County supervisors issue militant appeal against Hacienda Heights condos, Solis abstains – Streetsblog Los Angeles

The LA County Board of Supervisors has rejected an appeal by Hacienda Heights activists to subject an 85-unit condominium project to an environmental impact report. Everyone voted “Yes” except Supervisor Hilda Solis who abstained (Hacienda Heights is in her district).

The Glenelder residential development is one of two former Hacienda La Puente Unified School District campuses that are being sold to condo developer Lennar Homes LLC. Glenelder Elementary operated from 1980 to 2010, just off the busy Gale Avenue industrial corridor, and is currently gated.

The former Glenelder Elementary campus in Hacienda Heights could be the future site of a luxury condo development.  Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
The facade of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

Residents and members of the Coalition Against Lennar called for an appeal hearing on Tuesday, expressing concerns about gentrification, green spaces, traffic, density and air quality. Here are some of their comments:

“The project will not solve the housing crisis. These are luxury condos that will sell for 1.2 million or more. These houses are not accessible to any member of this community. – Maria Hernandez

“You’re going to add about 160 cars on very narrow streets.” – Adriana Quinones

“Our home is very humble, the best feature being the mountain views from our backyard with the open green space in the foreground…the proposed 35 foot tall structures will be a crushing wall of concrete and stucco imprisoning us for life.” –Laura Farley

The interior of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights.  Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
The interior of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

Solis acknowledged the concerns of two thousand residents who asked the Supervisory Board for an environmental impact study of the development – a step beyond the project’s mixed negative statement approved by the Regional Planning Commission. Before abstaining in the vote, Solis asked RPC Director Amy Bodek if it was necessary.

Bodek told supervisors that after reviewing the potential impacts, the RPC decided “The project can mitigate all of the impacts that have been identified through this environmental review process and, therefore, it is a ‘an MND (mitigated negative statement) and not an EIR (environmental impact review).”

A Lennar attorney, Jennifer Hernandez, praised the county’s initial study. “This dossier is filled with substantial expert evidence that confirms the absence of significant adverse effects.”

HLPUSD Deputy Superintendent of Business Manoj Roychowdhury expressed his opposition to the appeal and his support for the sale agreement. “We see the value of this project which will bring revenue to the district that will be in place for further improvements to district facilities as directed by our school board. We also know that the project will attract new families to our district, which will add students to our district in the future. »

Those who opposed the call primarily cited a need to build housing.

“In 2012, the median price of homes in the San Gabriel Valley was $425,000,” said Nayiri Baghdassarian, director of public policy for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. “In 2021, it was $915,000 partly due to a lack of new home construction needed to meet demand. The Lennar Glenelder Project […] meet our critical housing needs, increase the county’s tax base, and provide more than $20 million to local school districts for improved facilities in the area.

The backfield of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights.  Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
The backfield of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

For months, the Coalition Against Lennar has lamented the impending loss of the fenced grounds at Glenelder Elementary where football practices have taken place in the past. Coalition member Andres Abarca said the group pushed the HLPUSD school board “to keep our open green space intact […] for a public park, a community center, a sports complex, or even a school reopening.

To this end, Coalition also claimed that the sale agreement was a violation of due process, in particular the Naylor Law.

The Naylor Act aims to preserve “school playgrounds, playgrounds and recreational real estate” by allowing “school districts to recoup their investment in surplus property while allowing other government agencies to acquire the property and keep it available for the playground. , a playground or for other outdoor recreational purposes and open spaces” (pursuant to section 1 of the Act).

The Coalition said HLPUSD informed the public of its sale agreement with Lennar using a waiver of the Naylor Act that expired in November 2018. Member Samuel Brown-Vazquez spoke on behalf of the group as caller during of the hearing. “A public records request with the school district indicated that they cannot provide us with copies of Naylor notices because they destroy all communications after two years.”

Bodek defended the district to some extent, saying that while Naylor law enforcement is outside the county’s jurisdiction, HLPUSD and Lennar entered into their purchase and sale agreement in August 2018, three months before the expiry of the derogation. “Therefore,” Bodek said, “the school district maintains that it is in compliance with the Naylor Act, and that it is also in compliance with the Naylor Act because it sent the subsequent public notices.”

When Solis asked what would be made available to the community in place of the land, Bodek said the resort will provide 16,000 square feet of open space to the public with play equipment, grass and picnic areas. picnic / barbecue. Additionally, county officials say Lennar Homes is paying nearly $235,000 in fees from Quimby to the county’s parks system.

The side of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights.  Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog
The side of the old campus of Glenelder Elementary in Hacienda Heights. Credit: Chris Greenspon/Streetsblog

What about the potential compensation for the gentrification of the project? There will be no affordable units reserved in this building as the project application was submitted in January 2019, before the county passed its Inclusive Housing Ordinance in November 2020.

“While this project meets General Plan and Community Plan maximum density and county code standards for subdivisions, it does not include affordable housing, which is essential in the First District,” a Solis said in a statement to Streetsblog. “New housing can stabilize and allow communities to thrive, but only when a mix of housing types and levels of affordability is provided to maximize neighborhood diversity and health. Addressing the crisis of homelessness and affordable housing is a key issue for me and that is why I abstained during the vote.

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