Last night, Wednesday, Feb. 4. was the first Pomona Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) meeting since November 2008 and the November elections. We lost three commissioners in the electoral process. Former commissioners Jim Kercheval, Tad Decker, and Scott Hillsman received Goddess Awards at Monday's council meeting and they will be missed. I, personally, wish to thank them for their years of service, at no compensation, in what was often a difficult job.
In addition, Ramon Zavala, is moving away from the area to accept a new job position. While I wish him well, he also will be missed very much. He was a gentleman and always was deliberative in making the tough decisions.
This leaves two seats left to be filled. Councilwoman Christina Carrizosa needs to replace Ramon Zavala, and the Mayor still needs to make his appointment. If you're interested, be sure to fill out an application with the city clerk.
So, out with the old, in with the new.
The new commission retains commissioners Mitch Elias (district 4), Dawn Van Allen (district 5), and Udit de Lange (district 2). New commissioners who were attending their first meeting last night were: Dee Dee Brookshire (district 1) and Ethel Gardener (district 6). Both new commissioners were attentive and worked around a short agenda "learning the ropes" of the electronic voting system and the procedures of the commission.
The first order of business for the new commission was to choose an interim chair for the evening as both the chair and vice chair of the previous commission were no longer there. Dawn Van Allen was chosen to chair for the evening and did a commendable job. At the end of the meeting, the commission chose new leadership and chose Mitch Elias as chair and Dawn as vice chair. Congratulations to them both.
There were two items of interest at the meeting.
TREE REMOVAL: A resident of Lincoln Park, after cutting down a birch tree without a permit, asked to be able to remove 4 trees (including the birch) from their back yard. The residents (bought about 1-1/2 years ago) want to get rid of the trees to "make their yard more usable." Since the trees are living and show no signs of disease or that they are doing damage to the property, the tree ordinance is very clear that cutting down trees should only be a "last resort" measure. Since the birch was deemed to have been dead prior to being cut down, the commission approved that removal and asked that another tree be planted, at a location of the homeowner's choosing, but didn't allow for the removal of the other living trees. A 50+ year old gum tree was of particular concern as it was very mature and a part of the historic landscape. The commission did allow that the resident could move two Queen Palm trees to another location on the property to make their yard more usable. The resident didn't appear happy with the commission's decisions so I'm pretty sure we'll hear more of this in the future.
HISTORIC SIGN ORDINANCE FOR DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLAN: Staff gave a report to the HPC on progress toward a sign ordinance to be included as part of the Downtown Specific Plan. This would affect the area of the downtown that includes the Arts Colony and Antique Row, as well as some of the adjacent areas. Staff was just asking for input as the downtown specific plan moves through the process.
An additional public meeting on this subject is in the plans to be hosted by Pomona Heritage and the Historical Society of the Pomona Valley. I'll be sure to let everyone know when this gets scheduled.
All-in-all a good meeting. It looks like the new commission is poised to do a lot of good work. Good luck.