Plan to build single-family complex marches forward

Recent dialogue with a Claremont property owner is helping to dispel residential concerns regarding a multi-unit complex proposed for a vacant space at Vista Drive and Indian Hill Boulevard.

Following a meeting held last week, officials from The Olson Company—in escrow for the unused plot—have been able to find common ground with residents of the adjacent neighborhood despite initial disagreement on the best use for the vacant south Claremont lot. In the wake of news last July that an expanse of 2-story homes in a complex totaling 26 single-family units was proposed for development, residents flooded the City Council Chamber in stark opposition.

“We weren’t anti any development,” said Jim Keith, one of the residents. “We just wanted to make sure it was quality development. It looks like that is going to happen now.”

With community input gathered at that first meeting, John Reekstin, senior vice president of The Olson Company,  sat down with Mr. Keith and about 30 other residents last week to discuss changes. Chief among initial concerns was the developer’s proposed rezoning of the lot to accommodate a higher density. Though the developer believed increasing the density “makes sense with the surrounding area,” residents feel otherwise.

“I’d rather have the occasional coyote walk by than the additional traffic,” said resident Adrienne Douglas in an interview following the initial meeting. Ms. Douglas additionally noted that the rest of the neighborhood is comprised of single story homes in contrast to the 2-stories within the proposal.

Another residential concern was safety with increased pedestrian activity along Indian Hill, as well as the layout of the complex. Having the garages detached from the homes, for example, seemed inconvenient for potential homeowners, according to Mr. Keith. The layout, with the backside of the homes facing the rest of the neighborhood, seemed likely to isolate complex residents from the rest of the existing neighborhood.  

“It looked to us like place where people wouldn’t want to stay for very long,” Mr. Keith said. Numerous residents felt likewise.

Taking into consideration these concerns, Mr. Reekstin announced the number of units within the complex have been reduced from 26 to 21 with the current zoning remaining the same. Units will now have attached garages, those along Vista Drive will now face north with front doors facing the street and a wall will be set back along Indian Hill Drive with an entrance.

“It’s important to us to work cooperatively with the neighborhoods and hold public meetings early in the process to gather input and to revise our plans accordingly,” said Mr. Reekstin, who is eager to add The Olson Company’s second Claremont development. The Orange County-based company has also developed the Village Walk next to the Packing House. With revised plans, Mr. Reekstin hopes to have a new proposal submitted to the city by November.

“We have wanted to come back and build again in the city of Claremont,” he said. “There is not a whole lot of home production [in Claremont], and we feel this complex will be very much in demand.”

—Beth Hartnett


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