City Council postponed on Monday a vote on an ordinance that would rezone a part of the Midwick Tract, shelving it for the next regular meeting on the 23rd. The ordinance affects 8.8 acres of land at 2400 South Fremont, which is currently designated as R-1 (single family residences) and R-2 (multiple family residences). If approved the ordinance would rezone the area according to the proposed Specific Plan, which would allow for a 70-unit residential development.
The postponement came in response to a mailing mixup that, according the Director of Administrative Services Chris Paulson, happened within the United States Postal Office. Per Alhambra city code, the city was required to notify all households within 300 feet of the development site about the public hearing. The city was also required to send out the notices 10 days in advance of the hearing. Paulson said that the city handed the notices to the Bay State Street United States Post Office on Jan. 30, meeting the 10 days requirement.
The following week, Paulson received several complaints from residents who said they hadn't received the notices until Feb. 5 or Feb 6. Paulson also noted that, recently, former council members had told him that they hadn't received the council meeting agendas in their mailboxes.
The city investigated this by speaking with service representatives at the post office. According to Paulson, he was informed that no mail is delivered to Alhambra residents directly from the Alhambra post office. Instead, all mail is sent to the City of Industry for processing, with letter-sized items also going to Santa Ana.
Paulson was told that the extra processing time for letter-sized items may account for the recent delays. "Based on my conversations with the post-office staff and the information gathered. And the fact that the letters were postmark January 30. It appears that the delays had to have come from the United States Postal Office," said Paulson.
While the Council decided to move their decision to the 23rd, and while a presentation from City Ventures, the developers interested in the 2400 South Fremont area, was withheld, residents at the meeting were allowed to speak on the Midwick development.
Some residents returned to the mailing issue, saying that the city could do more with outreach.
Alhambra resident Jack Shiung said he had to learn about public hearings through his neighbors. "Of all the meetings I've gone to, I have maybe received one notice," said Shiung.
Resident Thomas Fernandez said he was confused about why he hadn't received a notice about the Midwick hearing, when he had gotten a notice about the Marriott hotel project in Monterey Park. "I don't know why we don't get notices about things in this neighborhood, when you send us literature about projects in Monterey Park," said Fernandez.
Per ordinance procedures, the ordinance will have to be approved at two public hearings before it will be enacted.