What happened at Planning Commission?

—  After 2+ hours of public testimony on Jan 17, 2017, the Alhambra Planning Commission voted 6-2 to approve the Lowes project, pending approval from the City to completely block off Meridian to through traffic into or from the Emery Park neighborhood.

Videos from Planning Commission:

Of the 7 people that spoke for it, one was former councilmember Stephen Placido, whose public comment card got put at the top and was first to speak, last to turn it in; another was the son of former councilmember Gary Yamauchi, another was an employee of the Charles Company Group that is developing the project, another one was a developer from Las Vegas who said he preferred Las Vegas where there are fewer obstructions to developing land, and so on. Over 25 residents spoke against the project, citing traffic, health and employment concerns.  Neither the city planners nor the commission told the public exactly how many cars would be on Fremont due to a Lowes coming in.

Watch what the Commissioners had to say, after 2+ hours of public comment:

Commissioner Tse asked if the vapor barrier is just for Lowes or the full site and whether there would be a site monitoring program. Answer: “maybe.” He voted for the project.

Commissioner Soto complained about the current traffic at Fremont and Valley, saying the problem at the intersection is because  because the cars block the intersection when they turn and suggested adding more police to give tickets there.  (Hmmm…Wonder why the cars block the intersection – because there are too many and the cars are all backed up on Fremont — exactly where the Lowes will be.  There will be more cars blocking the intersection now.)  She admitted the problem is exacerbated by outsiders driving in to town. Ms. Soto voted for the project.

Commissioner Bunker  compared the 2017 Lowes project to when the Costco was built, over 20 years ago–her logic being that we were afraid of traffic back then,  we adapted and there’s no traffic problem now, so this will be the same thing. Ms. Bunker, THAT’S NOT FREMONT AVENUE IN THE YEAR 2017! Ms. Bunker voted for the project.

Commissioner Hosokawa voted against the project, raising a concern that the city staff was not able to answer: “What studies have been done on health risk assessments based on increased traffic from Lowes”.

Commissioner Maza also voted against the project, and another commissioner was absent.

The city planners need to be held to a higher standard. Their false comparison of Lowes in rural Poway to a Lowes in urban Alhambra and the lack of thorough analysis should have been enough to postpone the project until they can provide sound data and analysis to the Planning Commission.

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Planning Commission:

Please donate to this online fundraising campaign. Whatever is not used for this campaign, will be saved for future projects that the City undertakes without comprehensive review.


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