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Townhall Highlights Concerns with Temple City Development

September 21st, 2009 by Sameea Kamal

Close to seventy people gathered at the Live Oak Park Community Center last Tuesday for a public meeting to voice questions and concerns over plans for the new city development.

“The purpose of the meeting was to get recommendations for the economic revitalization of Temple City, and to explore the feasibility of the expense of projects and areas of opportunity,” said Robert Paz, program director for the consulting firm Avant Garde, who was hired to manage the project in May.

According to the consultant, the firm wants to look at the different developments and the effects they might have.

“The goal is to maximize the dollar,” he said. “For every dollar spent we should make three to five dollars,” Paz said.

The event was the first of three public meetings being held to discuss the economic development and redevelopment efforts of Temple City.

The program featured a presentation by the consultants, followed by discussion groups where participants came up with lists of concerns and suggestions to submit to the firm.

Residents who attended discussed problems regarding visual aspects, housing issues, and funding, some of which stemmed from a development plan proposed about six years ago, said Temple City resident Jim Clift.

“The prior development wanted to take out housing for business,” said resident Suzanne Austin. The concern for the present plan was that parking may take precedence over homes.

Another aspect of parking proposed in the presentation included metered parking on the commercial street, which many participants expressed concern about.

“Metered parking seems unfriendly,” one group expressed.

A proposal for reducing the number of lanes on some streets also sparked debate among groups about the resulting traffic congestion and a spill over onto residential streets. As a response to increased development, some said they would like to see a trolley to take people around the city, as well as building senior housing close to the development area.

Residents had mixed opinions on other aesthetic proposals of the plan such as center dividers on streets. Though some residents found the idea of dividers with grass welcoming, they were also concerned with maintenance costs, utilities and water usage.

Residents Mike and Hurr Shen, a young couple living in Temple City, said that although they liked the plan, they had questions on its feasibility.

“It’ll be good for us, it will be nice,” said Hurr Shen. “But how are they going to achieve it?”

The presentation also lacked information on how the plan might address environmental goals, said Mike Shen.

“They talked about sustainability, but not environmental sustainability, such as going green, water usage and ways of saving energy,” he said. “That’s something a lot of other cities are talking about.”

A popular proposal in the presentation was for a farmer’s market, which many residents said they would like to see.

To deal with state mandated accommodations for a higher density of housing, Clift said mixed use facilities would work as long as there was a limit of two stories for mixed use facilities.

“We want development that reflects the character of the city,” Clift said.

City officials said the event was an attempt to demonstrate transparency in the process.

“The event would not have been possible with the previous council,” Clift said.

According to Paz, the firm was looking forward to starting the project, but that there were many different viewpoints to take into consideration.

“Since you know not everyone will agree, we’re trying to come to some kind of consensus,” he said. “Everyone has an opinion, and how can an opinion be bad?”

More meetings geared towards different groups in the city will be held on Tuesday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m at the Live Oak Park Community Center.

By Sameea Kamal

One Response to Townhall Highlights Concerns with Temple City Development

  1. don suehiro Reply

    September 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    I am a concerned citizen living in a nearby community and have always liked Temple City.. I also am a personal friend of Jim Clift who has always shown personal involvement and has worked and lived in adjacent areas close to Temple City. He is now a community concerned resident. I do indeed listen to his opinion and those who attended with their concerns and opinions. Business will only be successful when providing and incorporating personal concerns of its residents and families who live in Temple City. I support your community and the direct involvement of its citizens.

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