
Frontier Management will operate the community upon completion. Irwin Partners Architects designed the project, with PacifiCore Construction serving as general contractor and Conley Design handling interiors. Fremont Bank, which recently announced an expansion of its seniors housing lending platform, is providing the construction and bridge financing for the project.

SOUTH EL MONTE

A proposed light rail line from East Los Angeles to either South El Monte or Whittier will help raise property values and make it easier for people without cars to commute to downtown Los Angeles—or is an expensive boondoggle that will prompt homeowners to sell.
Those were some of the views shared at community meetings Metro is hosting, designed to solicit input on what should be included in the environmental analysis for the proposed Eastside Gold Line extension.
The environmental impact report will consider four alternatives:
• One along the 60 Freeway ending in South El Monte.
• One going south on Atlantic Boulevard and then east on Washington Boulevard, ending near PIH Health in Whittier.
• A third containing both alignments.
• A fourth calling for no project.
The report is expected to be completed in 2021.
The meeting was held at the Whittier Community Center, and residents traveled from all along the proposed routes, including some from the Justice and Equality for the Eastside Coalition in East Los Angeles, to attend.
That group, consisting of more than 400 residents in the Via Camp neighborhood south of the 60 Freeway, from Atlantic Boulevard to Findley Avenue, opposes the 60 Freeway alignment.
The group said the proposed, at-grade and aerial design will cause “permanent, severe detrimental and negative impacts to our long-established neighborhood. These negative impacts, to name a few, would be increases in dust contaminants, including substances known to cause cancer, noise and vibrations, visual impacts, loss of privacy, traffic congestion and gridlock and decreases in property values.”
The group could only support the 60 Freeway option if it was constructed underground. The group also would like to see the Atlantic route underground, he said.

WEST COVINA

West Covina is one step closer to allowing beer and wine sales at gas station convenience stores in the city. The Planning Commission voted 3-2 to send a proposed municipal code amendment to the city council that, if approved, would lift a decades-old prohibition on alcohol sales at “service stations.”
West Covina’s planning staff isn’t certain when the law was added—it appears in the current municipal code adopted in 1977—but the fact that no existing gas stations have been grandfathered into selling alcohol, “is also a clue that it has been in place a long time,” Planning Director Jeff Anderson said.
This is the fourth time in a little more than a decade that city leaders have considered lifting the ban, with unsuccessful efforts in 2008, 2010 and 2016.
The municipal code provision in question bars alcohol sales at “service stations,” which is one of the most obvious indicators that the ban is outdated, according to the Planning Commission.
The amendment comes with 11 standards by which business owners would have to abide if they were to sell beer and wine, including provisions that, among other things, prohibits single-container sales and requires clear signage be posted in and around the store, indicating alcohol cannot be consumed on the premises.
The city council will consider the code amendment during a public hearing at a future meeting.