City Council bans new housing developments, hotels from coming to East Main Street

Alhambra City Council voted 3-1 in favor of banning new residential developments and hotels in the East Corridor of Main Street. The stretch of property affected are the lots fronting Main St from Chapel Avenue to the east city boundary.

The ordinance rezones East Main St. into allowing only commercial business. Prior to this decision, a developer could bring a combination of housing and retail space under one roof, similar to some of the structures on the west side of Main. Now, the allowed business permits for the east corridor exclude any housing or hotel use.

“Literally the only change is we’re taking out two permitted uses: housing and hotels,” City Attorney Joseph Montes clarified during Monday’s discussion.

The Council also discussed if commercial buildings should have a height restriction. Vice Mayor Barbara Messina, Mayor Luis Ayala, and Councilman Steven Placido wanted to see a height limit be implemented, but Montes said that further restrictions would have to pass through the Planning Commission for a public hearing. Councilman Gary Yamauchi opposed the ordinance.

Ultimately, Councilman Placido motioned to accept what was on the agenda. “I’d like to vote on the agenda that’s before us tonight and direct staff to evaluate in a study session other options we could consider in amending this at a later date.”

The ordinance rezones East Main in order to “increase commercial activity while retaining our residential integrity,” reads a staff report. 

The staff report explained the reasons for proposing the ordinance. It cited Council and community concerns that East Main properties are too shallow to support large complexes. It added that East Main may be negatively affected by density and traffic because the surrounding neighborhood consists of single-family residences.

Montes said he was not aware of any pending housing development applications for the corridor. One more vote is required to enact the ordinance. 

6 thoughts on “City Council bans new housing developments, hotels from coming to East Main Street”

  1. AB 744 will put more cars parking on city streets.

    1. Sprawl puts more cars on the streets, not AB 744.

  2. That’s great Mr. citywatch! Time to get rid of all those parking requirements that allow our streets to be flooded with cars!

  3. Assemblyman Ed Chau is pushing amendments to the density bonus law that will take away local building control from local governments. Assemblyman Chau’s bill, AB 744, will severely limit and reduce the number of onsite parking spaces required for each development. Assemblyman Chau isn’t concerned about established communities.
    AB 744 has to pass one more committee before the Senate votes. If they approve AB 744 goes to Governor Brown’s desk to be signed into law.

    Tell Assemblyman Chau to withdraw AB 744 now.

    Here are some of the items in the bill:

    AB 744 amendments include parking space maximum of 0.5 space per bedroom for market rate housing when just one low income housing unit is included within the market rate development.

    For special needs or disabled housing the parking space maximum is even less at 0.3 space per unit not per bedroom. Highly discriminatory.

    For seniors, age 62 and over, the parking space maximum is 0.5 space per unit not per bedroom. Highly discriminatory.

    The supporters of AB 744 argue that removing the cost of providing parking allows the developer to build more low income housing. Read AB 744 carefully. There is nothing in the bill that requires the developer to take that extra money and put it back into the housing development that now has severely reduced onsite parking for the residents and pushed overflow parking into the community.

    One of the last changes to AB 744 was the addition of an analyst’s comments that has been labeled as the legislative intent and will become part of the
    density bonus law as the new Section 1.

    Here are excerpts from the proposed legislative intent section of AB 744 where you will find the legislators believe that the builders and the market should decide how much parking is needed; not specifically mentioned but certainly a point to argue that transit oriented development includes market rate housing when discussing infill development; and of course the legislators believe that infill development is not a local matter but a state wide concern thereby taking away local control of what happens in a community.

    (q) Reducing or eliminating minimum parking requirements for infill and transit-oriented development and allowing builders and the market to decide how much parking is needed can achieve all of the following:

    (r) It is the intent of the Legislature to
    reduce the cost of development by eliminating excessive minimum parking requirements for transit-oriented developments that includes affordable housing, senior housing, and special needs housing.

    (s) The Legislature further declares that the need to address infill development and excessive parking requirements is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this act shall apply to all cities, including charter cities.
    AB 744 amendments include parking space maximum of 0.5 space per bedroom for market rate housing when just one low income housing unit is included within the market rate development.

    For special needs or disabled housing the parking space maximum is even less at 0.3 space per unit not per bedroom. Highly discriminatory.

    For seniors, age 62 and over, the parking space maximum is 0.5 space per unit not per bedroom. Highly discriminatory.

    The supporters of AB 744 argue that removing the cost of providing parking allows the developer to build more low income housing. Read AB 744 carefully. There is nothing in the bill that requires the developer to take that extra money and put it back into the housing development that now has severely reduced onsite parking for the residents and pushed overflow parking into the community.

    One of the last changes to AB 744 was the addition of an analyst’s comments that has been labeled as the legislative intent and will become part of the
    density bonus law as the new Section 1.

    Here are excerpts from the proposed legislative intent section where you will find the legislators believe that the builders and the market should decide how much parking is needed; not specifically mentioned but certainly a point
    to argue that transit oriented development includes market rate housing when discussing infill development; and of course the legislators believe that infill development is not a local matter but a state wide concern thereby taking away local control of what happens in a community.

    (q) Reducing or eliminating minimum parking requirements for infill and transit-oriented development and allowing builders and the market to decide how much parking is needed can achieve all of the following:

    (r) It is the intent of the Legislature to
    reduce the cost of development by eliminating excessive minimum parking requirements for transit-oriented developments that includes affordable housing, senior housing, and special needs housing.

    (s) The Legislature further declares that the need to address infill development and excessive parking requirements is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, this act shall apply to all cities, including charter cities.

    AB 744 was sponsored by Domus Development, Meea Kang as president of the company. Apparently, Ms. Kang and her company Domus Development will profit financially from this bill.

  4. Hmm. I wonder who the city council is protecting now (from over-building). Seems thy care less for neighborhoods, while blindly accepting high-rise condos in some parts of the city. If I and my neighbors feel we don’t want high-rise condos in our part of the city, will we be given the same consideration even though we are not “well-connected” nor large campaign contributors.As for councilman Yamauchi, there is not a high-rise, high-density he does not like; perhaps these developments are good for his business.

  5. What a shame. Main St. has Metro buses going through it which would be great for more mass transit-oriented housing. Not anymore. As for hotels, Alhambra will economically lose out to San Gabriel and Monterey Park. I give a big thumbs up for Yamauchi for having the longer-term view for our city.

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