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Marketplace, Y's May Be Exempt From Ballot Curbs

May 29, 1988|ASHLEY DUNN | Times Staff Writer

PASADENA — Four major developments, including the Pasadena Marketplace and the joint YMCA and YWCA expansion project, have won what appear to be exemptions from the restrictions of a slow-growth initiative on the June 7 ballot.

The exemptions stem from a state law designed to protect developers from changes in city land-use policies after a project's vesting tract map has been approved. A vesting tract map marks the boundaries of a project as well as the location of roads and structures. The law became effective in January.

The city's Subdivision Committee approved tract maps for the Marketplace and the YMCA and YWCA projects last week, as well as Phase 2 of the Plaza Las Fuentes development and the city's new police station.

The tract-map approval for the four projects follows a similar action two weeks ago on the $40-million Huntington Hotel project.

The developers of the Huntington, Gemtel Corp. of Los Angeles, were the first to pursue vesting tract map approval to avoid the development restrictions that would be imposed if Proposition G passes.

Hotel Plans

The developers plan to demolish the historic 81-year-old main building of the hotel in the Oak Knoll area and replace it with a similar-looking modern structure.

Deputy City Atty. Ann Higginbotham said the approval of the tract maps will protect the projects even if voters approve the slow-growth initiative.

But some developers, including Dennis H. Constanzo, Gemtel's director of hotel development, say they do not know if tract map approval will exempt them from all the restrictions of the initiative.

Constanzo said the complexity and wide latitude in interpreting the initiative make it impossible to determine whether a project is exempt.

In addition, attorney Christopher Sutton, who helped write the slow-growth initiative, said he intends to appeal the tract map approval of the Marketplace and Plaza Las Fuentes.

The initiative would impose a moratorium on major construction until July 1, 1990, or until the city finishes rewriting its General Plan to include stricter development standards.

The moratorium would apply to all residential and commercial projects taller than 32 feet or larger than 25,000 square feet. Projects with 25 or more housing units would also be affected.

The initiative would also require developers to pay a number of new fees aimed at discouraging development and ensuring that the city would be repaid for street, utility and sewage improvements that largely benefit businesses.

The initiative is sponsored by the Northeast Pasadena Residents Assn., a group that banded together to fight construction of a 184-unit housing development called the Rose Townhomes.

Earlier this year, the residents tried to defeat the project, to be located on a 16.4-acre site just north of Pasadena High School, through a referendum, but failed to gather enough signatures to force a citywide vote.

Separate Petition Drive

They later succeeded in a separate petition drive in putting the slow-growth initiative on the June ballot.

The projects that appear to have won exemptions last week include some of the largest now proposed in the city.

The Marketplace project would convert a block of buildings in old Pasadena into a shopping mall. The $60-million, 340,000-square-foot project has long been considered the cornerstone of the redevelopment of old Pasadena. No construction date has been set.

The $15.1-million YMCA and YWCA project on Holly Street involves the expansion and renovation of the existing YWCA in the Civic Center area. Construction is expected to begin in the fall and be completed in one year. The YMCA would move into the renovated building and sell its existing building.

The city's new police station would be located on Garfield Avenue in the Civic Center area. The 83,000-square-foot project was overwhelmingly approved in 1986 by voters, who agreed to a $17-million bond issue to finance the project.

Phase 2 of Plaza Las Fuentes is a 500,000-square-foot office and retail building to be located on Colorado Boulevard. No date has been set for construction of the $100-million project.

Construction of the $70-million first phase of the project, which includes an office building, hotel and two restaurants, is under way and is expected to be completed in 1989.

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