On Jan 17, 2017 the Planning Commission of Alhambra voted 6-2 voted to approve the development of 875 and 1111 South Fremont Ave (between Orange and Mission Road, across from LA Fitness): “Alhambra Court Commercial Development” on 12.66 acres. An appeal was been paid for ($940) and filed by citizens of Alhambra to take it to the City Council as a public hearing which occurred Feb. 27, 2017.
- 1 Lowes retail store + garden shop = 134,417 sq. ft
- 6-story parking lot
- two 6-story office buildings
- 1396 parking spots (982 for the office buildings, 414 for Lowes customers)
- 4 driveways on Fremont, 4 driveways on Meridian
- 3 truck loading docks
- 1 extra stop light on Fremont
Over 100 people attended the Planning Commission meeting, with standing room only. The Commission decided 6-2 to build the project if it’s approved to close off Meridian, but they never asked the city staff for an estimate of the number of cars on Fremont with a large retailer like Lowes. Watch the video of the meeting :
- Planning Commission video (Part 1): City Planners and Developers + Public Comment
- Planning Commission video (Part 2): Public comment, cont.,
- Planning Commission video: (Part 3): City Planner and Developer’s rebuttal, Planning Commission discussion and vote.
Major Unresolved Concerns with the project:No Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been done. The City’s initial study done Nov. 23, 2016 claims the project will not cause ‘any significant adverse impacts’. We have major concerns with traffic, greenhouse gas emissions and soil contamination, and demand that a proper EIR is done before this project gets approved. To date, there has been no toxic vapor sampling done in areas directly adjacent to this heavy industrial zone, and the traffic analysis done by the developer’s consultant uses non-traditional methods that significantly under-estimate the number of car trips generated. With 430 school children attending Emery Park Elementary School 2 blocks from the site, we are also worried about their safety and health!
- If the Planning Commission approves this project, it will violate a zoning ordinance for the area. Lowes does not fall into permitted uses of Alhambra’s Industrial Planned Development Zone (Ordinance 23.32.020), like a wholesale trader, a warehouse, research facility, a plant nursery, a fitness facility, a veterinarian, a technical school or tutoring center, or a self-storage facility.
- The original project design includes 5 driveways on Meridian behind the Lowes. The City will now close off Meridian at Concord completely, and Emery Park residents will not be able to use that street to access Mission. All traffic accessing the development or leaving the development will be diverted to Fremont
- The Traffic Study done, looking at how many cars turn onto Fremont from Valley, for example, uses out-dated statistics. Alhambra traffic has changed since 2015, especially with 4+ housing developments in downtown Alhambra.
- The Planning Commission needs to take into account the future high-density development plan across the street at the Ratkovich Company’s The Alhambran. In Jan. 2016, the Ratkovich Company filed a request to build 1100 residential units across the street and a block away. Those cars will also use Fremont, in addition to the 4000+ daily trips made to the store, in addition to the cars that are using Fremont for their daily commute.
- Alhambrans NEED salaried FULL-TIME JOBS with a benefits, not hourly wages! The quality of employment opportunities at Lowes will not help the poverty rate in Alhambra. Full-time industrial or white-collar jobs would bring higher salaries with benefits to our community, not a home improvement store. And think about the adverse effects on our small businesses like Howard’s Appliances nearby, which is an employee-owned company trying to do right toward its employees.
- There is already a Home Depot less than a mile away on Marengo. Who doesn’t think of the two home improvement chains in a similar way? But Lowe’s told the community on Dec. 13 that it is “different” from Home Depot because Lowes’ client base is not principally contractors/construction. Alhambrans aren’t that gullible! In fact, in its April 2016 article , Forbes says Lowes is actively trying to compete with Home Depot in the professional home improvement market.
Alhambrans deserve a valid and comprehensive study!
What can you do:
- Get informed! Review the City’s documents and initial study, read residents’ letters and news articles, and watch video footage of the city’s informational meeting to the community on Dec. 13, 2016.
- Donate to Grassroots Alhambra, a non-profit entity, that is collecting donations from the community to help towards litigation fees.
- Contact your district’s City Councilmember and ask what his/her thoughts are on the project, specifically about your concerns. Feel free to comment below on who you spoke to and what their response was.
Just how much traffic will be added to Fremont? The Traffic Study estimates that 4000+ daily trips weekdays and 8000+ on weekends would be added to the streets because of Lowes, BUT THEY ARE COMPARING AN ALHAMBRA LOWES TO Lowes IN POWAY, CALIFORNIA, a town with half as many residents as Alhambra in a rural area in San Diego county.