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Guest Column:

Chamber works beyond Fiesta Days

May 20, 2010|By Joel Peterson

The La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Assn. is very busy these days. Fiesta Days and the Memorial Day Parade are just around the corner.

Most people in our community are familiar with Fiesta Days — the barbecues, the fireworks, the French Toast Breakfast, the Memorial Day Parade, to name only a few events. I hope your whole family will come out and join the chamber and all out sponsors for the festivities!

What people may not be as familiar with are all the other roles and impacts that the chamber has and does. We are unique, like so much about La Cañada Flintridge. We represent businesses and their interests to the city and other agencies.

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But we are also a community association, acting as a watchdog for the town’s residents on issues that impact them, as well as bringing community enhancing events like Fiesta Days.

The chamber puts on the weekly Farmers Market, monthly business/community mixers, the Men About Town fashion show, quarterly business breakfasts, the Business Lunch speaker series, Foothills Community Business Expo, business opening ribbon cuttings, Festival in Lights (the town’s holiday lighting ceremony), and of course, Fiesta Days. But we also attend all La Cañada Flintridge City Council and all the various city commission meetings and ensure that issues are tracked and community and business concerns are heard.

With the chamber’s efforts, this past year the city reduced its conditional-business-use permits (both major and minor) by 50%, the sign review fee was reduced 68%, the Overlay Ordinance was passed, allowing ground floor commercial space along Foothill Boulevard to be offices, rather than just retail, and established a city planning department ombudsman program.

These are all changes that benefit local businesses, stimulate the local economy and enhance the city’s financial viability. Additionally, with the chamber’s input and efforts, the city passed an emergency ordinance allowing homes up to 100% destroyed in the recent mudslides to be rebuilt to their full pre-existing footprint and dimensions, even if not in compliance with current zoning (normally if a home is more than 50% destroyed, the owner is required to conform to the current zoning). This eased the pain of rebuilding to those most traumatized.

With the recently passed policy of the school district easing admission for children of those employed in the district, and combined with the noted impacts, La Cañada Flintridge continues to enhance our businesses’ and the community’s vitality.

So, yes! Come on out for Fiesta Days! Bring the whole family; the chamber welcomes you! But also keep in mind the daily, weekly, quarterly and annual work that the chamber quietly does on behalf of our community’s residents and business owners.


Get in touch: JOEL PETERSON is chairman of the board of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Assn. and can be reached through the chamber offices (818) 790-4289 or through flintridge.com">exec@lacanada flintridge.com. Peterson is also a member of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board.

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