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Mixed feelings for mixed-use project

Planning officials ask for more community outreach from residents

Posted: April 21, 2009 10:33 p.m.
Updated: April 22, 2009 4:30 a.m.
 

A mixed-use project proposed for Lyons Avenue moved no closer to reality Tuesday night after the Santa Clarita Planning Commission continued the item and asked the designer to meet with neighboring residents.

The commissioners were being asked to approve a 13,140-square-foot mixed-use building on a sloping, half-acre lot at 23000 Lyons Avenue, near the corner of Arcadia Street.

The four-story building would house retail and office space accessible from Lyons Avenue, and four apartments accessible from Arcadia Street.

About 20 residents of Arcadia Street turned out to the meeting, and the 17 who spoke were opposed to the project.

Many of the comments revolved around the extra traffic the project would create on their street, the access to the apartments and their belief that the four apartments included in the project have no place on a tree-lined avenue populated by old, ranch-style homes.

Arcadia resident Jeff Moir said apartments “attract people who have nothing vested (in the neighborhood).”

Richard Rawlings, who has lived on Arcadia for 14 years, said the proposed building is “way, way too big for the size of the property.”

Other residents complained about existing traffic and parking problems on their street, and said it will only get worse.

The project was first submitted to the city’s planning department in November 2005, Assistant Planner Darin Seegmiller said. At that point, the proposal was for a 5,350-square-foot office building.

By December 2006, the developer became aware of the city’s mixed-use overlay zoning and re-submitted a revised proposal for the 13,140-square-foot, 47-foot-high mixed-use building.

The four-story building would include 2,504 square-feet of retail space and 4,884 square-feet of residential space. The residential space would be divided into two single-bedroom units and two, two-bedroom units.

“This has gone through multiple revisions by city staff,” Seegmiller said.

Speaking on behalf of the developers, designer Donato DeJesus said the intention for the project is to house the offices of Santa Clarita Valley Pools, and that company officials would likely make their homes in the attached apartments.

“We created a building that is exactly what the overlay zone is intended to be,” he said.

“I don’t necessarily agree that this is a perfect mixed-use project,” said Commissioner Tim Burkhart, a past resident of Arcadia Street. “I just don’t think it works on this scale.”

The commission voted unanimously to continue the item to date uncertain, asking DeJesus and the developers to meet with residents and try to achieve a compromise.

In addition to the apartment access from Arcadia Street, they asked DeJesus to reach out to the community, and to address the architecture, height and density of the building.

“I can turn that into a Craftsman (style) building overnight,” DeJesus said, and added that removing the apartment access from Arcadia Street practically makes the project un-doable.

“I’m up against a lot of little walls,” he said. “I’m a reed in the wind here.”

 

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