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.