Members of an advisory committee who will study commercial development on Foothill Boulevard, particularly the proposed expansion of the two Sport Chalet sporting goods stores, were named this week by the La Canada Flintridge City Council.
Called the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Foothill Boulevard, the 20-member group represents a cross section of the city's residents and includes civic activists, business leaders, preservationists and developers, officials said.
Council members selected the group from among 120 applications submitted to the city, Mayor Thomas Curtis said.
The committee is the brainchild of Curtis, who announced its formation in October to cool a heated community debate over the proposed expansion of the Sport Chalet stores.
The stores' owner, Norbert Olberz, agreed to work with the committee and withdrew the request for a zoning change that had sparked the debate. Olberz had asked that the zoning of 9 1/2 acres at Foothill and Angeles Crest Highway be changed from mixed residential-commercial use to commercial planned development.
Residents had repeatedly clashed with city officials over the Sport Chalet issue, fearing that Olberz's plans to build a major shopping complex would ruin the semirural character of the largely residential community.
Businesses in the community--mostly small stores, banks and service firms--are concentrated along a four-mile strip of Foothill Boulevard, the city's major thoroughfare.
Curtis said delays in forming the committee were caused by a need to guarantee that its composition reflected a consensus of the council as well as residential and business interests. It was a "very difficult job to strike an adequate balance" in meeting those criteria, the mayor said.
The committee will have two co-chairmen: Kent Frewing, an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, and James Reynolds, a retailer and developer who has specialized in planning shopping centers.
Also on the committee are Sam Allen, chief executive officer of the Sport Chalet, and Wilfred Grifka, a member of the board of directors for the Homeowner's Assn. of La Canada Flintridge.
The homeowners association was formed last year primarily to combat the Sport Chalet expansion and is in the midst of a petition drive to place a "residential preservation" ordinance on the November municipal ballot to restrict zoning changes. The association has until July to collect 1,500 signatures to qualify the proposed ordinance for the ballot.
Business and civic leaders on the committee include Johnny Johnson, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Ed Peterson, pastor of the Lutheran Church in the Foothills, and Mary Weiderkehr, a representative of the Valley Beautiful preservation group.
Other members of the committee are Roger Aver, Robert Biller, Bill Dewey, Lynn Dotts, Scarlet Hibner, Hal Jewell, Glenn Krinsky, Warren Martin, Larry Preble, Sue Schecter, Greg Smith, Ed Stevenson and Audrey Hedges Tesenholtz.
The committee is expected to hold its first meeting in the next few weeks. Curtis said the group will act only as advisers to the city Planning Commission and will have no legal authority to make decisions regarding commercial development in the community.
"Nothing in this informal exchange is going to bind the city staff or the city government in any way," Curtis said.