Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Citizen About Town

Citizen About Town

By Nancy C. Arcuri, Editor and Publisher

E-mail: nancyarcuri@thecitizensvoice.net

Congratulations to Ron Bow, who is our new City Manager of Monterey Park!

Monterey Park Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian, Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lam, Councilmember Peter Chan, Councilmember Hans Liang and Councilmember Mitch Ing all voted to hire Ron Bow as our City Manager during the August 2nd meeting.

Ron Bow thanked the City Council and the residents for supporting him.  The 5 – 0 vote was very important to him. He thanked the employees of Monterey Park for their support. He thanked the department heads for their support. He thanked Lillian, his wife of 26 years, for her love and support.  He joked that she now gets to retire and spend their money. He was humbled by this process.

Mayor Pro Tem Lam said they had to keep the selection in private. They selected Ron Bow as our new City Manager.

Councilmember Chan said they respect Ron Bow as our City Manager and former Public Works Director. He is looking forward to working together.

Councilmember Liang said he is looking forward to working with Ron Bow.

Councilmember Ing said Ron Bow met with each Councilmember before he became the Interim City Manager.  They met at Marie Callender’s Restaurant. Chantal, his daughter attended the meeting. She was very impressed with Ron Bow and thought he would be the best person for the job. The City Manager runs the city.

Mayor Real Sebastian listed the various city issues that Ron Bon worked on since December of last year including the City’s Budget, Cherry Blossoms, water issues and labor issues. She is impressed by his expertise and integrity. She thanked him and his family for their commitment to Monterey Park.

I want to thank the City Councilmembers for hiring the best candidate for this job.

Ron Bow and his family love our hometown as much as we, the residents, do. He is always available to help residents to solve their issues or advise them on whom to talk to on our staff to help solve their problems.

I want to thank our department heads and employees for providing their input to Council on hiring Ron Bow as our City Manager.

If you attend our many city events you will see and meet Ron Bow, a local resident, enjoying them.

Mr. Bow has an open door policy at City Hall so you can call him to arrange a meeting.  He and his wife, Lillian, shop and dine in our hometown.

It is wonderful to have a City Manager who cares about Monterey Park and us.

At the July 19th Meeting I spoke on Agenda Item 4-A Code Amendment to Title 21

I read your staff report and still have many unanswered questions on accessory dwelling units that were called “Granny units” several years ago.

It seems that the powers that be in Sacramento are busy trying to over develop R-1 or SFR zones and R-2 or two units zones in California by allowing another residential unit to be built on some lots.

The staff report did not disclose anything about the setbacks required for these new units so they could be set right against someone else’s property lines. This will increase the density in our neighborhoods.

The report also states that the accessory unit’s utilities will be connected to the main house.  Which of the current two unit properties do you intend to require that the new utilities be added to their unit?

Will this law still require that one of the units be owner occupied?

Will a 50-foot by 100-foot lot be split into a 25-foot by 50-foot lot in our future?

Will a single-family home on lot become a relic of the past?

Will Monterey Park be a city of zero lot lines and become a mini New York City or Hong Kong?

Will our California legislatures soon required that all of our parks be developed into housing units?

I guess that the famous saying from the 1960s is coming true California soon will be solid housing from San Francisco to San Diego.

If I wanted to live in a condo, an apartment house or a co-op I would be living that lifestyle.

I enjoy my little house built on my 50-foot by 100-foot downward sloping hillside lot with a view of Mt. Wilson.

I just hope that the future generations have a chance to enjoy living in homes with yards.

The City Council asked many questions on this agenda item.

Councilmember Peter Chan asked if this second unit could be rented out?

City Attorney Mark Hensley and staff members said the second unit would be considered rental property.

I asked Director of Economic Development Mike Huntley after the meeting if one unit still had to be owner occupied as stated in the past for this type of property? He said yes according to the guidelines.

Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian said this guideline is to help with affordable housing. She stated that if a person built a second unit on their property they would be charging the market rate. This would not develop affordable housing.

A 1, 200-foot house in the guideline would not require any off street parking if it is within a certain measure from a bus stop.

Mayor Real Sebastian called this Sacramento measure flawed.  The neighborhood would be highly compacted by people and cars. She needs more information from staff. This will not be helping affordable housing.

Councilmember Chan asked the city attorney if we could put in stronger laws than the state requires. This issue also allows that garages could be converted in housing.

Mr. Hensley said we couldn’t prevent garages from being converted into housing. We can prevent building new buildings on these lots.

Councilmember Chan asked staff to look into parking and setback issues using our current laws. He asked if the state could penalize us if we don’t conform.

Mr. Hensley said we could be sued by property owners but their would be no penalties from the state.

Councilmember Mitch Ing said the greatest asset is a person’s home. We want to live in conforming neighborhoods. He understands the Sacramento laws. He asked staff to see what other cities are doing on this issue.

Staff said the cities have kept their current laws in place. This is tough to swallow. We can do more research.

Councilmember Ing asked for additional information to decide.

Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lam said the State Senators and Assemblymembers are making these changes for affordable housing that would benefit the developers. This will not provide quality affordable housing. The county would collect more taxes. Neighborhoods don’t want to be overbuilt. We have smaller lots. We need to benefit the residents in our city. We need more information and data to decide.

Mayor Real Sebastian said this new law only details the square footage of the house and not the number of residents who may occupy it. We need a more restrictive ordinance.

They asked Ron Bow to review the parking, set backs, traffic, garage conversions, police, fire, city services, water, sewer and other issues that the city could use to combat this new law from Sacramento.

Councilmember Chan said Sacramento is getting rid of the R-1 zone and throwing it into the Pacific Ocean.

Councilmember Ing said they need to review the cause and effect of this law. It could create a bad effect. We need to protect the value of our homes.

The Council majority asked staff to do more research on this new law.

Please feel free to E-mail, write letters or call Sacramento to voice your concerns on this new law.

I wonder if our elected officials in Sacramento have been smoking “weed” which is now legal in California before they created their “outrageous” laws without any concern that they are destroying the lives and freedoms of their constituents?

Councilmember Hans Liang said he was not able to attend the July 19th meeting or Night Out since his father was in the hospital.

Councilmember Liang announced during the August 2nd meeting that is father is suffering from a brain tumor. Their doctors and his family are deciding on the best course of action to take for his father.

He reminded the residents and staff members to spend time with their parents and thank them for all they have given their children.

Please keep Mr. Liang and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Please keep our America and all of us in your thoughts and prayers.

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