January 30, 2004
June Casagrande Jesus' name won't be coming up much anymore at City Council meetings. From now on, clergy who give invocations at City Council meetings will be asked to omit from their talks all references to Jesus, Allah or "Our Father in Heaven" to protect the city from liability in the aftermath of a Burbank lawsuit. With more than a few laments, the council this week unanimously approved a plan to comply with the findings of a judge in the case of Rubin vs. City of Burbank.
January 9, 2004
June Casagrande Greenlight leaders want the Greenlight Initiative guidelines changed. As the threat of a lawsuit against the city looms, Greenlight spokesman Phil Arst said that he wants the city to change the way it approves hotel projects under Measure S, the Greenlight Initiative. In recent months, Greenlight leaders and city officials have waged a war of words over how to decide whether hotel proposals should go to a Greenlight vote. The initiative requires that voters approve projects that significantly exceed general plan limits for peak-hour traffic trips, total square footage or number of homes.
December 10, 2003
INSIDE CITY HALL Here are a few of the items commissioners decided Monday: PRINCE OF PEACE The commission considered adding three conditions to the Prince of Peace Church's master plan: one that would hold the city blameless for any damage caused by the ficus trees on the church property; one that would set a maximum number of 315 students for the school, without limiting the number of preschool versus elementary school...
September 6, 2003
June Casagrande Design guidelines approved about three years ago for this stretch of Coast Highway got their first test on Thursday when the Planning Commission approved a plan to level and then rebuild the area McDonald's. The commission voted 6 to 1 to approve the company's plans to transform the restaurant at 700 E. Coast Highway and give it a nautical theme, similar to some of the gray buildings next to Josh Slocum's. The project had to come before the Planning Commission several times while commissioners reviewed details, the last and most difficult of which was the building's roof.
July 30, 2003
Deirdre Newman Two years ago, the City Council set guidelines to control explosive growth after officials noticed small lot developments running rampant on the Eastside. Despite the guidelines, developers often try to circumvent the rules. The fate of the two projects, which happen to be on the same block of Elden Avenue, represents how tough those guidelines can be. On Monday one developer who reduced the size of his project to abide by the guidelines was rewarded with approval by the Planning Commission, while another who requested a slew of exceptions to requirements for his project was not. The project that was approved Monday calls for a three-unit development at 2459 Elden Ave. Architect Bruce Stookey of Andrade Architects, representing property owner Ferguson/Day Properties, had originally suggested five units, but that was not blessed by the planning staff, said Planning Commission Chair Bruce Garlich.
May 29, 2003
Deirdre Newman "Harmony" and "compatibility" -- the two words that have been known to strike fear in homeowners looking to expand -- no longer pose a double threat. "Harmony" is out. "Compatibility" survived, but in a different context than before. On Tuesday, the Planning Commission finished its exhaustive review of the city's zoning code and design guidelines for home expansions and forwarded them to the City Council for review. Changes to the code and the guidelines passed on 4-0 votes.
May 27, 2003
Deirdre Newman After an exhaustive review, changes to the city's zoning code and design guidelines will be considered again tonight at the Planning Commission meeting. Councilman Gary Monahan was the first to initiate review of the code and guidelines to make the process clearer and faster. The changes cover issues like floor area ratios, second-story construction and design review procedures. The changes are holding up the City Council's decision on view protection guidelines and an overlay zone that the council delayed until July in hopes the changes would be ready for consideration by then.
May 15, 2003
June Casagrande When you put yourself in the other guy's shoes, it's easy to understand why the debate over West Newport Fourth of July parties got so heated at Tuesday's City Council meeting. On the one side are seven councilmen who've been racking their brains for ways to rescue West Newport residents from effects of the drunken brawls, public urination, crime and late-night noise that are par for the course every July 4. On the other side is a group of mostly young men who had been horrified to learn that the law-abiding majority would have to suffer harsh penalties designed as deterrents for the law-breaking few. In between is a surprisingly democratic mix of old and young, homeowners and renters, partyers and peace lovers whose feelings on the proposed rules run the gamut from passionate support to rabid opposition.