city council


The city expects to hire an engineering consultant to assist in developing plans for Metro-backed traffic improvement projects this year, with the bill to be covered by the transportation agency.
Although the City Council has not formally committed to the endeavor, it signaled tacit approval at last week’s council meeting, where the body informally went over potential capital construction projects for the forthcoming fiscal year. In a straw vote, the council asked to have a more detailed report on the proposal included in the formal budget process. It was estimated that the consulting service would cost around $95,000.

The City Council delayed judgment of an appeal to a future date, in part to push the applicants to actually get input from a number of neighbors regarding a reality television series the applicants hope to film at a home.
In its meeting last week, the council also punted on an appeal for a mixed-use building proposed to be built along Mission Street, instead opting to schedule a de novo hearing at a later date. The city is expected to argue that the project should be denied because it could not pass a plan check in the event it was approved, at least as currently designed.
The four applicants for the denied filming permit — Rosemary Lay, Julie Chan Lin, Alice Shyu and Weni Wilson — are in the meantime tasked with revisiting a number of homes within a 500-foot radius of their own houses they deemed to be unoccupied in their initial surveys. Additionally, the city staff report indicated that they overlooked some required homes entirely in their initial surveying.

City officials are currently projecting a $2.1 million revenue surplus for the fiscal year, thanks to a downturn in revenues being similarly offset by reduced expenditures from the same cause — the pandemic.
The city was on track after the first six months of the year to finish with $1.1 million fewer than initially anticipated in income, according to Finance Director Paul Chung. At the same time, the trend indicates that the city’s proposed expenditures will be down $1.4 million by the end of the year. In fact, expenses for the year’s halfway point were listed as being just 44.3%.

Photo courtesy SMPD
In addition to a radar trailer, the San Marino Police Department now counts two of these radar signs among its speed enforcement arsenal.

The San Marino Police Department looks forward to keeping track of traffic issues more precisely with the help of two new portable radar signs, the use of which will begin this week in conjunction with a separate radar trailer.
While the larger trailer is used on bigger and more traveled streets, the department plans to use the signs — which can be attached to light poles — on smaller side streets in town.
“You can’t put them on some of the small side streets without them interfering with traffic,” Sgt. Tim Tebbetts said, referring to trailers. The portable signs “will connect to the city light poles or wherever the city dictates they go. They’ll be easy to move from street to street; we can move them to, say, Lorain Road for two weeks and then maybe Mill Road for another two weeks.”
The devices are part of the City Council’s broader priority initiative to ramp up enforcement against speeding and address other traffic issues in San Marino. Much like the radar trailer that was purchased last year, the two signs are primarily powered by solar panels and also use chargeable batteries with reserve power as a backup. The devices will showcase the speed of a vehicle as it approaches, flashing when the vehicle exceeds the posted limit and adding bright red and blue lights to the mix if the speed is extreme.

The city’s beleaguered police station will be getting some much-needed maintenance after the City Council approved a series of repairs, upgrades and pest control measures last week.
The Public Safety Commission also will be tasked with taking a look at a number of other potential fixes or updates to parts of the station and will make recommendations to the council at a later date. The council appropriated $215,500 last week to cover the costs of the actions it approved.

The applicant for this 7,118-square-foot mixed-use building on Mission Street will appeal the Planning Commission’s denial of the project.

The Planning Commission last week rejected a proposed mixed-use building on Mission Street, but the applicant and his attorney may have fired a shot across the bow in the process of applying for the perhaps quixotic project.
The discussion also likely opened a door that will be difficult to shut, in that the city will sooner or later have to contend with new housing unit mandates that are to be facilitated through the state Housing Accountability Act. In preparing the application for the new building, attorney Richard McDonald evoked that legislation, likely in anticipation of a swift denial.

The designs for the new San Marino Center will reflect a Spanish colonial revival aesthetic, following the direction of a sharply divided City Council last week.
Vice Mayor Ken Ude, Councilwoman Susan Jakubowski and Councilman Steve Talt voted to proceed with this direction, which will task designers with altering the current midcentury modern style of the building in their concept design, which the council expects to review in December. Assuming those designs are approved, work will begin on the blueprints for the building’s renovation.

At long last, the city may have its new community services director, who will take the wheel as the Recreation Department undergoes a metamorphosis.
The City Council will be tasked Friday with rubber-stamping the hiring of Brian Haworth to the role, as recommended by City Manager Marcella Marlowe. Haworth would fill a position that’s been vacant since 2018, although temporarily occupied by interim placeholders from time to time.
Although the community services director does also include operations at the Crowell Public Library under its purview, intense focus will be on how the director steers redevelopment of the Recreation Department. The council previously decided to revamp and modernize the program to be more cost-effective while also emphasizing critical community-building programs.
This move will go alongside the department’s presumed move to the San Marino Center, after being housed in the Stoneman School building for years.

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
If the City Council chooses to continue with a renovation project for the San Marino Center, it will decide whether to continue in its current midcentury modern style (right) or convert it to blend in with the Spanish colonial revival look contained in the Crowell Public Library (left).

The City Council was expected this week to approve a concept design for a possible remodel of the San Marino Center, the building that for several decades was known as the Woman’s Club and is located on Huntington Drive just west of the Crowell Public Library.
The project, which was estimated last year to cost in the neighborhood of $4 million, will be paid for out of the city’s general fund if it advances through the several stages needed for approval. The city currently has a $15.7 million unassigned fund balance with another $18 million in capital funds.
The council was expected on Wednesday to hear from Crane Architectural Services and a locally assembled task force, which was seated with the specific purpose of researching the project. The council was expected to give direction to the design firm Wednesday night on the basis of public input collected at 11 public meetings that have been held since July.

Members of the city Planning Commission gave contrasting opinions on the aesthetics of the San Marino Center last week as their monthly meeting wrapped up the series of public outreach sessions regarding the proposal to revamp the facility.
As residents fill out surveys on the initiative that the city mailed last week, attention is now focused on Wednesday, Sept. 9, when the City Council will hear from Crane Architectural Services and a locally assembled task force. The council aims to give direction to the design firm that night on the basis of public input collected since July.