Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mills Act Passes Council / Alternative Materials Policy Maintained

From last night's city council meeting:

The Alternative materials question was debated with most of the public comment in favor of maintaining standards for historic homes in the districts. The final outcome was a 3-1 vote in favor of the HPC's recommendation that they be allowed to review materials on a case-by-case basis. Councilmembers Rodriquez and Carrizossa voted against. This will allow the HPC to review materials so that if at some time in the future a truly superior material is presented, they can consider its use. Councilmember George Hunter noted that this appeared to be the best alternative as it gave the HPC the flexibility that it needed to make good decisions.

Our own Meg spoke eloquently in favor of historic vs. new, even arguing that one would still want to preserve the old family printed bible even though the new digital version had "advanced features," was more compact, and easier to read. I loved the analogy.

Vice Mayor Stephen Atcheley gave a strong show of support, stating that it is important that a hundred years from now that we can look back and say that we took care of our historic properties and have maintained them in historically accurate manner.

Dan McIntire discussed an article that appeared in the Sunday LA Time by an architect saying that the problems with vinyl windows and siding (giving off fumes for years, creating dioxin when burned, and when they are replaced--usual lifespan of 15 years--they go into landfills where they don't degrade). He also noted that wood and other historic materials are just better, concluding that the only advantage of vinyl building products is that they are cheaper.

The Mills Act, was also debated and most of the council agreed that it would be a good program to encourage people to upgrade and maintain their historic homes. Councilmember Carrizossa, had concerns about the amount of property tax money that might be lost to the city's general fund and how the city would ensure that the city's best interests were maintained. John Mendoza spoke about the need to ensure that those who entered into Mills Act contracts completely undertand all ramification, noting that it's not something for nothing.

The application fee question was clarified, with the explanation that the proposed fee was to be .1% of the value of the property (for a $500,000 home that would be $500) and that the maximum $2,400 would only apply to large commercial projects which would potentially be in that price range. Meg once again spoke as a new member of the community and stated that she would be more than happy with the fee (so if you think it's too much, blame Meg :-))

The Mills Act passed with a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Carrizossa voting against, stating that she had concerns about the program. Mayor Torres wasn't there for the entire meeting and Councilmember Rothman left prior to either of these items being discussed.


me said...

Great job you guys. I wrote letters way back when to all the council people, but couldn't come out on Monday. Bravo for leading the charge to keep these beautiful homes safe.

G of P

meg said...

Thanks for the kind words, John.

I was taken aback by the way that opposition to both proposals was framed in terms of "those Lincoln Park bourgeoisie" vs. "ordinary people" (the latter is a direct quote from one of the council members. I'm as Bolshevik as the next person, but surely we could conduct civic affairs better without beginning from a position of class warfare.

Of course, I could have aggravated things by saying not "family Bible" but "old King James Bible," automatically sealing all Catholics and Hispanophones out of my intended audience. That was pretty thoughtless of me (and revealing class and ethnic fissures).

Ed said...

The Mills Act should have been discussed prior to the Alternative Materials policy. The property tax abatement will address the financial concerns of the "ordinary people".

In my opinion, the real problem is with the Planning Department's inability to educate the citizens of Pomona on the permit process. We catch the violators in the historic district, but even the Planning Department official acknowledged it as a city-wide problem. And I don't necessarily share their cavalier attitude regarding after-construction permit approval of windows.

Thanks for speaking up.

Anduhrew said...

Was The future of Towne and Foothill not discussed at that meeting? I was told by Ray Fong it would be.

meg said...

Nope -- wasn't on the agenda.

John Clifford said...

Coates and eminent domain was on the closed session agenda (it was phrased as property negotiations and all of the addresses were listed). I can be discussed in closed session if they were discussing the ongoing negotiations. When the city attorney reported on the closed session, he did as he always did and said on all of the items that there was direction given but no action was taken and there is nothing to report. Somehow I question whether everything talked about was actually only specific to negotiations, but I can't prove otherwise so we have to take their word for it unless we see some indication that it's not the case.

I'm also sure that it didn't go too far since the mayor was not present (I heard that she was stumping for Obama in Pennsylvania, again just a rumor).

Ed said...

The latest word I've heard is that Coates wasn't discussed, but will come up at a closed session--maybe on Monday. Just a rumor so I make no guarantees. Also, I just heard about another potential retailer for the Foothill redevelopment. Anyone want to guess what type of business our RDA is bringing to that location?

I'll soon have a post on Coates, which will include some financial information for both the Foothill site and the Auto Center Drive location of West Coast RV. A lot of money has changed hands in the last couple of years.

John Clifford said...

Ed, I'm on needles and pins waiting. Can't hardly wait.