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La Cañada's affordable housing options in question

Residents object to locations identified by city to accommodate state law.

November 27, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com

More than 50 La Cañada Flintridge residents filled the Council Chambers on Tuesday night to oppose locations identified by the city for affordable housing, group homes and homeless shelters.

The residents claimed that such housing options would not fit into a community known for scenic views, good schools, and little-to-no crime. Others were worried that the changes would lower their high property values.

“It’s frightening to think of the neighborhood changing,” said resident Marilee Mitchell. “Right now, La Cañada is the best place in the world to live. We want to keep it safe.”

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The city is preparing to rezone locations to allow for various types of housing to comply with a state law. The city is not required to construct affordable or transitional housing units, but it must allow developers the option to build such facilities in La Cañada. A study session on the issue was held Tuesday, prior to the Planning Commission meeting.

More than 300 people have signed an online petition to oppose one of the proposed locations, between Indiana and Union avenues on Curran Street and Foothill Boulevard.

The petition claims that the proposed area is too close to La Cañada Elementary, which is located about a quarter of a mile away.

William Lee, who is spearheading the petition, said that he is worried about the safety of children near a homeless shelter or transitional housing complex.

“We believe this is going to be a big impact on our lifestyle,” he told the Planning Commission.

Lee also claimed that the residents along Indiana Avenue, where he lives, were not properly notified about the proposed zoning changes.

Letters were mailed out to 1,300 affected property owners who live within 800 feet of the proposed locations 10 days prior to Tuesday’s meeting, said Director of Community Development Robert Stanley.

A few letters were returned due to a mailing error, said Stanley. Those letters were then hand-delivered to the affected residents.

Planning commissioners and city staff told residents that it was unlikely that developers would want to build a homeless shelter or low-income housing unit in the city, as property values in La Cañada are high.

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