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La Canada Adds Year to Building Ban


In response to community opposition to high-density development in their suburban community, the La Canada Flintridge City Council has extended for a year a moratorium on new construction along Foothill Boulevard, the main commercial corridor.

In the action taken Monday, the council exempted projects that had been substantially approved by the city prior to adoption of an emergency moratorium Sept. 17. Individual developers also can ask for exemptions from the moratorium for their projects.

City officials said the moratorium is needed to stop new development while a master plan is formulated for the entire length of the boulevard through the community between Briggs Avenue and Oak Grove Drive.

Residents and community leaders have complained in recent months that a hodgepodge of development, including high-density office buildings with underground parking, is encroaching on the affluent suburban community.

More than 60 residents and developers attended the council meeting Monday, most in support of the moratorium even though several asked that their own building projects be exempt.

"I just see big buildings going up everywhere," said one woman who urged the council to extend the moratorium. "This is not why I live in the foothills."

While council members unanimously supported the moratorium, they debated for more than three hours over which projects should be exempt from the rules. The moratorium eventually was endorsed in a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Edward M. Phelps in opposition. Phelps said he opposed the granting of any exemptions, including those previously approved by the Planning Commission.

The city plans to set up a 12- to 15-member advisory board to develop planning guidelines. The moratorium will be in effect until Sept. 16, 1991.

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