• Applicant for 9-Unit Housing Development Seeks Zoning Change

    by Winston Chua

    Robert Artura, whose company is called Building Worx Development based out of Glendora, is seeking a zoning change for a potential multi-unit residential housing development on 415 Huntington Drive near Los Robles – the site on which the former East West Bank headquarters was once located.

    The zone change would be significant because it could allow Artura to build as many as nine detached luxury dwelling units. If no zone change takes place, the development could be limited to just five units. But there may be another problem for the developer.

    “The feedback we are hearing is that some of the neighbors are not happy with the number of units proposed,” said City Planning and Building Director Dave Saldaña.

    Artura has stated that some in the area would like to see fewer units while some neighbors are in favor of the project.

    Saldaña informed The Tribune that the land where units might be built is approximately 49,000 square feet. If the area is designated as R-1, a residential designation, it must be subdivided into 9,000-square-foot lots. If the land is designated C-1, a commercial property, it would be filled with separately owned units with common open space, driveways and guest parking.

    The community will have a chance to make their voices heard in June when the San Marino Planning Commission considers the zoning issue.

    It is the city staff’s recommendation to continue the matter until June 25 in order to formally notify the public that a rezoning of the property is needed in addition to a Conditional Use Permit  – or CUP – and a tract map.

    The lot at the center of this discussion was used by Avery Labels in the 1960s before East West Bank took over in 1985. The lot was originally zoned R-1 before the applicant applied for and was granted a use variance. An amendment to the use variance was approved to allow East West Bank to use the land in Avery’s stead. Somewhere along the line, the zoning maps changed the R-1 land and it became C-1.

    In 2002 the City updated its land use element, designating the land’s use to be commercial. Any C-1 can have a residential density of no more than one unit per 5,000 square feet.

    Parklet Moves Forwaed

    In other city news the Council is moving forward with landscaping plans for the parklet in the middle of the city, inspired by three San Marino High School seniors – Joe Arnold, Ricky Martinez and Sean Yamagucci. The area will have benches and a protective wall which will enclose the area. The Council unanimously approved the parklet, to be located under the Rotary Clock and just a short walk from Starbucks, at a recent meeting.

    The issue of a bike and pedestrian master plan was met with fervent opposition last week – at least the bike portion was – and the issue has been sent back to city staff, who will work to examine how the plan enhances safety. They will also look for more data and may highlight specific pedestrian improvements before the Traffic Commission’s next meeting in June.

    Topics of discussion for the Friday, May 30 City Council meeting include a discussion on basements, the definition of “neighborhood,” and a continuing list of items designed to make San Marino better.

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