LA VERNE, CA – United in opposition, City leaders in La Verne strongly support the concerns of residents opposing the proposed National CORE residential development at 740 East Foothill in the unincorporated area of San Dimas, immediately adjacent to the Fox Glen neighborhood of La Verne. The project, recently unveiled to both the cities of San Dimas and La Verne, is a “by-right” permanent supportive housing development that is still undergoing review by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Department and was recommended for a loan approval by the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA). The loan approval was set for April 18, 2023, but was postponed by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to allow for community engagement, which has not yet occurred.
The project, as currently proposed, will be five-stories high in a primarily residential area of single-family homes. The homes immediately adjacent to the property, which are single story homes, will have a nearly 65-foot tall building 10 feet beyond their backyard fence due to the reduction of rear yard setbacks as incentivized by State law. The aesthetically deprived box-like building will exceed the height of all other buildings within an almost one mile radius of the location by over 40 feet, clearly incompatible with the primarily residential communities adjacent to historic Route 66. Additionally, due to State law, the project does not require a traffic study even though it fronts to Historic Route 66 (Foothill Boulevard) and is directly across the primary egress from the Fox Glen neighborhood in La Verne.
Opposition to the project begins with the fact that the two communities and their residents were not engaged by either the County or developer, National CORE. Only due to a last-minute alert by Supervisor Kathryn Barger were the two cities informed of the project and its funding recommendation by LACDA. City staff have pressed the County and National CORE to schedule community outreach and so far have gained one virtual session set for May 9, 2023, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm (please go to www.cityoflaverne.org/740foothill for more information). As voiced by community members, an in-person community meeting by the developer is also requested. Due to State law allowing such development without discretionary approval, the City of La Verne is unable to seek conditions of approval to mitigate traffic, intersection level of service, and accessibility issues as there is a lack of sidewalks between the property and the closest bus stop.
The City continues to partner with the City of San Dimas in opposition to the project, the process under which it has progressed within the County, and the usurping of local land use controls based on State laws which strip local governments and their residents of deciding the fate of local neighborhoods. The La Verne City Council is calling a Special City Council meeting for 6:30 pm on Wednesday, May 3rd to approve a letter of opposition to be sent to the Board of Supervisors. San Dimas is scheduled to do the same at its regular meeting on May 9th.
The following are individual statements from La Verne City Council Members regarding the issue:
Mayor Tim Hepburn:
“I have been extremely disappointed in how this project was revealed to us all and how it continues to be handled because it is completely incompatible with the neighborhoods. I am, however, extremely pleased with the turnout of our residents, how they have expressed their concerns, shared their opposition, and contributed their time and resources to this effort. Thank you for voicing your opinions. This project and process are not deserving of County funding support and it certainly does not have our support.”
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Crosby:
“I support our residents and am equally dismayed by the lack of community engagement. The process takes away our ability to ensure traffic and pedestrian safety, conformity to surrounding uses, and creates a wholly incompatible structure 65 feet high with deficient parking, setbacks, and standards. As aptly described by one of our residents, this process has been ‘rotten to the core.’”
Council Member Meshal “Kash” Kashifalghita:
“This proposal is not compatible or acceptable for many reasons, for both the wonderful neighborhoods immediately surrounding it to those who may inhabit it. There are limited services, severe transportation infrastructure challenges, and parking challenges due to State law for future residents. For current residents, it will displace a new grocery store that serves the local community and its height, look, and disregard to setbacks makes it completely incompatible. The lack of engagement and notification to the residents and the Cities is a failure on the part of the developer and I don’t want to fail our residents by allowing this proposal.”
Council Member Wendy Lau:
“I am frustrated and disappointed in the communication process (or lack thereof) from the County of Los Angeles and National CORE regarding the proposed Permanent Supportive Housing project. The lack of communication and engagement with the relevant communities of La Verne and San Dimas is a failure in that it does not allow for the people who know the area best to voice their concerns and provide their feedback. The project as proposed does not take into account impacts to traffic, fit in the neighborhood, proximity to a school, safety concerns, available resources, or the like. Failing to take these very important issues into account does not engender trust that this project is being thoughtfully or meaningfully undertaken.”
Council Member Steve Johnson:
“The project lacks parking and access to essential services. There was a complete disregard to public engagement and community support is zero because of that. The five-story design does not complement the neighborhood and takes away privacy of the single-family homes adjacent to it. The developer has not spoken to our residents, but our residents have spoken to us, and we hear them load and clear.”
Residents interested in addition information on the project can go to the City’s website at www.cityoflaverne.org/740foothill for the most recent information. The website will be regularly updated as we learn new information.