BY RAYMOND MENDOZA
Walnut – Walnut City Council members met Wed., May 28 for their final meeting of the month, which sparked heated discussion about the parking situation at Mount San Antonio College from nearby residents.
The meeting began when City Council members awarded residents Mary Lee Saint John and Vic Saint John for their active membership in the Walnut Walkers club, which promotes healthy activity from senior citizens in the city. Mayor Tony Cartagena thanked the two for their work with the club and helping with its growth, outgoing spirit, and healthy attitude.
“Every Sunday night, Mary Lee makes individual phone calls to every walker on the list, reminding and encouraging them to show up,” Cartagena said. “Because of her commitment, the Walnut Walkers are currently an active and energetic group with about 40 members to promote exercise and staying healthy.”
After the award presentation, the City Council approved the May 14 meeting minutes and Resolution No. 14-25 for the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,117,762.36.
The council then began its discussion of the parking structure construction at Mt. SAC, with a staff report from City Attorney, Mike Montgomery.
Public outcry for a Council discussion has been ongoing for several months, with residents complaining about the lack of parking at the community college and students parking in nearby neighborhoods.
“It’s parking has overflowed in the community through the years, as a result of probably outgrowing its original capacity,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery noted that Measure RR was approved in November 2008 for the $350 million bond issued to make improvements to the campus, which included a parking structure for more than 200 spaces. He said that cities have minimal authority for structures established in community college campuses. Montgomery also said that after years of planning and tests, the campus is entering its final stages before construction starts in 2015.
Residents then had the chance to ask questions pertaining to the progress of construction on the parking structure. Residents also questioned the limits of capacity at Mt SAC, stating that the population of the school has become so large that its facilities are no longer able to support the number of students.
Complaints from Walnut residents filled the council chamber pertaining to noise pollution, actual pollution, overcrowding, and unsafe traffic hazards caused by students.
With all the concerns of the residents, Cartagena then appointed Bob Pacheco and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz to meet with the administration from Mt. SAC sometime in June to discuss matters pertaining to resolving overcrowding issues.
City Council officially adjourned at 8:45 p.m., with plans to hold its next meeting on June 11 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers, located at 21201 La Puente Road.