By Raymond Mendoza
Walnut – Walnut’s City Council held their meeting for the first time after the New Year, and was met with angry citizens voicing their displeasure about a planned housing development on Camino De Rosa. Council member Tony Cartagena was out sick, according to council member Mary Su.
The Council started off its meeting with two recognitions – the first being for Mt. San Antonio College’s Women’s Cross Country State Champion win. Several of the members, along with coaches Doug Todd and Ron Kamaka, accepted the City’s recognition of their accomplishments and their status as state champions.
The second recognition was for Chinese exchange teacher, Jing Jang, who has taken up residency at Walnut Elementary. Mayor Nancy Tragarz thanked Jang on behalf of the City for her work in creating strengthened cultural relations between America and China.
Jang commented that she was honored to work in the City of Walnut and to have a chance to not only learn many American traditions, but to teach her students about many Chinese traditions as well. At the end of her speech, Jang wished everyone in the City a Happy Chinese New Year.
Following public comments and an approval of the Dec. 10 meeting minutes, the Council then approved the first public hearing item, selecting projects for the 2015-2016 Program of the Community Development Block Grant. The program was in the amount of $143,393 for housing rehabilitation, and $16,484 for senior citizen activities in the City.
The next public hearing item was a matter of much contention from residents, pertaining to the development of 13 single-family homes on a 1.2 acre of land at 650 Camino De Rosa. Residents largely came out to speak against the development, claiming that the area lacked parking, would create higher volumes of traffic, lacked space for housing and would contribute to more trash on the streets. Other residents came to the development’s defense, claiming that the new houses would increase property value and encourage more commerce in the area.
As the public comments ended, the council members largely agreed that the development was in the best interest of the City. However, the Council added an amendment to have the landscaping looked at one more time – with the possibility of adding more trees and plants – before any building permits would be issued. The Council then approved the plan unanimously.
The Council then went on to approve the second reading of an ordinance of the City Council related to “Body Treatment Related Businesses,” and all items on the Council consent calendar including the certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,343,169.56, the agreement between Silver & Wright, LLP for municipal code enforcement legal services, sports groups requests for biannual field use for spring 2015, and the only item on the Successor Agency consent calendar for claims and demands in the amount of $125,000.
After the Council discussed their announcements and comments, the meeting was adjourned with plans to meet on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.