New 197-unit senior center (Symphony at San Gabriel) seeks City Council approval

The following is a preview of the August 21 City Council meeting. You may read the full agenda here.

Located at the east side of South Gladys Avenue between East Grand Avenue and East El Monte Street, the proposed 197-unit senior center replaces the now-demolished Mission Lodge Sanitarium. The new project – known as the Symphony at San Gabriel – would assemble two properties and redevelop the three-acre site for senior independent living, assisted living and a memory care center. The building would include studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units, with valet service, a bar, several dining areas, a music room, a craft room, library, theater and exercise rooms designed for assisted living.

Some other important details include:

  • There will be 110 parking spaces located in one level of subterranean parking along with nine surface parking spaces at the northwest corner of the project
  • Access to the project will be through the east side of South Gladys Avenue, including a one-way U-shaped road that runs to the east, south (along the rear of the building) then back to the west
    • One-way entrance will be located at the northwest corner of the project
    • One-way exit will be located at the southwest corner of the project
    • Fire access, loading and delivery space at the rear of the building
    • A U-shaped driveway located at the center of the project along South Gladys Avenue, with access to valet parking, a pick-up and drop-off area and subterranean parking

After a careful review, City staff believes that the City’s demographics indicate a need for senior housing. The project is estimated to create 75-90 new part-time and full-time jobs. In addition, to ensure that the project matches the surrounding neighborhood, the applicant will use an interpretation of Spanish colonial architecture alongside extensive landscaping along South Gladys Avenue. As a condition for approval, City staff is also proposing improvements to the streetscape, requiring an easement from the San Gabriel Humane Society to extend the walking path adjacent to the Rubio Wash to the project site.

Both the City Architect and City Landscape Architect are granting their approval for this project to move forward through the Planning Commission and City Council for consideration. The Planning Commission has approved the project by a vote of 4-0, noting that the developer should contribute their share for a localized traffic analysis to be completed at 12-18 months following the issuance of occupancy. The developer would also be responsible for all implemented recommendations along South Gladys Avenue.

With the project now under consideration by the City Council, City staff recommends that the City Council introduce an ordinance to adopt the mitigated negative declaration and mitigation, monitoring and reporting program alongside the approval of the project.

Public Works seeks approval for pedestrian ramp improvements

Every year, Public Works selects a number of street corners where ADA (or Americans with Disability Act) ramps do not exist or where reconstruction is required. This year, several pedestrian ramps were selected for reconstruction due to their close proximity of schools, park use, church and/or bus transit stops.

These include:

  • One pedestrian ramp at Hermosa and Gerona
  • Four pedestrian ramps at Gurdon and Rosemont
  • Four pedestrian ramps at Gurdon and Santa Anita
  • Two pedestrian ramps at Gurdon and Ardmore
  • Two pedestrian ramps at Gurdon and Daroca
  • Two pedestrian ramps at Gurdon and Segovia
  • One pedestrian ramp at Central and Pine
  • Two pedestrian ramps at Central and California
  • Three pedestrian ramps at Marshall and Pine

After receiving six bids, our Public Works team determined that CEM Construction Corporation was the most qualified responsible bidder with a project cost of $106,000. For comparison, the City’s engineer’s estimate came out to $96,000. Funding from this project would come from the approved fiscal year 2018/19 budget for capital improvement projects.

Acceptance of a parcel map for 360 East Las Tunas Drive

Designed around a new project at 360 East Las Tunas Drive, this new parcel map documents a new seven-unit medical office condominium project with 1,208 square feet of retail space and 8,209 square feet of medical office space with off-street parking. The project is located on an 18,845 square foot lot located on the south side of Las Tunas Drive between St. Francis Street and California Street in a zoned retail/commercial area of the City. In addition, the project will accommodate 39 spaces of parking.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works reviewed the map for mathematical accuracy, survey analysis, title information and compliance with state code, while the City’s Public Works and Community Development departments reviewed the map for compliance with City ordinances.

The impact fees for the project have been completed and the applicant will post a cash deposit to guarantee the completion of any unfinished work. The project has been reviewed for compliance with the California Environment Quality Act (known as CEQA) and is exempt from CEQA guidelines. Finally, it’s important to note that the Planning Commission approved the project on November 10, 2014.

The City Council is recommended to approve the final parcel map and authorize the filing with the Los Angeles County Recorder.

Approval of final Parks and Open Space Master Plan

Longtime readers are aware of the City’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan, which has been in development since 2016. Now in its final draft, the plan identifies ways to expand open space opportunities in the community.

Some notable modifications include the final plan, which lists four goals:

  • Improve facilities and amenities
  • Continue to improve organizational efficiencies
  • Continue to improve programs and service delivery
  • Increase financial opportunities

Priority projects within the plan include:

  • The exploration of opportunities to acquire existing open space identified in the master plan
  • The expansion of joint use agreements with school districts (as an example, Marshall Park was a joint use agreement between the City and the Garvey School District)
  • The development of trails and bikeways along the washes and rail corridor to provide connectivity
  • The development of a plan to address deficiencies at existing facilities, including Smith Park Pool and park restrooms
  • The performance of a needs assessment to determine the need for a new community center
  • The development of a dog park at an existing park or as part of another identified opportunity site
  • The exploration of ways to increase opportunities for seniors and teens
  • The development of a marketing plan to promote department programs, services and parks
  • The ability to seek alternative funding sources, including donations, grants and sponsorships
  • The ability to seek long-term funding strategies, including expanded impact fees and possible bond referendum

City staff recommends that the City Council adopt a resolution approving the Parks and Open Space Master Plan and to direct staff to move forward with its implementation.

City Council to review 2018-19 FY retirement rate

At the moment, the City’s retirement costs are funded by a special property tax levy authorized by voters in 1948. The special property tax requires that the City Council annually establish a tax rate sufficient to meet the City’s obligations to the state employee’s retirement system.

After an analysis by the City’s Finance staff, no change in the tax rate is recommended for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The City Council is asked to confirm the current rate and fix the amount of property taxes to be generated by adopting two resolutions. The proposed levy is estimated to generate $7,000,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, while the tax rate – which is proposed to remain unchanged – will be set at a rate of 14 cents per $100.

City Council to review/extend standing professional services agreements

Every two years, City staff reports the results of a review of our on-call services consultants to determine whether and when contracts should be extended, renewed, terminated or put out to bid.

This year’s report includes all on-call service contracts for the City, and documents the status of ongoing agreements. You can view a list of agreements here.

City staff recommends that the City Council approve the recommendations specific for each contract and authorize the City Manager or designee to execute the recommendations.

San Gabriel Firefighters’ Association requests tolling agreement

Back in 2012, several police officers employed by the City brought a lawsuit against the City alleging that the City failed to include medical cash-in-lieu payments in the regular rate of pay, which is used to calculate overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Known as Flores vs. City of San Gabriel, the plaintiffs successfully argued to the court that medical cash-in-lieu payments should have been included in the regular rate calculation, and that the City owes them additional overtime wages.

Since then, the City has corrected its payroll practices going forward and is working with the Flores plaintiffs to calculate the additional overtime owed for previous overtime hours worked.

Members of the San Gabriel Firefighters’ Association also received the medical cash-in-lieu payments and potentially have claims for uncompensated overtime under the same theory as the Flores plaintiffs. Previously, the City entered into an agreement to toll the statute of limitations for the employees’ claims while the City worked with the Flores plaintiffs to calculate the overtime underpayments. With the tolling agreement having expired on January 15, 2018, the San Gabriel Firefighters’ Association have requested a new tolling agreement which would continue to preserve the affected firefighter employee’s claims through January 15, 2019. This would allow both the City and the affected party to work towards an informal resolution without the costs of a lawsuit.

The City Council is recommended to approve the new agreement between the City and the San Gabriel Firefighters’ Association