HomeProponents of Mission St. Proposal Seek Council’s Help

Proponents of Mission St. Proposal Seek Council’s Help

The San Marino City Council punted last week on an appeal of a decision that thwarted plans for a mixed-use building on Mission Street and will take up the matter at a future meeting.
Councilwoman Gretchen Shepherd Romey asked colleagues to push back the public hearing to allow the city time to do additional legal research into the issue. The request got an easy unanimous approval, and the council moved on to the rest of the meeting.
At issue was a proposed structure at 2404 Mission St. that was to include two residential units with a small commercial storefront and total 7,118 square feet. The Planning Commission denied a conditional use permit for the project in October, largely on the grounds that it was simply too big for Mission Street but also because San Marino steadfastly remains a city of single-family residences.
The project as presented called for a 546-square-foot storefront and a 638-square-foot residence on the first floor and a 5,934-square-foot residence spanning the first and second floors. It was designed by Pasadena-based architect James Coane.
Attorney Richard McDonald, also of Pasadena, appealed the denial on behalf of landowner Justin Mi. Likely expecting the denial, McDonald prepared almost an opening legal salvo in the application for the project, citing the Housing Accountability Act.
The HAA limits a public agency’s ability to deny housing projects that comply with “objective general plan and zoning standards” unless the agency finds that the project will cause a “specific adverse impact upon the public health or safety.”
McDonald wrote that the proposal meets those standards for San Marino and, more specifically, the Mission Street commercial zone.
“In fact, it’s thoroughly consistent and it’s harmonious with your general plan relating to compatibility,” he said at the time.
However, the Planning Commission disagreed. It maintains that a building that is 90% residential does not fit in with the commercially zoned neighborhood. The commission also cites a number of other factors — including building height and design aesthetic — as being incompatible with the area.
“For me, that’s an apartment building,” Commissioner Jeri Wright said during the October decision.
It was unclear when the appeal will next come before the council.

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