Council rejects appeal over art museum

The Pomona College Museum of Art is another step closer to becoming a reality after surviving several appeals Tuesday night.

The Claremont city council voted 3-2 to uphold the architectural commission’s positive recommendation of the site plans of both the museum and the future site of the soon-to-be-relocated Renwick House. The council’s vote rejects several appeals from residents who took issue with the museum’s plans, and is the culmination of over four years of vetting by the city.

Mayor Sam Pedroza and councilmembers Opanyi Nasiali and Joe Lyons voted in favor of the projects, and councilmembers Corey Calaycay and Larry Schroeder voted against them.

Six residents filed formal appeals of the architectural commission’s recommendation during their November 9 meeting. The appellants—Claremont Heritage, Jacob Patteson, Mary Stoddard, Denise Spooner, Pamela Casey Nagler and Martin McLeod—claimed the museum’s design failed to adhere to several provisions, including incompatibility with surrounding development, consistency with the Village Design Plan and the General Plan, procedural issues and the overall quality of the design.

Three speakers brought up former architectural commissioner Marta Perlas’ resignation letter to illustrate what they claimed was a broken commission process.

City staff, as presented by Principal Planner Chris Veirs, refuted in great detail every concern the appellants had. The resolution presented to the council was more detail to the one that was presented to the commission—it included 14 pages of text explaining how all 12 of the design criteria are met, Mr. Veirs said.

During discussion, Councilmember Corey Calaycay noted the positive relationship between the college and the city, but lamented the design and the potential impact he said the museum would have on the community, calling his no vote a “difference of opinion.”

“My difference of opinion is respectful and it’s on one project and one project only,” he said.

Councilmember Opanyi Nasiali, in his vote to approve the commission’s decision, noted the plans have taken four years to get to this point.

“Enough is enough. I don’t want to go another four years looking at this thing,” he said. “I’m tired.”



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