The Alhambra planning commission voted 6-2 to approve a permit for a development at South Fremont Avenue, which will include a Lowe's home improvement store and garnen center, a six level parking structure and two six-story office buildings.
The permit was approved on the condition that the developer explore closing Meridian Avenue – the street behind the development – to thru traffic at Emery Park. The Charles Company, which is developing the property, had already agreed to this measure to assuage residents' concerns over increased traffic on the residential street. Such a measure is subject to city council approval.
Around 100 people attended tonight's hearing, with proponents saying that the project would add jobs and sales tax revenue to Alhambra, and opponents citing increased traffic and the fact that the development sits on a Superfund site, with contaminated groundwater and soil, as concerns.
During the hearing, several representatives of Lowe's and the Charles Company, testified about the mitigation measures that the developer would have to undertake as part of the project. Along with minimizing traffic impacts by closing off Meridian Avenue, Marc Blodgett, who prepared the Initial Study for the project, said that the Lowe's driveways would be designed so that trucks could only make right turns, and would not be able to drive north in residential areas.
The developer would also add a traffic signal to the intersection of Mission Road and Meridian Avenue and at the main entrance on Fremont Avenue, as well as a right turn overlap for traffic flowing west at the Fremont Avenue and Valley Boulevard intersection.
Officials also spoke about how the developer had already excavated toxic chemicals from the shallow soil on site, and would install a vapor barrier to prevent volatile organic compounds that may be present in deeper soil from getting trapped in the air in newly constructed buildings, which would put people at risk.