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Poll: Is A Moratorium on Large Retailers in Altadena Necessary?

Many residents who oppose the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Lincoln Ave. and Figueroa Dr. are also campaigning against something else in Altadena: new retailers occupying spaces over 15,000 square feet.

At the Altadena Town Council meeting Tuesday night, a number of residents spoke up to request that council members consider asking the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to enact a moratorium on all new retailers in Altadena that would occupy a space greater than 15,000 square feet. The group Save Altadena is spearheading the movement.

Save Altadena’s reasoning is posted on their website, and reads as follows:

Q: It seems the only way to protect the public interests and achieve balance between the desires of the Walmart Corporation and the needs of the Altadena residents is through a Conditional Use Permit, but a Conditional Use Permit is not required. What can we do?

A: We can ask the Altadena Town Council to request the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors change the law, and we can make that request directly also. Basically we would ask the Board of Supervisors to declare a moratorium on all new occupancy permits or building permits for chain stores having a footprint of over 15,000 square feet while the county studies if Conditional use permits are needed to protect the public and to regulate hours of operation, truck routes, truck delivery hours, on site security, and so forth. If so they would then write a regulation protecting the public from these large impactful users, just as they have protected the public from things like kitchen remodels and car ports. SAVE ALTADENA will start a petition drive to the Board Of Supervisors for a moratorium beginning 18 July 2012.

Council members are not permitted to respond directly to public comment, but the Council did acknowledge that they heard all of the requests. The matter could be up for discussion at a future meeting.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see a moratorium on all retailers in Altadena that occupy a space greater than 15,000 square feet? Or, is the request out of line?

Take our poll, and if you’d like to share more of your opinion, feel free to use the comment section below.

terry Morris July 20, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I swear I am taking notes. Leslie I was thinking the exact same thing. Yes, I am opposed to big box stores, but there is a practical side, I DON'T WANT to drive all the friggin way to hell and gone because I need safety pins or thread (btw, I was a film costume designer for 20 years) ! I love the fact that I can just pop over to Altadena Hardware for nails, or Steve's Pets for dog food. I don't want to go hassle with a giant parking lot or standing in line because the big box stores rarely have enough clerks. I am thinking of ways that local businesses can EXPAND...
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Even though they charge 2 x as much, some people would rather drive, it's a matter of choice I guess.
terry Morris July 20, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Then that is what they should do. No one should shop locally if they neither want to, or can afford to !!!!!!!!!! We are just trying to think of positive things we can do to help people like Leslie, Lisa. Yes, I would rather pay Leslie 2x as much for a spool of thread. I like that Leslie has her own business that she probably has worked hard to build. My guess is that is a struggle a lot of the time, but she cares about it, and I like that. I want to support that, and if it costs me 11 cents more to buy a spool of thread from her than from Target, I am okay with that. So are other people. But you seem to be really opposed to others helping out Leslie, or Perry's joint or the local hardware store. I don't really understand why it is something to be opposed to, but okay ... to each his own.
Amber Thrailkill July 20, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Absolutly NO!!!!!!
TeeGirl July 20, 2012 at 04:49 AM
While we are all thinking about what other businesses we could have in Altadena, is it definite that Lake/Calaveras lot just might become Walmart#2? Is there a possibility of stopping that from happening? Would getting the moratorium stop them in their tracks? If so, I'm all for it.
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 04:50 AM
If it were 11 cents it simply wouldn't be a problem, but $3.00 x 100 things I need and that's $300.00 that I've saved, I can afford to give the local stores my hard warned money just for the mark-up when I can go to a larger chain store and get it for much, much less.
Can't Say July 20, 2012 at 05:31 AM
To Mr. D Head (lol Richard Cabeza!) Our town has a bad rap in the retail world. It's not necessarily known for drawing people "up" the hill to shop. There are exceptions of course. There's no railway, hotel to pull people into town. Yes, hikers come up and park near Cobb Mansion but they're likely not stopping to drop many $$ into the registers of local shops - some may. Any mom/pop shop will have to make a go of it knowing that, with a few exceptions, they're only going to be there for this town. Which makes it all the more puzzling why mom/pops don't do better on the fair oaks/woodbury and lincoln/woodbury areas. They should be drawing well from NW Pasadena. Hopefully they're marketing to the south of Woodbury. I know there were mom/pops at Lincoln crossing who didn't make it. High rents, bad landlord will be who others on here will blame. But, I still have to ask, were they providing goods/services that others in the area wanted? (Bessie's Tacos, Mail Express place come to mind). Some on here will swear by those mom/pops and blame the Lincoln Crossing developer/landlord. Who ended up "making it" there? Mostly nat'l chains. 'nuff said.
Jeanette Lamb July 20, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Leslie, The moratorium is very specific, and would not affect a store like Joanne's. You can read a copy of the petition on the savealtadena.com site, or stop by Webster's and look at it.
Lori A. Webster July 20, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I forgot all about Joann's having fabric and notions, and my comment earlier was directed to their accessories and decor items. I think that would be a great addition to a local business!
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Again, Walmart has a wonderful variety of fabrics and sewing items and fabulous prices! ;)
Leslie Aitken July 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Actually -- Walmart recently got rid of its fabric and patterns.
Lisa Maiorana July 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Actually -- I was just there & they had it so which one are you referring to?
Jeanette Lamb July 21, 2012 at 01:01 AM
TeeGirl, The Lake/Calaveras site is definitely a possibility as far as becoming a Walmart. They are considering it seriously. Would the moratorium stop them? Good question: we don't know. But you can sign the petition for the moratorium if you'd like.
Ivan G July 30, 2012 at 03:13 AM
This proposal is insane. No one could open a supermarket. Should Altadena be a town of nothing but fast-food joints, liquor stores and thrift stores?
Lisa Maiorana July 30, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Yep, that's exactly what everyone wants, sadly enough Ivan.
navigio July 30, 2012 at 05:13 AM
If I'm not mistaken, Eliot already has a small garden on the side there.
Steve Lamb July 30, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Well no. First of all, no other supermarket can open without a CUP and without the County controlling their hours of operation, truck routes, truck delivery hours and employee parking. Every other supermarket must sell alcohol to survive from the time they open, so they fall under these regulations. This moratorium would only hold off things until the County can rewrite its 1956 code so that Walmart will be forced to compete on an equal playing field with everyone else. Instead thy are planning to be open for a year and then get their booze CUP because after a year of operation the alcohol CUP can not regulate the hours of operation, employee parking and truck routes and delivery. We want the moritorium COUNTY WIDE so Altadena and the other unincorporated areas do not become just churches and nail salons.
Daniel E. Harlow July 30, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Have you driven around town lately?
AJ August 01, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Among other flaws with this proposal, do you realize that instead of stopping or affecting the small to mid sized neighborhood market already permitted from going in (owned by walmart), that a moratorium and a CUP requirement would only mean that you'd be limiting Walmarts future competition in the area, effectively ensuring that they keep a strong foothold in the community? The CUP process is long and expensive, so it'll hurt and and disincentivize more of the mom and pop type business that Mr. Lamb and his people want to attract here, more than it would larger "chain stores." All this would serve to do, as many people have noted, is drive away any prospective larger businesses that actually have the money and resources to develop or rehab our most blighted properties.
Can't Say August 02, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Downloaded a copy of this moratorium/petition. Language is a hoot!! First page "We....request and pray......" and "Now please hear our prayer" LOL! Page 2, part 3 creates their own definitions for a Chain Retail Outlet. 100+ locations (why so high?) where 50% of products are produced outside the US (what does one have to do with the other?) where fewer than 70% of employees are full time throughout the chain and proposed store. Quite ballsy and idealistic to propose this on behalf of ALL of LA County. This'll have to be re-written for sure. The demands and wacky definitions are the desires of this group. My guess is they know this will never go thru as is but put their high demands in the petition and are prepared to back off a bit down the road. I don't doubt the group's decent intentions but it's a bit overreaching.
Lisa Hastings August 02, 2012 at 01:57 AM
That's not what the petition says. You have misinterpreted it.
Can't Say August 02, 2012 at 03:19 AM
OK, read why it says about word pray/er. Got it. But don't say that's not what it says because it is in there. A more correct statement from you would be "It says that but there's a reason why". All the other stuff I posted is also in the petition. Still think there's too many demands but that's just one person's thoughts. Looks like it's trying to do/define too many things (US made products, % of full time workers, quantity of stores a chain has).
Ivan G August 02, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Since when did what we think we need determine what a business can do? And, by the way, Rite Aid is a dump. Is that your idea of the kind of drugstore I should have to shop at?
Ivan G August 02, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Costco wouldn't fit, and we don't get to make businesses settle here. Indeed, we seem to specialize in chasing them all away or driving them out of business.
Ivan G August 02, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Boo hoo. You are rather biased, Lori. I think you just don't want competition. It doesn't need an EIR. And I am sure you are not part of the Lincoln/Figueroa community.
Ivan G August 02, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Moratoriums just impede progress. I notice you left out "fairly" as a consideration.
Ivan G August 02, 2012 at 04:18 AM
How about a moratorium on small stores that are unlikely to be economically viable and that I do not want to shop at? Those of us who work don't have time to make half a dozen stops do get their chores and shopping done.
Steve Lamb August 02, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Like any and every othertype of conditional use permit, this would specify who is and is not required to get one. Walmart have found a way to structure their business so they dont have to play by the same rules everyone else in that business does. In a way you have to admire their diabolical cleverness. But whatever the desires of the landlord and this mega business, Altadena needs traffic mitigations if either of these sites are developed, we need truck routes specified and hours regulated JUST LIKE EVERY other business on those sites would have to pay for and comply with.
Steve Lamb August 02, 2012 at 04:26 AM
The Coffee Gallery had $20,000 worth of fees to the County on a former bakery site, and has nightly traffic mitigations it must do on a room that holds 46 people. walmart with a business that will generate thousands of car trips a day and hundreds of truck trips a month has ZERO mitigation, Zero Traffic Study, zero everything and no one else in the grocery business gets away with that, No one opening a business on lake of on lincoln gets that. maybe Lori just doesnt want UNFAIR competition where the richest corporstion in the world basically gets a daily free pass on government cost and regulation WHILE EVERYONE ELSE PAYS
Can't Say August 02, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Then why not just put that stuff in the petition? Why muck it up with creating a definition of what a retail chain outlet is? 100+ locations/% of USA made products/% of workers who are full time? How does this help with truck routes and regulated operating hours? Just too much going on in this petition. Streamline it to a couple of root reasons. With what degree of certainty can you say that the rest of LA County wants section 3, for example? To me, it sounds as if this group wants to impose their retail beliefs upon the entire county! I'm not saying don't go for it, just sayin' it's not for me.

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