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Council to review budget, Village South next week

by Kathryn Dunn | editor@claremont-courier.com

Two important meetings of the city council are scheduled next week—a special community budget workshop this Saturday and Tuesday’s city council meeting, which will include a review of the specific plan and density for Village South.

The budget workshop is set to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 9 on Zoom. Next year’s structural deficit is estimated at $800,000, with a projected deficit of $2.5 million by 2023.

The city related in its staff report that it began preparing the 2020-21 budget in January, before the COVID-19 restrictions, which they anticipate will further impact the projected shortfall.

“Staff anticipates that sales tax, transient occupancy tax and other general fund revenues will be affected,” the city said.

Reductions are across the board, with big financial hits expected to community and human services through reduction of the community-based organization grants and cuts to the budget for urban forest maintenance.

To join, visit the city website or log in your Zoom account here: https://zoom.us/j/95039627711. 

If you’d prefer to just listen in from your phone, call (213) 338-8477, and enter the webinar ID: 950 3962 7711.

The meeting will not be live streamed through the city website, but instead through Zoom. The recorded meeting will be uploaded to the city website for viewing later.

 

Village South development

The council meeting will take place Tuesday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. with the council looking at adjustments to density for the Village South development.

Several figures have been previously considered in terms of the number of units from 1,100 down to 900, and as high as 2,000 units. The city needs to build more than 1,600 residential units in the next eight years to fulfill its Real Housing Needs Assessment allocation set by the state, many of which need to be affordable housing.

Residents are divided on the issue—some are urging for more housing options, with permission for the developers to go higher than the city’s three-story limit.  Others are warning city staff that allowing for five or six story buildings will create serious problems as far as aesthetics and traffic, which will be detrimental to Claremont’s small-town vibe.

Both sides agree on one point about the Village South development (which proposes to include a mix of residential and retail, as well as a hotel): approach it with caution to allow for a development Claremont residents can be proud of.

Several online petitions have been circulating. One posted to Change.org by Richard Haskell urges the council to seriously reconsider current limits on development.

“An increased number of housing units will allow for meaningful choice and affordability, meet state-mandated housing obligations, and retain local control over land-use decisions. Our Claremont community is built on inclusion, equity, and sustainability,” the petition said. “We urge the City Council to modify the EIR for Village South to allow for sufficient size and scale to reflect our values.”

As of Thursday morning, the petition had garnered 424 signatures.

An opposing petition hosted on the city council election website of Nicole Wirick(www.nicoleforclaremont.com) states:

“Does Village South really need to be up to 2,000 units? The Claremont City Council will consider funding a study to examine expansion of Village South to up to 2,000 units. The project, at that size, is just not sustainable, not dignified housing, not right for Claremont. Tell the City Council that we do not need to spend the money to study something that we don’t want.”

That petition as of Thursday had 66 signatures. Ms. Wirick intends to run for the south Claremont seat (District 5) in the next council election.

The city has created four options to provide public comment.

If you join the Zoom meeting while in progress, you may virtually “raise your hand” and the city clerk will call on you. Residents may also email comments  to be read aloud before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 14 to sdesautels@ci.claremont.ca.us or jcostanza@ci.claremont.ca.us. Public comments may also be mailed to Claremont City Hall, Attn: City Clerk’s Office, PO Box 880, Claremont, CA 91711.

Members of the public may also address the city council by phone. Requests for phone comment should be made to the city clerk by 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Speakers will be called by the clerk during the meeting.

Whether written to be read aloud by the clerk or delivered personally through Zoom or by phone, all public comments must adhere to the four-minute rule.

Call the city clerk’s office at (909) 399-5461 or (909) 399-5463 for more information.

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