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Hearing Officer Denies On-Site Parking Variance on Development in West Pasadena

Local residents rally to oppose traffic impacts

Published on Thursday, April 8, 2021 | 9:27 am

On Wednesday, the city’s hearing officer denied a variance that would have allowed a development to proceed without onsite parking at 1388 W. Colorado Blvd., near Melrose Avenue in West Pasadena.

Developers at the site want to build a 675 square-foot, single-story medical office building at the site.

Neighbors were concerned that parking would spill into nearby businesses and on the street, increasing traffic in the neighborhood, which includes a nearby park. 

“What we saw at the hearing tonight was San Rafael neighbors springing into action to make their concerns heard,” said San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA)  President Robin Salzer told Pasadena Now. “Per our mission statement it is important that when issues arise in our neighborhood our neighbors participate in the process. Be assured that any worthwhile action will create a passion of activism to affect change and galvanize support. We saw that tonight with 45+ letters and emails sent in over the last couple of days to city staff.”

The SRNA put out a call for feedback on the project earlier this week. 

In those letters, local residents called on the hearing officer to deny the variance and protect the neighborhood.

“I am pleading with the city of Pasadena not to allow a parking variance for the expansion and building of a medical office at 1388 W. Colorado,” wrote Kathleen Goodwin.  “There are two very popular businesses that are in the direct vicinity of the building now and they serve the neighborhood community and more, using all the parking available to those businesses now. Coupled with the very popular San Rafael Park across the street from these businesses, the area is already highly impacted with cars and traffic, creating a very unsafe situation if the medical offices take away parking and force people using the park and businesses already there to park on streets around the area.” 

The project came before the hearing officer in September when a similar project was scheduled to be considered, but the project was never heard.

At that time, city staff members received 17 letters in opposition, expressing concerns regarding pedestrian and vehicular visibility at the intersection, loss of landscaped open space, and loss of the existing clock building and/or visibility of the building onsite. 

In response to the community feedback, staff successfully requested that the hearing officer continue the item.

It is not known if the project will be reworked again.The owner of the building also has the option to build on the corner, but that would lead to the elimination of green space on the property. 

Local residents oppose that idea as well. 

“I couldn’t agree more that the variances applied for are inconsistent with the area, especially that of parking,” said Janet Rose. “The area around there hasn’t enough parking as it is, without adding more cars with no place to park. Having lived in this neighborhood for about 60 years or more, I feel that this whole idea of adding more traffic and cars to this residential area is not a good idea, and especially for those who live on Glen Summer.”

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