The La Canada Flintridge City Council this week unofficially endorsed basic plans for the controversial Sport Chalet shopping village, but warned that design details are still far from settled.
In a lengthy session Monday, city staff and council members proposed a variety of changes in the $25-million project to replace the Chalet's antiquated complex of retail stores with a tony, European-style village.
The development, first proposed more than six years ago, was finally approved in July after a year of public hearings and heated debate. However, the final design must still be approved by the Planning Commission and City Council.
The center, at Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway, is expected to set the tone for future development along the Foothill commercial strip that serves the largely residential community.
The city last month placed a moratorium on new development along the strip in order to develop design guidelines. A public hearing on the moratorium will be held Monday in a special session of the council at 7:30 p.m. at Descanso Gardens.
In their session this week, several council members, including Mayor Jack Hastings, said they object to the "cookie-cutter" architectural designs of storefronts in the proposed 11.7-acre development.
Some officials suggested realigning and widening roadways and other major changes that the developer said would require expensive new planning and could significantly delay the project.
After several hours of debate, Sport Chalet spokesman Sam Allen told council members that he was "surprised and perplexed" by the extent of changes proposed. "How much is open for reconsideration?" he asked, reminding the council members that they have given developers only until July to break ground.
Without an official vote, council members said they endorse the overall development design as proposed, but urged the Sport Chalet to meet with city planners, residents and the city's design review board to bring a final design back to the council.
"We have a basic agreement and we need to stand by that and move this baby along," Councilman Chris Valente said.