Los Al 2035? Joint Los Alamitos Commission meeting on General Plan Update at 6 Wednesday, 5/14/2014

(Los Alamitos, 5/145/2014)  If you’d like to help shape the key blueprint for Los Alamitos’ future for the next two decades, read on:

Los Alamitos’ Planning, Traffic, and Parks & Recreation Commissions will be meeting jointly tomorrow evening in the Council Chambers to review & discuss three important Elements of the current General Plan Revision:

  1. Land Use
  2. Mobility and Circulation
  3. Open Space, Recreation, and Conservation.

Meeting Schedule:

6:00–Roll call, short overview video

6:15–Introductions, overview timeline

6:30–Draft goals & policies from the 3 Draft Elements:  Highlights, questions, discussion


7:30–Continued discussion

7:55–Next steps and adjournment

Lots of ideas, lots to consider:

With 21 Commissioners plus the public, there will be lots of viewpoints on lots of topics.  The City Staff and their consultants have come up with many ideas, some quite creative, most with pros and cons.  Consider a few:

Los Alamitos Blvd. narrowing north of Florista/Katella:  The City Council deadlocked 2 – 2 with Marilyn Poe having to recuse herself when this first came up four years ago as a proposal from SCAG’s Compass Blueprint Commercial Corridors Plan (click here for the whole plan, Table of Contents on p. 3).  Basically, the plan is to narrow Los Al Blvd. and widen the parkways on both sides of the street, possibly slowing traffic to make a pedestrian-friendly “downtown” south from Cerritos Blvd. to Florista, just north of Hoff’s.

The hope is to create a “destination” sort of strolling area of shops & eateries.  The concern is the plan takes away the possibility of expanding Los Al Blvd. to three lanes in that area, which could result in. . . .

Losing the best hope to uncongest Katella?

In the last Measure M election, where OC’s half cent sales tax was extended, voters were promised a  multitude of improvements, including the expansion of the Spring/Cerritos interchange with the 605 to add a southbound onramp to the 605 and a northbound off ramp.

When OCTD discussed this with our City Engineer, they indicated Los Alamitos would have to be expanded to three lanes in each direction north to Cerritos for them to put in the interchange.  While I question the logic of that requirement, I do see the addition of those two ramps as the most logical way to reduce congestion on Katella, providing full access to the 605 to Cypress and North Los Alamitos residents and businesses and employees without having to drive down to Katella.

Community Development Director feels that completion of the interchange is unlikely, and it’s time to stop putting cars first and consider pedestrians and cyclists.  I’m inclined to seek clarification from OCTD before permanently eliminating one of the best chances to reduce gridlock.

Lots of other items are on the table:

  • Rezoning Los Al Blvd. from Florista south to Farquhar to allow multi-story mixed use development in the hopes of revitalizing our older retail areas.  I’ve seen where this was attempted in Fullerton, where most of the ground floor retail still sits vacant.  Personally, I think allowing for multi-story retail and entertainment might work better.  In past discussions over 90% of the Commissioners indicated their support for the mixed use approach.
  • Possibly rezoning the Arrowhead Property for possible future retail development should Arrowhead ever leave.  This has been a hot jobs vs, sales tax discussion with the Commissioners fairly evenly split.  The back half of the Arrowhead property is primarily vacant land, and the property is one of the largest parcels in town.
  • Rezoning the north side of Katella from the Civic Center to the freeway for retail.

You can review the Agenda, Agenda Report, and all three components by clicking here and scrolling down.

The meeting will not be televised.

As always, your reporting and your perspective is welcome.




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4 Responses to Los Al 2035? Joint Los Alamitos Commission meeting on General Plan Update at 6 Wednesday, 5/14/2014

  1. JM Ivler says:

    Because some people tell lies about it more times than not, and because I am a big supporter of it, I would like to address “Possibly rezoning the Arrowhead Property”.

    1) This would be a zone overlay and would have no effect on Arrowhead and their ownership or their development of their property.
    2) If the property changes ownership the property would have the new zoning designation
    3) If Arrowhead were to sell off a portion of the property (the undeveloped back portion for example) today they could do it and Prologis could buy it and put a truck depot there and there is nothing to stop that. With the zone overlay the only thing that could be developed in that property would be retail (no truck depot!).

    Now for one additional piece of information. If zoned for retail the value of the property is MUCH higher than that of the current zoning (it’s why the zoning overlay is not for open space, as that reduces the value of the property to the current owner, and that is not fair to Arrowhead).

    Unlike some people have claimed, falsely, I have not walked the property, nor have I ever had a representative look over the property (can’t stop Lisette Gabler from lying about me, but then again, can’t seem to stop her from lying at all). I did work for a person who does property development (he owns the Beverly Hills Hilton property) and showed him the property via google maps at one point and we discussed things that he would do with the property if he was developing it. It was in one of those discussions where we discussed “what could make Los Al a great place to stop” and he pointed out that we could become a location of fine dining establishments (thus the discussion that led to the concept of mixed use on the Arrowhead property that included five fine dining pads with retail and office above them and all having outdoor dining in a park-like setting thus preserving open space as well as making the best possible use of the land.).

    Again, the overlay does not effect Arrowhead and their operations or business. The overlay does protect us from a partial land sale to someone like Prologis and a truck depot and actually does make the land more valuable for Arrowhead if and when the decide to sell the property. It also assures us that the largest remaining piece of property on Katella in Los Alamitos will be developed in a manner that will increase the sales tax base of the City (yet another good thing).

  2. Los Al Resident says:

    Personally, I would LOVE a Trader Joe’s in the Arrowhead property and restaurants catering to the health-conscious. No fast-food hamburger joints. Gourmet foods. Boutiques. Ice cream shop. I’d be so much fun to get together with my neighbors on a Friday night at our local restaurant/wine bar and have a great time! We could even walk home afterwards.


  3. JM Ivler says:

    LAR, Imagine seven pads for high end restaurants. Each with their own patio. Ruth Chris or McCormick s. PF Chang a few non-chain – maybe one that has wild game, and another that does Tapas.

    On the corner of Lexington and Katella, a parking structure so that we can keep most of the area open space and green. Above the restaurants and stretching between them on a second story various retail establishments and on a third story commercial office space separated by artist lofts/studio’s/galleries. Then , at the north end of the property a food store (high end) and maybe even a small entertainment zone (movie theater, bowling alley, and if done right a outside auditorium / mini bowl with lighting and sound).

    There is so much that can be done with the land if and when Arrowhead decides to leave. The goal is to ensure that the future zoning allows what we want to be there rather than industrial, which is a very bad choice for such a large well located piece of property in the city.

  4. Los Al Resident says:

    JM Ivler, that would definitely work for Los Alamitos! The tax revenue would be tremendous–it’s a great vision! I think we have enough industrial; having a commercial/retail zone with upscale shops/restaurants will not only bring in revenue but improve our sense community and image. And as a bonus, a commercial zone is more favorable to the environment than an industrial one…

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