Councilman Ed Phelps, who won an upset victory last year over veteran council incumbents, claimed credit for the large turnout. "It's all my fault," he said. "This particular project is going to have the greatest impact on this community and there are things we need to do to get a hold of it."
He called on residents to offer ideas and alternatives to developing the Chalet property. "There is a tremendous amount of talent in this community," he said. "Any input you can give us at this formative stage would be appreciated."
While the size of the city's population has changed little over the years, "empty nesters"--older couples whose children have grown and left home--are slowly being replaced by young, affluent couples with children, said Otterman. He said the new generation accounts for the more receptive attitude toward development of a community shopping center.
Carol Paton, a member of the citizens' group, compiled slides of other community shopping centers, both similar and dissimilar to the one proposed in La Canada Flintridge.
She showed slides of centers designed by the Chalet's developer, Paul Quong, such as a Western-style village built around a parking lot in Encinitas near San Diego and a Spanish-style plaza in Camarillo in Ventura County, which she called unacceptable.
In contrast, Paton said she likes the village-like ambience of shopping plazas in Westlake Village in Ventura County and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County, with their covered walkways, outdoor dining areas and textured sidewalks.
"We would like to see a place where you might want to be, rather than just go," she said.