The following article appeared in the Los Angeles Register on September 19, 2014.
Gold Line extension arrives, Glendora plans affordable housing – Los Angeles Register
By Anna Iliff
September 19, 2014
GLENDORA – History may be repeating itself in Glendora.
When a new public rail stop was built more than a century ago, it played a major role in the city’s development.
In 1907, access to the Pacific Electric Railroad Co. brought the Red Car to Glendora and provided a link to downtown Los Angeles.
Four years later, in 1911, Glendora incorporated. Although the population remained fairly small, at just 700 residents, Glendora found its place on the map.
Today, the community of 51,000 is experiencing a development boom again thanks to the extension of the Metro Gold Line. As the city waits for funding and construction of a station in the heart of Glendora Village, it is taking steps to beef up housing options with the addition of several townhouse and apartment projects along the Gold Line and Route 66 corridor.
Jeff Kugel, director of planning for Glendora, said the city has been looking at developing the land along the future light-rail stop for more than a decade. He said it took awhile for the economy to improve enough, though, before developers started to solicit the city with housing plans.
“At one time, Glendora was the edge of the world,” Kugel said. “Now, with the growth of Southern California, we’re centrally located.
“The job base is not just in L.A. anymore. There are a lot more jobs within the San Gabriel Valley, and there are a lot of jobs in Orange County. We’re well-located for people to reasonably get to those areas.”
Tom Gutieras, senior director of development for AvalonBay Communities, said Glendora was in need of new apartment housing for young professionals, couples and small families.
“We feel that Glendora is an underserved market,” Guiteras said. “There aren’t many apartment homes that have been built in the last decade or more. We really saw an opportunity to provide residents with upgraded apartment housing.”
Higher-density housing near the future Gold Line station should encourage light-rail ridership and reduce car trips and traffic in the city, Guiteras said.
“We have to plan for growth, and we have to do it in the best way that we can to accommodate all of the concerns of our community,” Kugel said. “We’re mostly single-family homes, but we want to have people be able to take the light rail. We want to make sure everybody has enough water. It’s a difficult thing to manage.”
While the future Gold Line station creates a good location for incoming residents, Kugel said it’s also important for Glendora to provide housing that is affordable for younger professionals, couples and first-time homebuyers.
“Most of the land in Glendora is actually utilized for single-family developments,” he said. “In the long run, that will not change. For people who are younger and wanting to be a first-time homebuyer, these projects provide an option. What was once an affordable $14,000 single family home in 1962 is now a family’s second or third home because it’s $600,000.”
At City Council and Planning Commission meetings, some residents have said they are concerned about the changing landscapes and potential increased population and traffic.
“People are always concerned about growth and change,” Kugel said. “You always hear ‘This is not the Glendora that I moved to in 1970.’ And it’s not.
“It’s not a realistic plan for a large majority of cities to say, ‘We’re just not going to develop or build anymore. We’re not going to allow that to occur in our community. We’re done.’ I think that ignores the fact that the population will continue to grow.”