5000+ Page EIR on Montebello Hills Here

The City Council of Montebello has decided to release the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the Montebello Hills Specific Plan (MHSP). and the Specific Plan itself, simultaneously and with the absolute minimum publicity and comment time legally allowed. The document is finally available 18 days after its announced release date at the Montebello Library. You may be lucky enough to buy ($10) a 2 cd set if they are available that day at city hall (a 50-50 chance, based on our experience), and on the cityofmontebello.com website.

When Jim Flournoy tried to read an alleged printed copy at the city hall on the 17th, he was told that it wasn't available, and after a series of three stooges types of emails with various city officials, he was finally able to view the DEIR in printed form about a week later, as the geologic maps online were unreadable. His travails are detailed on the Topix website for the Whittier Daily News, Montebello local.

If you want to see what the impacts to YOU are, look on the cityofmontebello.com website, find the DEIR, and look in the index for the traffic impacts. The Orange County developer apparently doesn't want to study many traffic patterns outside of Montebello, even though two of the three outlets of the proposed development point north. Isn't there some other city north of Montebello? Oh yeah, Rosemead. Well, according to the traffic study, nothing can be done to mitigate the increased traffic for San Gabriel Blvd, Montebello and Paramount Blvds. They didn't seen to think that Walnut Grove and other streets north of the 60 were worth studying. Perhaps you might disagree, but if you don't send legally binding comments to the city before May 13, your opinion won't matter.

The report on the hills 'cultural resources' would have more authority if they had the name of the city right. The Orange County consultant, who apparently couldn't be bothered to actually visit Montebello or ask any actual residents what cultural value the Hills have appears to have read a few college papers and articles on 'The City of Montebello Hills', as our city is called on the title and second page of the report.

There are lots of little land mines waiting for the unwary to find here, but I won't spoil your fun reading.

The Montebello City Council asked for an additional month to study a 60 page or so report on a single business who was asking for a business license, and had 3 public hearings and 3 public notices on that matter, but the most complex, expensive, environmentally destructive, unpopular development ever considered in Montebello gets an absolutely minimum 45 day comment period with no citizen of Montebello, no outside or local public interest group gatting a single free copy of the plan to evaluate. One printed copy was promised to every group by Michael Huntley a week before the release date, but apparently when the city found that they weren't obligated to provide them, they decided 4 days after the alleged release date of the plan to renege on their pledge. The city's unreliable server was unable to handle the demand for the 5000+ page document coming from so many government, organization, and individual users that it crashed for most of the first 3 weeks, and even now many people complain to us (and the city officials) that they can't always access the MHSP and DEIR. The cds weren't available at the city hall until 3 days after the alleged release date of 3/30, and they are only sporadically available since. Despite all these problems, the city is rushing to approve the project as fast as possible with as little public input as possible.

The city put notices of scoping meetings for the MHSP in the city published Montebello News newsletter sent to every home in Montebello, but those that came to the two meetings were so anti-development that they apparently decided to embargo any information about the MHSP that they didn't absolutely have to release. For Mayor Vasquez's State of the City speech, a special March edition of the Montebello News was printed detailing promising new developments in Montebello, but not one word about the Hills, despite an upcoming Redevelopment Projects page. The MHSP is in a redevelopment zone, and the map of Montebello has the proposed project area highlighted, but there was no mention of the DEIR release, or anything to do with the proposed condo project.

Finally, more than 3 weeks after the alleged DEIR release date, the city grudgingly scheduled two 'study sessions' for the city council, one on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 6:00 to 8:30pm at the council chambers for the MHSP, and one on Thursday, May 7, same time and place for the DEIR. 'Staff will accept written comments and public testimony' is the only indication that there will be any public input. At the scoping meetings, there was a court reporter who transcribed people's oral comments, but there was only a few questions answered. This format will apparently be reused. Please come to these meetings so the city's transparency can be observed transparently supporting the carpetbagger developer over the quality of life of current residents.

The DEIR has numerous computer altered photos to show how the Hills will look with a ticky-tacky condo development, lined with trees along the ridgeline. Please look at them and decide if you want those OC style firetraps next to or in your city.

The city council destroyed the French Cafe, the Taylor Ranch House, and now appears poised to destroy the last distinctive aspect of Montebello, it's signature Hills.

Link to Montebello Hills Specific Plan website

The City of Montebello's webpage for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan is linked here, in case you want to read the plan, the draft EIR, or other related materials.

As noted in the previous post, the link seems to work intermittently, and is often very slow to load.

French Cafe?

Why did they tear that down?

It was such a neat looking building. All it needed was an investor to bring out its potential, and turn it into a little nightclub or a cafe.

Le Cafe Francais

One wall was sagging, so someone in the city used this as an excuse to do an 'emergency demolition' with no public notice or hearings. According to a local VFW member, Pope John Paul II visited there in the 1980s when he was a Polish priest collecting money in the US for Catholic Relief.

"That's just great." What is

"That's just great." What is it with some city people? They have no taste at all. Whittier Bl is an architectural desert of stucco building blocks, and that unusual building was one of a handful of little gems waiting to be polished.

I found a postcard of the cafe online!

Postcard of the cafe.

Public Comment Extension Period

The public comment period has been extended to May 28, 5:30 pm. Some deficiencies pertaining to Rosemead residents are the puzzling traffic study which used 7 vehicle trips per household per day to determine the level of increased traffic on San Gabriel Blvd., the Pomona ramps for Montebello Blvd., and San Gabriel Blvd., and Walnut Grove (to Walmart). Professional traffic study consultants tell us that 10 vehicle trips per household are the usual number in California. They also tell us that Montebello residents average closer to 15 vehicle trips per day. The reason that the smaller number was used is that the more accurate number leads to gridlock at peak times, and there is no sufficient reasonable mitigation that can be done. For you residents in adjacent cities, CH refuses to consider your loss of viewscape as a significant problem. Buried in the 5000+ pages, there is a blurb that they will cut 100 feed from the height of the hills to fill in the extant canyons and straighten out the ridgeline.