BY RAYMOND MENDOZA
Walnut – Walnut’s City Council members met at City Hall council chambers on Wed., June 25 to discuss regular City business matters and hold a public hearing concerning the denial of a conditional use permit for the DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center.
Council members first held a presentation to recognize the Mount San Antonio College Women’s Track and Field Team on their 2014 State Championship win.
“Congratulations on an outstanding season,” Mayor Tony Cartagena said. “On behalf of the City of Walnut, I would like to say congratulations for your efforts and sacrifice while keeping your grades high.”
After approving the minutes for the May 28 study session and June 11 City Council meetings, the council then opened its public hearing in regard to a previously denied conditional use permit for the proposed DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center, located at 351 N. Lemon Ave. Community Development Director, Tom Weiner, outlined a staff report concerning the permit denied by the Walnut Planning Commission on May 7, citing safety concerns for students and traffic congestion for the shopping plaza with the various businesses.
“We feel this will impact other retail uses,” Weiner said. “One of the main things was traffic circulation. You get a lot of traffic through there and there are no parking spaces directly in front of the business space.”
Weiner said the business location would suffer from a lack of parking spaces for the business and that the rear parking spaces might not be sufficient for the number of occupants that the business owners intend on serving. Business owner Jean Navarro said that DiMiYa would be an after-school California Certified Heritage School to enhance education for students ages four and nine months to nine years old.
“If the parking lot is not safe for DiMiYa, how is it safe for Vons?” Navarro said. “How is it safe for New York Pizzeria or the Aims Academy? … With all that said, we would like the Mayor and City Council members to consider opening the DiMiYa Learning Center in Walnut.”
Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz said one of the main problems with clearing DiMiYa’s conditional use permit was the unclear age range for students, which its application said would include kindergarten age, while Council Member Bob Pacheco still cited safety concerns for the student ages. After the public hearing was closed, Councilmember Eric Ching opted to approve the appeal after hearing the various facts from the DiMiYa representatives, but his motion failed to receive any other support from council members. Instead, the council members voted to create new terms and bring the issue back to City Council at another time, pending the cooperation of DiMiYa and the property owner.
Council members went on to approve Ordinance No. 14-02 concerning adding language to the Walnut Municipal Code for parking in City-owned parking lots, and Ordinance No. 14-03 establishing locations for meetings and official postings.
After the ordinances were finished, the council members went on to approve several items on the consent calendar, including a resolution of the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,469,201.48, pending a review of the city’s attorney and pulling a section of a demand concerning billing; Resolution No. 14-28 concerning the City’s annual budget for fiscal year 2014-15 in the amount of $16,634,780; Resolution No. 14-29 for an approval and adoption for the annual appropriations limit for fiscal year 2014-15; Resolution No. 14-30 approving the current County of Los Angeles bail schedule for infractions and misdemeanors; Resolution No. 14-31 for an amending resolution regarding the payment of salaries, sick leave, vacations, leave of absences, and other regulations by revising the authorized positions and salary schedule; the crossing guard services contract renewal for 2014-15; and final acceptance of the 2013-14 maintenance area 2 slurry seal program.
Council members moved to pull item 11, concerning the City Manager employment agreement amendment, to bring back the item for approval either in July or August. Council members then moved to approve the Walnut Successor Agency budget totaling $4,064,000.
After the Walnut Public Financing Authority and Housing Authority meetings, the council members adjourned to closed session with plans to meet July 9 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.