Make the sacrifice
To all the people I know and donâ€™t know in Claremont and beyond:
To the salon owner who is clandestinely seeing clients though your shades are down and a sign says you are closed, and to those clients quickly entering and exiting, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To the subcontractors repairing the patio deck not wearing masks and working closely side by side who claim they donâ€™t have to under union rules, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To the neighbor who has pool parties with families from other households, who stopped by with his young daughter, both maskless, on the Fourth of July and stood on our doorstep, endangering my 75-year-old immune-compromised mom, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To fellow residents in Claremont having relatives visit from hot spots like Arizona and Texas (or meeting up with them in other parts of California) and not following the guidelines, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To the two guys I saw on Yale Avenue shooting the breeze, one wearing his mask and the other bare-faced for over 10 minutes in close proximity, and then the masked one (no, not the Lone Ranger) going back to his place of employment in the Village, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To the people playing soccer at Higginbotham Park without masks and sweating all over each other, and those walking, biking and running on Thompson Creek Trail without masks though there is a sign stating it is required, thanks to your actions this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
To the Claremont City Council members, mayor and police department who are choosing not to enforce the state mandate to wear a mask in public by issuing fines or establishing other consequences, thus putting at grave risk our beautiful community (and surrounding communities, because the virus couldnâ€™t care less about borders) thanks to your actions (or rather, non-action) and lack of leadership, this virus is unending and everyone is suffering.
Thanks to all of you Iâ€™ve mentioned and many others, my mom and I donâ€™t know when or if we will again see my 80-year-old dad who lives in skilled nursing in Claremont. You are putting enormous stress and strain on the angels masquerading as nurses and assistants who care for him and those who live with him.
To all of you I say this: pretend this is a world war, or the Great Depression. Or how about the Spanish Flu of 1918? Make the sacrifice. Do your part. Help end the suffering.
I had a wonderful statue in the front of my yard. She was made of cement and was very heavy. She was a gift and it took three people to place her in my yard. Many passersby admired her.Â
She looked like a Spanish Mission Madonna. Her hands had been broken off and I put a small pot with a succulent in their place. Some people prayed over her;Â others put stones on her head, as Jews do. I was even asked to sell her to a man who knocked on my door saying his wife really loved her.Â
She made me happy and I was glad she was admired by others. On Saturday night around 11 p.m., I heard noise outside of my front door and car doors slamming. I didnâ€™t check as it was late and I live alone.
The next morning my neighbor asked me where my statue was. I thought he was joking, but when I looked, she was gone. Just the small pot and plant remained, thrown to the ground.
I live at Yale and Harrison. I miss my friend. It makes me sad to think that people have to steal. I donâ€™t like to be stolen from. I wonder if this was a greedy act or a hostile one. Her place remains ready for her return.
[Editorâ€™s note: The following letter was addressed to the Claremont Planning Commission. â€”KD]
It is with dismay that I write to you regarding last nightâ€™s meeting.Â Although your unanimous vote (with one recusal by Commissioner Lyons) was followed by laughter and jovial banter, you neglected to apply the Commissionâ€™s mission statement, the General Plan or OSH Specific Plan when you erroneously approved Intracorpâ€™s Tentative Tract Map. You also overlooked the serious nature of ADA violations, and the overriding duty to protect the health, welfare and safety of all Claremont residents.
Some commissioners statements following the vote suggested that opponents of the map were against â€śprogress and change.â€ť Ironic. And wrong. You clearly do not know our family (dedicated residents since 1970) and the community members whoâ€™ve requested modifications to this overly dense, non-inclusive proposed development.
We are innovators, business owners, retired law enforcement, doctors, lawyers and teachers. We want positive change on the ugly lot behind our house, but that does not mean that we accept it without extensive, in-depth analysis. Nor should you, but you did.Â
You asked more pointed questions of the applicant seeking a permit for a yoga studio than you did the developer seeking to plop 96 oversized townhomes with inadequate parking, lacking accommodations for persons with disabilities, lacking open space, drawn to result in traffic calamities, etc. You also did not address the applicantâ€™s failure to meet with over 300 affected Town Ranch residents (one of the public speakers commented).
We support development that is inclusive, multi-generational, diverse and compatible with the surrounding community. Intracorpâ€™s map fails. You should have demanded changes. You had the power and the duty to do so. You failed. Claremont could do better. Claremont deserves better.Â
Living under a landing site
It is incredible to me that I find myself compelled to write this letter in an effort to remind the city of Claremont that the proposed development known as The Commons presently making its way through the committee hearing process is located within a few feet of the take off and landing site of Cable Airportâ€”a site of several serious landing and take off accidents.
The plan to build a number of homes on this site is completely incomprehensible. The location of proposed homes are directly under the take off site. There is even a separate provision for a possible crash landing!
I lived for 25 years in my home on Claremont Boulevard, two blocks from Cable Airport. The constant noise generated by frequent take offs, although not direct flyovers, was incredibly intrusive. The proposed homes at The Commons will be directly under said take offs. The noise will be deafening and unhealthy.
The property is currently zoned commercial and that is an appropriate designation.
Follow the general plan
All Claremont residents should be aware that an EIR,Â specific plan and zoning change for a proposed development called â€śThe Commonsâ€ť at the northwest corner of Foothill Boulevard and Monte Vista Avenue (next to Armstrongâ€™s Nursery) is being heard by the architectural commission on Wednesday, July 29.
The developer will then seek approval from the planning commission later this month. In the fall it will be heard by the LA Regional Planning Airport Land Use Commission and the city council.Â
The specific plan will change the zoning from commercial/highway to mixed use/residential, allowing for the constructionÂ ofÂ 27 single-family detached homes, 68 townhomes (20 of the 68 are within Claremont) and 5,000 square feet of retail with 15 flats above.
A similar zoning change in the vicinity of this site was voted down by Claremont residents in the 1980s due to concerns about proximity to the end of the airport runway and the placement of residential lots in a mostly commercial area.
As community members advocating strongly for sustainability, weâ€™d like to encourage our friends and neighbors, especially those on the architectural and planning commissions and the city council, to ask very tough questions of this specific plan and the impacts of the zoning change that could result if approved.Â
The term â€śsustainabilityâ€ť is mentioned in our general plan over 300 times. Indeed, it is the guiding principle in our general plan. For a project to be sustainable, it has to be economically beneficial, environmentally sound and socially just. Of the many questions we have regarding the sustainability of the Commons, there are three overriding concerns.Â
First, we question if residential zoning at this site isÂ socially justÂ given airport-related safety, public health and noise concerns. The avigation easement (emergency landing area) that also servesÂ as a park and parking area does little to ease these concerns.
Second, is this proposedÂ developmentÂ economically beneficial? Changing the original commercial zoning designation would remove a rare opportunity for a much needed, long-term source of sales tax revenue thatÂ commercial and retail can provide.
Third, is the projectÂ environmentally sound? When it comes to energy efficiency and green building materials, the Commonsâ€™ specific plan references the state building code, which only requires a very small fraction of the green building features that US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requires. Solar alone does not make a building sustainable.
As our general plan strongly encourages, the developers should commit to LEED building certification throughout the project. LEED Neighborhood Certification could also be considered, as it is at Village South.Â
The development at Foothill and Monte Vista can set a precedent for fiscally and environmentally responsible development in Claremont.Â Weâ€™ve got one shot to get this right.Â
Our city commissions, council and staff must follow the general plan and ensure that whatever is built at thisÂ site is socially just, economically beneficial and environmentally sound for generations to come.Â
The Commons is harmful
There are several reasons why building houses beneath the path of airplanes is a bad idea and building more houses in this area in general is a bad idea.
Science tells us that exhaust from airplanes is toxic for all living things, so indeed it will be toxic for people living in homes beneath the airport pathwayâ€”people living in those houses would be subject to higher rates of asthma, bronchitis, heart disease and cancer.
In addition, the water situation in Southern California is only going to become more dire as time goes on given we do not have enough natural water supplies to support our current population and are therefore acquiring water from ecosystems that suffer as we take it to support our grass lawns and swimming pools: Huge waste.Â
Building houses in this area will mean more cars and traffic in this area; we already have increasing levels of ground-level ozone pollution in the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley as well as poor air quality in general and carbon emissions related to climate change due to the high density of gas powered cars.Â
We have very few green spaces left with permeable surfaces for water to recharge into the ground. We need green spaces for biodiversity to thrive in native chaparral habitat. How about if we preserve some green space and bring back native plants, pollinators and birds, and allow water to recharge into our underground water aquifers rather than put in in impermeable surfaces that contribute to the urban heat island effect?Â
Here is a quote that sums up what we are doing in this area: â€śgrowth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.â€ť Itâ€™s time to stand for sustainability and environmental protection. Stop putting profit over people and biodiversity.