Hello everyone!

In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared.  As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us!

And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!

Best regards,

Oliver

 


Quote of the Week

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.  How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?  Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour.  Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute.  That's relativity.

– Albert Einstein


An Incredible Monrovia Days Celebration… Which Included the City Successfully Defending Its Pie Eating Championship Title!

What an amazing Monrovia Days weekend for our community!  It started out three years ago as a modest effort to bring the Monrovia Days parade back in a joint City – School District effort.  Last year, we added a carnival component to the event.  And this year, we expanded the carnival while also extending the event to take place Friday – Sunday.

And boy… what a three days we had!

The crowds were bigger this year than ever.  The fun and festivities were more impressive than we have seen in the past.  And truly, our community won by being able to enjoy a terrific birthday party for Monrovia!

Of particular note, I wanted to share with everyone that we significantly exceeded our revenue objectives this year.  Staff will be developing a complete budget update for City Council consideration in the coming weeks, however, we thought it would be important to let everyone know that while we were hoping to sell $40,000 in tickets / wristbands for the carnival, we exceed that objective significantly!  As of our initial count tonight, we made at least $76,000 in ticket sales for Monrovia Days!

And what’s more… we also wanted to share that the City successfully defended our pie eating championship this year!  The team of Mayor Adams, Council Member Spicer, Oliver Chi, Tina Cherry, and Eugene Suk dominated the pie eating event, taking home first place honors!

One last thought before we move on to a few pictures from the Monrovia Days event… while there were a number of individuals and groups that made Monrovia Days 2018 possible – including the MUSD and Centre Stage – the overall program simply would not have been possible without the leadership, hard work, and tremendous execution from the City representatives to the Monrovia Days steering committee.  So a special shout out to Larry Spicer, Tina Cherry, and Katie Distelrath – the entire community thanks you for your tremendous efforts!

And now… on to some pictures!

Monrovia Days

 

Monrovia Days_Pie Contest


Are You Looking for a Premier Summer Science Program?  If so… The New Junior Researcher Summer Academy, Hosted by the City and Oak Crest Institute of Science, Might be for You!

As part of the City’s new focus on educational programming for our youth, we are pleased to announce the Junior Research Summer Academy, hosted by the City and the Oak Crest Institute of Science! Now, teens in Grades 8-10 can participate in one of three summer sessions for $40 per researcher:

  • Session 1: June 25 – July 6
  • Session 2: July 9 – July 20
  • Session 3: July 23 – August 3

Participants have so much to look forward to, including getting introduced to a variety of scientific fields through hands-on experiments with real research scientists!  To register or if you have any questions, contact the Monrovia Community Center at (626) 256-8246 or visit us online.

Summer Science Program


Interested in Learning More About Monrovia’s Rich History? Then Look no Further Than Monrovia Legacy Project!

Monrovia Legacy ProjectLast week, the City Council approved the Monrovia Legacy Project!  It’s taken nearly three years to organize, digitize, and load our City Historian’s collections of historic photographs and papers to create this online collection. Now, you can browse over 5,000 historic photos and nearly 1,000 documents on our city’s rich history, including: city directories from the 1900s, house histories, out of print Monrovia history books, and so much more!

Dive in and explore!  You can find the resource on the Library’s website under the heading, Monrovia Historical Collections and Monrovia Legacy Project.  Click on “Photos” to see individual records.  Click on ‘’Documents” to find the link to open each document.  Search for things of special interest using “Keyword Search,” and use quotation marks to narrow your search.  Eventually, we will also link to online databases for the Monrovia Historical Museum and items from our own local history collection.

Please enjoy learning about Monrovia’s long history and help share this wonderful new resource with the community!  Marketing materials and a program at the Library hosted by the Monrovia Legacy Project Team will be coming soon.  If you have any questions, please call the Monrovia Library at (626) 256-8274, or contact the Historical Society, home of the Legacy Project, email at monroviahistoricalsociety1896@gmail.com.


Rotary Park Slide and Lucinda Garcia Slide Repaired!

We wanted to share with everyone that through some terrific work by our Public Services team, the City was able to identify a contractor that was able to properly repair the damaged slides at both Rotary Park and Lucinda Garcia Park this past week!  As the photos below illustrate, the damaged slides could not be used by the community, and the repair job will ensure an appropriate interim repair while we work on our longer term objective of implementing our overall Park Master Plan identified improvements.

Slide_BeforeSlide_After


Monrovia Renewal South Section Infrastructure Improvements - Work for the Week of May 14, 2018

We are excited to be working through the infrastructure improvements in the South Section of town! The South Section Project Area includes the entire area within the City Limits below the 210-Freeway. This week, the following work is set to take place:

  • Removal and replacement of identified water services lines on Monrovista Avenue, Duarte Road, and Evergreen Avenue.
  • Removal and replacement of sidewalk, curb and gutter, and driveway approaches in the area of South Myrtle, Peck Road, and the streets in between.
  • Storm drain installation on Fano Street

As Sequel Contractors works their way through the South Section, the team will distribute advanced notices to residents and business owners where the work will be taking place. The team has also posted parking restrictions, and marked out streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutter, and driveways. 

How and when will you be notified? The contracting team will distribute notices on the following schedule, which will vary by the specific work in each location:

  • Initial Notice – All residents and businesses in the construction area to inform them of pending work.
  • Five Day Notice – Specific notices will be delivered to the impacted areas five (5) days prior to work commencing. This notice will outline the work taking place, overview the schedule, and provide information on the associated impacts, such as parking restrictions or driveway access.
  • Two Day Notice - A final notice will be provided two days before the activity begins to remind folks of the coming work and impacts.

Drywell Improvement Installations Complete!

These past couple weeks, new drywells and storm drain infrastructure were installed on Atara Street, Diamond Street, and El Dorado Street. As a component of the Monrovia Renewal efforts in the South Section, the new drywells and storm drain infrastructure will help better manage stormwater by infiltrating it into the ground, and help to mitigate any run off issues in the area. In addition, the systems will aid in the preservation of the pavement by diverting the water into proper drainage infrastructure.

To install the dry wells, a 30’ tall rig was used to drill 30’ below ground! Below are a few photos of the impressive rig equipment that was used to install the dry well system.

Water will be collected in new catch basins that will be installed on the streets and connected by pipeline to these drywells. Water will feed into the drywell and be infiltrated back into the ground. Thank you to the residents of Atara Street, Diamond Street, and El Dorado Street for your cooperation and patience as we worked through this unique construction projected over the past week!

Drywell_1Drywell_2


Monrovia Renewal Northwest Section Improvements Nearly Complete!

Work is wrapping up in the Northwest Section of Monrovia Renewal!  All major construction has been completed and the team is putting the finishing touches on the improvements.  Work will continue for another couple of weeks, including:

  • Connection of new water services
  • General clean up and punch list items

We appreciate your patience and support while we work to execute these improvements throughout our community!  If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.


Richman Project Recommended for Approval by Development Review Committee, Planning Commission Now Set To Consider the Project on June 13, 2018

This past week, on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the City’s Development Review Committee (DRC) considered an application submitted by Richman Residential for a 296-unit multi-family housing project located just south of our Gold Line stop at Station Square (located at the NE corner of Duarte Avenue / Magnolia Avenue).  After a thorough review, the DRC voted unanimously to recommend that the Planning Commission approve the proposed project.  Given that recommendation, the Planning Commission will now consider the project on June 13, 2018, and if approvals are granted at that meeting, the City Council will be considering the matter in July 2018.

Additional details related to the Richman Residential Project includes the following:

  • The Richman Residential Project is being developed under the auspices of the Station Square South Specific Plan, which consists of a 3.79-acre property adjacent to and south of the Gold Line Monrovia Station, which includes several parcels in and around 1725 Peck Road and 225 West Duarte Road.
  • The development will be a transit-oriented, 3, 4, and 5-story multi-family residential development of 296 dwelling units, yielding a density of 78 dwelling units per acre (gross).
  • The project proposes to change Peck Road north of Duarte Road to a publicly accessible driveway and drop-off area for the adjacent Metro Gold Line Monrovia Station.  The site is part of the Station Square Transit Village.
  • As part of the project, there are a total of 26,671 square feet of amenities for residents, including three courtyards, a pool court, common roof decks, a dog-run, and a greenhouse.  Balconies are provided for each unit, except for the live / work units.
  • The project also provides three types of planned public open spaces, including:
    • A 15,488 square foot drop-off plaza (and accessible paths) for Gold Line station passengers
    • An approximately 475-foot long paseo (walking path) located along the northern portion of the site connecting to the drop-off plaza
    • A 2,130 square foot publicly-accessible open space area fronting Magnolia Avenue
  • The project includes a six-story (seven level) above-ground parking garage that accommodates 522 vehicles.
  • An Initial Study of Environmental Impacts was prepared recommending the adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration of Environmental Impacts in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines. The Initial Study is an environmental analysis of the proposed Station Square South Specific Plan to determine if the project will have potentially significant effects on the environment.  After reviewing the Initial Study and the applicable mitigating measures for the project, the Planning Staff has determined that this project will not have a significant effect on the environment.  Accordingly, a Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared.
  • A Notice of Intent to adopt the Mitigated Negative Declaration will be distributed for a 30-day public review and comment period between May 14, 2018 and June 13, 2018.
  • The Development Review Committee will completed an advisory review of the project at a Special Meeting on May 15, 2018.  During this meeting, the Planning Division Staff provided an overview presentation of the project.
  • The Development Review Committee serves in an advisory capacity to both the Planning Commission and the City Council on the Station Square South Specific Plan.  In addition to the Development Review Committee’s review of the project, the formal planning application will require public hearings before the Planning Commission and the City Council.
  • The public comment period on the MND for the Richman Residential Project began on May 14, 2018, and comments on the project or the environmental documents can be sent to planning@ci.monrovia.ca.us.
  • As we move forward, all relevant details related to the development project can be found online

Richman


City Works to Find Balanced Solutions as We Prepare for a Housing Development Renaissance

Here in Southern California, we are faced with the daunting reality that things are about to get a lot more crowded.  Based on the latest demographic projections available, in the next 25-year planning period, the SCAG region (which includes LA County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and Imperial County) will, through natural growth patterns unrelated to immigration, add the equivalent population of the states of Oregon and Washington… combined!

That’s around 11 million more people in the greater Southern California region!

Against that backdrop, California is in the midst of a true housing crisis.  An oft-cited report published by McKinsey Global Institute illustrated the depths of the housing crunch here in the Golden State, where real estate prices are rising 3x faster than household income… where 50% of the State’s population cannot afford housing… where California needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2025 to truly stabilize the housing situation.

And here in Monrovia, we’re impacted by these broader housing trends facing the State.  Because did you know that in our City, the average rent for an apartment these days is around $3 / square foot.

$3 / square foot… which means that a 1,000 square foot apartment will cost you $3,000 per month in rent.

That’s just not okay.

While there are many different proposed solutions to the housing issues we’re faced with today, there is only one for which there is near universal agreement… that if we are to stabilize housing costs in California, we need a massive increase in the supply of available housing.

For us here in Monrovia, we have been planning for this increase in housing during the past 20+ years.  Our initial ideas were developed through a 2004 Urban Land Institute Study commissioned by the City.  Those concepts were then codified in a 2008 General Plan Update that created areas of focused housing density in the edges surrounding Old Town, at Station Square, and on the west end of Huntington Drive.  Finally, in 2014, the City adopted the Station Square Transit Village Planned Development Area to allow for greater housing densities around our Gold Line Station.

And now, during the next several months, all of those plans will be coming to life as Monrovia is set to consider several large residential development projects that truly do reflect our community’s long term plans and vision for the City.  All told, there are currently around 2,200 housing units / rooms in the development pipeline, which constitutes a 15% increase in our total housing supply.  The map below outlines the location of these proposed development projects in the City.

Housing Development Map

Now in the next few months (from June 2018 – September 2018), the City will be considering three major projects that will feature close to 600 units / hotel rooms (highlighted in blue in the map above – Richman Development, Marriott TownePlace Suites, and AvalonBay).  Certainly, without proper context, these eye-popping numbers can be somewhat startling, and may elicit a strong initial reaction.  Because when dealing with policies related to growth, housing, and development, the issues often times end up pitting two sides against one another.

On the one extreme, there are those who advocate for no-growth… that is, until we have more water, clean air, and no traffic, we should not allow any development whatsoever.  And on the other extreme, you have those who advocate for a pure free-market approach… that government should allow developers to build whatever they want, so long as the market will allow for it.

Here in our community, what we’ve been working on for the past 20+ years is to find a better way… a more balanced way… a true Monrovia way… in order to solve the pressing challenges facing our City.  And in an effort to offset the impacts associated with new development, the City has instituted several new policies and programs to mitigate growth issues that could erode the quality of life in our community.

  • First, on the environmental front… the City recently adopted a New Development Water Rate, which will require that any new project adding 5 or more units to the City pay the full cost of importing water from outside the region for their use.  This New Development Water Rate means that any new development projects will have to pay an effective water rate that is 34.4% more expensive than the normal water rate that current Monrovians are charged.  This policy enhancement will ensure that our existing residents and businesses are not forced to bear the added cost of importing more water into the City to serve a new population base.
  • Next, on the service delivery front… the City has adopted a policy that will allow us to create Mello-Roos Districts that overlay on significant new development projects.  Through this policy, all significant new developments will be required to pay an extra property tax assessment annually to offset the increased costs for police and fire services that are necessitated when major projects are constructed.
  • And finally, on the traffic front… the City recently instituted a new model of suburban mobility that provides Monrovians with simple, easy, and cheap public transportation options to combat increasing traffic and parking congestion trends.  The program we developed, which is called GoMonrovia, provides enhanced public transportation options provided through Lyft and LimeBike.  Under the GoMonrovia initiative, individuals have access to $0.50 Lyft rides anywhere in our service area.  In addition, the partnership developed with LimeBike has resulted in the deployment of dockless, shareable bikes located throughout town that can be accessed for $1.00 for a 30-minute ride.

 GoMonrovia

During the next several months, as Monrovia contemplates the significant development projects that have been proposed here in our community, we do hope that you stay informed and stay involved with the issues at hand.  All of us here at the City have been working hard to try and find balanced solutions to the most important issues of our day.  Because while we do have to make sure that we have strong environmental policies, and while we need to develop premier mobility / transportation options for our residents… we also have to find a way to do our part to address the severe housing crisis we are confronted with today.  I know that by engaging in honest dialogue and working hard together… we can take the steps forwarded today that are needed to ensure that Monrovia has an even better future tomorrow.


City Establishes a New Web Page for Those Interested in Learning More About Significant Development Projects in Monrovia!

Given the significant development projects that are pending in Monrovia, the City has created a new “Development Spotlight” page on our website.

This site will become the web portal for all documents related to each of the projects being considered, and information will be uploaded as it becomes available.  In addition, each project will have its own page with links to all the environmental and entitlement documents for public review. 


Samson the Travel Bear in Front of T-Phillips Restaurant in Old Town Has Been Removed to be Repainted!

Samson TravelJust a quick note to let everyone know that this past week, the “Travel Samson Bear” located in front of T-Phillips Alehouse & Grill has been temporarily removed to be repainted.  We don’t yet have a firm timeline of when “Travel Samson Bear” will be returning, and as soon as we get that information, we will be sure to share it with the community!  If you should have any questions about this matter, please feel free to give us a call at (626) 256-8225!


Annual Fire Department Brush Inspections set to Begin May 15, 2018

We wanted to let everyone know that the 2018 brush season is fast approaching, and as is customary, the Monrovia Fire Department is gearing up to perform brush inspections of all properties located in the high-fire danger areas of town.  Based on our current developed scheduled, brush inspections will begin on or after Monday, May 15, 2018, and we will be working with all of our impacted residents to coordinate all brush clearance activities.  Of particular note, in an effort to reduce the risk of fire danger for all of us in town, and to better coordinate our overall brush disposal programs, the City has partnered with Athens Services to provide roll-off-bins and bulky item pick-ups at no cost for impacted residents during the brush clearance season.

View the information related to our overall brush clearance activities.


This is a Call to Water-Conservation Action Monrovia!  Our Water Usage is up an Average of 23%... And We Need Your Help to Conserve!

Since Governor Brown announced that the drought in California was over on April 4, 2017, water usage in Monrovia has skyrocketed.  In the 11 months following Governor Brown’s announcement (May 2017 – March 2018), water usage has increased an average of 23% on a year-over-year basis, as illustrated in the graphic below.

WW_May 16

 

Just how low are our water levels and how bad is the situation?  In order for the Main San Gabriel Basin aquifer to be considered healthy, groundwater levels at the Key Well need to be consistently above 200 feet, and closer to 250 feet on a regular basis.  As of April 27, 2018, the current key well level is 181.7 feet.  Additionally, communities have slowed or stopped their conservation efforts thinking that there was plenty of water to go around, which is reducing water levels even further.  But in fact, the San Gabriel Valley needs 36 inches of rain to return to normal levels!

In response to the situation, the Watermaster has made a large purchase of water – 40.7 billion gallons, which will cost more than $100 million.  That water will be transported into the MSGB to replenish the aquifer and ensure continued water supply for our residents and businesses.  The cost of purchasing and importing this water will be split between all of the communities and agencies that use this water, including us here in Monrovia.  These costs were factored into the recent water rate adjustment that took effect March 8, 2018.

Please watch and share Monrovia’s water conservation video to help spread the word about what’s happening in our region, and how it will be impacting us all in the coming months and years.  You can watch the full video online on the Monrovia Conserves webpage, where you will also find additional information on how you can make a difference by conserving water and limiting your outdoor water use.

It is crucial that we, as a community, continue to conserve water as we deal with the effects of a decade-long drought.  During the summer, water use spikes dramatically as individuals use extra water on their lawns and plants.  Unfortunately, much of this water is wasted due to overwater, water runoff, and evaporation.  Remember to water early in the morning or late at night to minimize water loss, and only water once every four days.  Limiting our outdoor water use can add up to huge water savings, and is a key tool in conserving water.

Water Conservation Infograph

Be sure to visit Monrovia Conserves for more information on Phase IV Water Regulations and for tips on how individuals can help our community save water together! 


Monrovia Police Department Hosting a Blood Drive with the American Red Cross – Sign up Today to Donate on May 30, 2018, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The Monrovia Police Department is coordinating a blood drive with the American Red Cross, which is scheduled to take place on May 30, 2018, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Additional information about the event can be found on the informational flyer!

MPD Blood Drive


City’s GoMonrovia Public Transit Program is Fast, Easy, and Convenient!

The City’s innovative GoMonrovia program offers $0.50 rides with the car-sharing provider, Lyft, along with 30-minute rides for $1.00 with the dock-free bikeshare provider, LimeBike!  These options are provided in partnership with the City’s existing dial-a-ride service to provide fast and affordable transportation for all users throughout Monrovia. With GoMonrovia, public transit has never been more affordable or convenient!

For the Lyft program, you can take advantage of the $0.50 fixed fare rides by following these easy steps:

  • Be sure to enter the promo code “GOMONROVIA” before requesting a ride.
  • Make sure your pick-up and drop-off locations are within the Monrovia service area.
  • Make sure that you have selected “Lyft – 4 seats” as your vehicle / trip option. Some users may have the default trip option set to “Line – 1-2 seats, shared” or “Plus – 6 seats”, so be sure to switch it to get the discount!
  • Once the code is entered and applied to your account, you won’t have to enter it again!
  • Note that Lyft will always show you the quoted price for the trip before you request the ride, so double-check that the price shown is “$0.50 fixed fare ride” before you hit request!

For the LimeBike program, bikes are first-come, first-served, so if you see a bike, go ahead and unlock it to ride! Once you reach your destination, park it in a bike rack or safe place out of the path of travel.  For more information on how and where to park these bikes, enjoy this Matrix-inspired parking etiquette video.

If you see a LimeBike parked illegally (i.e., in the street, blocking the pedestrian and wheelchair path, etc.), you can let us know by:

  • Reporting the bike as illegally parked using the LimeBike app by clicking the “!” on the app’s homepage, or
  • Calling Sophia Nakov, Senior Administrative Assistant, in Public Works at (626) 256-8235

For the dial-a-ride program, we are continuing to operate our shuttle van service to serve riders with ADA-related and wheelchair needs, and the fare is now just $0.50 for all riders!

Visit GoMonrovia online to learn more and start riding today! Should you have any questions, please let us know. 


Don’t Miss Your Chance to Receive a $250 Rebate to Make Your Home More Secure!

Last month, the City Council allocated an additional $15,000 to the Home Security Rebate Program for Monrovia residents!  Nearly 250 households have taken advantage of this exciting program and helped make their homes more secure. 

Apply for the Home Security Rebate Program now!

Please be sure to apply as soon as possible, as these remaining funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  When you apply, you will need to upload a digital copy or picture of your receipt/invoice as well as a picture of the installed product.

Interested in purchasing a Ring product or working with Post Alarm Systems?  Be sure to take advantage of their discounts when you make your purchase!  Monrovia residents can save 10% on any new home security system installation with Post Alarm, and Ring has $50 discounts available for a variety of different products, which means you get more bang for the buck!  Please see the Ring / Post Alarm program flyers for more details.  Should you have additional questions, please contact us at securityrebate@ci.monrovia.ca.us, or (626) 256-8142!

Ring

Post Alarm


Have You Seen the Colorful Van Around Town? Monrovia Reads Mobile Literacy Program Continues to be a Hit!

The Monrovia Reads van – complete with Wi-Fi services, a mobile collection and library staff – will be visiting a different elementary school every day of the week during the school year! This fantastic new program was made possible by a partnership between Monrovia Reads, the Monrovia Public Library Foundation, and the City of Monrovia to provide library services after school at the five local elementary schools. 

School Schedule

  • Monday – Bradoaks Elementary, 1:35 – 3:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday – Wildrose Elementary, 2:00 – 3:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday – Plymouth Elementary, 12:15 - 1:45 p.m.
  • Thursday – Monroe Elementary, 1:50 – 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday – Mayflower Elementary, 1:50 – 3:30 p.m.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Monrovia Reads van at upcoming community events!  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out where we will be next!

Monrovia Reads Van flyer


Proposed Ballot Measure to Address Public Safety Issues Called, Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act

Recently, the California Public Safety Partnership Issues Committee began circulating a proposed initiative called the Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act.  The proposed measure is being advanced by Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert and Assemblymember Jim Cooper, and if the measure does obtain the requisite number of signatures needed to qualify for the November 2018 ballot, the legislation that voters will be asked to consider would do the following:

  • Reclassify currently “non-violent” crimes – like rape of an unconscious person, sex trafficking of a child and 14 other serious crimes – as “violent” in order to prevent the early release of inmates convicted of these crimes
  • Reform the parole system to stop the early release of violent felons, expand parolee oversight, and strengthen penalties for parole violations
  • Reform theft laws to restore accountability for serial thieves and organized theft gangs
  • Expand DNA collection to include those convicted of drug, theft, domestic violence and other serious crimes to help solve rape, murder and other violent crimes — and to exonerate those wrongly accused

Additional information about the measure can be found online at the Keep California Safe website.

Keep California Safe


This Week's Happening at the Monrovia Public Library!

The Monrovia Public Library is special community gathering place that makes a difference in the lives of children, teens, adults, and families of all kinds. Experience all that the Library has to offer by visiting us in person at 321 S. Myrtle Avenue, and if you have any questions, contact the Library at (626) 256-8274!

Novel T's Book Club 
Join us on the fourth Tuesday of every month for a lively book discussion featuring a new facilitator each month. Book Club meets in the Library Community Room. We will be discussing Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf.

  • Tuesday, May 22, 6:45 – 7:45 p.m. (snacks are served 6:30 p.m.), Library Community Room

Conversation Groups @ Monrovia Public Library
Culture and Conversation: Practice speaking English by discussing and reading the ‘News for You’ weekly newspaper in a friendly and relaxed setting. Build confidence in your work, school, family and social life. For more information, call (626) 256-8273 or email vcastellanos@ci.monrovia.ca.us

  • Wednesdays, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Library Heritage Room

Speak Easy: Join us for round-table talking and practice speaking English in a friendly and relaxed setting. New topics weekly, including: popular culture, work and jobs, health and more. Build confidence in your work, school, family, and social life. For more information, call (626) 256-8273 or email vcastellanos@ci.monrovia.ca.us

  • Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m., Library Heritage Room

Monrovia Public Library’s Online Resources for Veterans 
Library user J.C., a Veteran Benefit Coach and volunteer successfully used Vetnow’s Live Veteran Navigator to update his resume. After months without receiving any interest, the VetNow edition of J.C.’s resume resulted in interviews and a job offer! Congratulations J.C.! VetNow provides live job coaching and live resume and interview coaching as well as resources for GED prep, college skills, VA support, and a variety of other tools all available for free. VetNow and other online resources for Veterans can be found on the library’s website.

Brainfuse’s HelpNow
Our afterschool tutoring may be over until next school year, but we still have Brainfuse’s HelpNow, an online resource free to use with your Monrovia Public Library card! HelpNow has live, online tutoring every day from 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. in a variety of subjects. They also have a writing lab, AP Exam prep, a Foreign Language Lab, and so much more! Check it out and spend a little less time worrying about finals.

HelpNow

Hidden Gem of Monrovia: The Friends Book Store at the Monrovia Public Library

The next time you visit the library, don’t forget to check out “the only book store in town”, the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library Book Store! Located in the library, the store provides bargains and hidden gems for those who love books, wish to build their children’s libraries, or are looking for a unique gift for the bibliophiles in their life. All proceeds from the book store fund library programs and collections. Summer Reading, Veterans programs, the Makerspace Collection, and the Chinese Language Collection are just a handful of the items the Friends have supported over the years. The Friends of the Monrovia Public Library, established in 1957, have been raising funds and supporting the library for 51 years. The book store opened with the new library building in 2009 and is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers. We are grateful for their time and their willingness to serve.

If you would like to support the Friends and the important work they do for the library and community, drop by and stock up on some of your favorite reads at the store. You can also join the Friends, members receive special discounts and offers at the store! Membership rates start at $15 a year and make a wonderful gift. The Friends of the Monrovia Public Library is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit their website or stop by the Friends Book Store and pick up a membership application.

Friends book store adFriends of the Monrovia Public Library Book Store Hours:

  • Monday – Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday – Saturday: 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Report Vandalism and Graffiti and You Could Receive $100 as a Thank You!

Graffiti RemovalJust a friendly reminder that if you witness an individual in the act of vandalism, please immediately call (626) 357-CELL to report the activity. If the Monrovia Police Department locates and arrests the suspect, the caller receives a $100 bill!

In addition, if folks see graffiti in other places, they can report the graffiti to us in a couple of different ways, and we’ll take care of it:


Do You Want to Keep Monrovia Looking Great? Then Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Abandoned Bulky Items, Report Them, and You Could Win a Handsome Reward!

Bulky ItemDuring the past few months, the City has been working to develop a program to encourage public reporting of bulky items located throughout the City.  To that end, we have developed an overall monthly program where the public can report bulky items to the City, and those that do will be entered to win a $25 raffle, which will be coordinated every month!

To participate, all you have to do is report bulky items that you see littering our public right-of-ways!  From abandoned couches, to mattresses, to tables… if you see any bulky item trash sitting on a sidewalk, let us know!  Not only will the City coordinate to have the items removed, you’ll also be entered into a contest to win a $25 gift card!

Program details are highlighted in the flyer below, and to participate, all you have to do is either send an email to bulkyitems@ci.monrovia.ca.us or give us a call at (626) 932-5575 when you see the bulky item.  If you’re sending us an email, try to forward us a picture if possible!  And when you report the item, be sure to give us the following info:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • What bulky item you’re reporting

If you have any questions, please contact Alex Tachiki at atachiki@ci.monrovia.ca.us , or via phone at (626) 932-5553!  And thanks for all your help to keep Monrovia looking great!


Interesting Story of the Week - Make Sure You Triple Check the Spelling Before Getting a Name Tattoo, or Your Kids Might Have to Get Renamed Too!

tattoo

Our interesting story of the week comes to us from the Independent, which reports on an interesting approach to that age old problem of getting the wrong name tattooed on your arm!  Johanna Sanstrom from Sweden wanted to have the names of her two children tattooed onto her body.  The two children were named Nova and Kevin, and a local tattoo artist in her neighborhood went ahead and did a beautiful job, except for one little problem, as evidenced by the picture.

Instead of “Kevin,” the tattoo artist inked the name, “Kelvin!”

So what’s a frantic mom to do?  Laser surgery removal, which is painful and could take up to a year?  Or maybe a simpler, faster, and less painful solution could be to… just rename the kid? 

“After thinking a little bit, we decided to rename him Kelvin,” said Johanna about her solution this very interesting problem!  And while this one-time solution seems to have concluded in a happy ending for both the mom and the son… in the future, Johanna insists that she is going to write down any future names she plans to have tattooed “and check it over 10,000 times!” 

Read more about this unique tattooing-problem solution!

Mother renames son after tattooist makes spelling error


Police Department Weekly Report

View the most recent Police Department weekly neighborhood watch report for the period May 10 - 16, 2018.  During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 410 service events, resulting in 80 investigations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hello everyone!

In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared.  As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us!

And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!

Best regards,

Oliver

Quote of the Week 

Love doesn’t make the world go round.  Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

– Franklin Jones

City Works to Find Balanced Solutions as We Prepare for a Housing Development Renaissance

Here in Southern California, we are faced with the daunting reality that things are about to get a lot more crowded.  Based on the latest demographic projections available, in the next 25-year planning period, the SCAG region (which includes LA County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and Imperial County) will, through natural growth patterns unrelated to immigration, add the equivalent population of the states of Oregon and Washington… combined!

That’s around 11 million more people in the greater Southern California region!

Against that backdrop, California is in the midst of a true housing crisis.  An oft-cited report published by McKinsey Global Institute illustrated the depths of the housing crunch here in the Golden State, where real estate prices are rising 3x faster than household income… where 50% of the State’s population cannot afford housing… where California needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2025 to truly stabilize the housing situation.

And here in Monrovia, we’re impacted by these broader housing trends facing the State.  Because did you know that in our City, the average rent for an apartment these days is around $3 / square foot.

$3 / square foot… which means that a 1,000 square foot apartment will cost you $3,000 per month in rent.

That’s just not okay.

While there are many different proposed solutions to the housing issues we’re faced with today, there is only one for which there is near universal agreement… that if we are to stabilize housing costs in California, we need a massive increase in the supply of available housing.

For us here in Monrovia, we have been planning for this increase in housing during the past 20+ years.  Our initial ideas were developed through a 2004 Urban Land Institute Study commissioned by the City.  Those concepts were then codified in a 2008 General Plan Update that created areas of focused housing density in the edges surrounding Old Town, at Station Square, and on the west end of Huntington Drive.  Finally, in 2014, the City adopted the Station Square Transit Village Planned Development Area to allow for greater housing densities around our Gold Line Station.

And now, during the next several months, all of those plans will be coming to life as Monrovia is set to consider several large residential development projects that truly do reflect our community’s long term plans and vision for the City.  All told, there are currently around 2,200 housing units / rooms in the development pipeline, which constitutes a 15% increase in our total housing supply.  The map below outlines the location of these proposed development projects in the City.

 

Now in the next few months (from June 2018 – September 2018), the City will be considering three major projects that will feature close to 600 units / hotel rooms (highlighted in blue in the map above – Richman Development, Marriott TownePlace Suites, and AvalonBay).  Certainly, without proper context, these eye-popping numbers can be somewhat startling, and may elicit a strong initial reaction.  Because when dealing with policies related to growth, housing, and development, the issues often times end up pitting two sides against one another. 
 
On the one extreme, there are those who advocate for no-growth… that is, until we have more water, clean air, and no traffic, we should not allow any development whatsoever.  And on the other extreme, you have those who advocate for a pure free-market approach… that government should allow developers to build whatever they want, so long as the market will allow for it.
 
Here in our community, what we’ve been working on for the past 20+ years is to find a better way… a more balanced way… a true Monrovia way… in order to solve the pressing challenges facing our City.  And in an effort to offset the impacts associated with new development, the City has instituted several new policies and programs to mitigate growth issues that could erode the quality of life in our community.

  • First, on the environmental front… the City recently adopted a New Development Water Rate, which will require that any new project adding 5 or more units to the City pay the full cost of importing water from outside the region for their use.  This New Development Water Rate means that any new development projects will have to pay an effective water rate that is 34.4% more expensive than the normal water rate that current Monrovians are charged.  This policy enhancement will ensure that our existing residents and businesses are not forced to bear the added cost of importing more water into the City to serve a new population base.
  • Next, on the service delivery front… the City has adopted a policy that will allow us to create Mello-Roos Districts that overlay on significant new development projects.  Through this policy, all significant new developments will be required to pay an extra property tax assessment annually to offset the increased costs for police and fire services that are necessitated when major projects are constructed.
  • And finally, on the traffic front… the City recently instituted a new model of suburban mobility that provides Monrovians with simple, easy, and cheap public transportation options to combat increasing traffic and parking congestion trends.  The program we developed, which is called GoMonrovia, provides enhanced public transportation options provided through Lyft and LimeBike.  Under the GoMonrovia initiative, individuals have access to $0.50 Lyft rides anywhere in our service area.  In addition, the partnership developed with LimeBike has resulted in the deployment of dockless, shareable bikes located throughout town that can be accessed for $1.00 for a 30-minute ride.

 

During the next several months, as Monrovia contemplates the significant development projects that have been proposed here in our community, we do hope that you stay informed and stay involved with the issues at hand.  All of us here at the City have been working hard to try and find balanced solutions to the most important issues of our day.  Because while we do have to make sure that we have strong environmental policies, and while we need to develop premier mobility / transportation options for our residents… we also have to find a way to do our part to address the severe housing crisis we are confronted with today.  I know that by engaging in honest dialogue and working hard together… we can take the steps forwarded today that are needed to ensure that Monrovia has an even better future tomorrow.

City Establishes a New Web Page for Those Interested in Learning More About Significant Development Projects in Monrovia!

Given the significant development projects that are pending in Monrovia, the City has created a new “Development Spotlight” page on our website.
 
This site will become the web portal for all documents related to each of the projects being considered, and information will be uploaded as it becomes available.  In addition, each project will have its own page with links to all the environmental and entitlement documents for public review. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hello everyone!

In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared.  As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us!

And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!

Best regards,

Oliver

Quote of the Week 

Love doesn’t make the world go round.  Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

– Franklin Jones

City Works to Find Balanced Solutions as We Prepare for a Housing Development Renaissance

Here in Southern California, we are faced with the daunting reality that things are about to get a lot more crowded.  Based on the latest demographic projections available, in the next 25-year planning period, the SCAG region (which includes LA County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and Imperial County) will, through natural growth patterns unrelated to immigration, add the equivalent population of the states of Oregon and Washington… combined!

That’s around 11 million more people in the greater Southern California region!

Against that backdrop, California is in the midst of a true housing crisis.  An oft-cited report published by McKinsey Global Institute illustrated the depths of the housing crunch here in the Golden State, where real estate prices are rising 3x faster than household income… where 50% of the State’s population cannot afford housing… where California needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2025 to truly stabilize the housing situation.

And here in Monrovia, we’re impacted by these broader housing trends facing the State.  Because did you know that in our City, the average rent for an apartment these days is around $3 / square foot.

$3 / square foot… which means that a 1,000 square foot apartment will cost you $3,000 per month in rent.

That’s just not okay.

While there are many different proposed solutions to the housing issues we’re faced with today, there is only one for which there is near universal agreement… that if we are to stabilize housing costs in California, we need a massive increase in the supply of available housing.

For us here in Monrovia, we have been planning for this increase in housing during the past 20+ years.  Our initial ideas were developed through a 2004 Urban Land Institute Study commissioned by the City.  Those concepts were then codified in a 2008 General Plan Update that created areas of focused housing density in the edges surrounding Old Town, at Station Square, and on the west end of Huntington Drive.  Finally, in 2014, the City adopted the Station Square Transit Village Planned Development Area to allow for greater housing densities around our Gold Line Station.

And now, during the next several months, all of those plans will be coming to life as Monrovia is set to consider several large residential development projects that truly do reflect our community’s long term plans and vision for the City.  All told, there are currently around 2,200 housing units / rooms in the development pipeline, which constitutes a 15% increase in our total housing supply.  The map below outlines the location of these proposed development projects in the City.

 

Now in the next few months (from June 2018 – September 2018), the City will be considering three major projects that will feature close to 600 units / hotel rooms (highlighted in blue in the map above – Richman Development, Marriott TownePlace Suites, and AvalonBay).  Certainly, without proper context, these eye-popping numbers can be somewhat startling, and may elicit a strong initial reaction.  Because when dealing with policies related to growth, housing, and development, the issues often times end up pitting two sides against one another. 
 
On the one extreme, there are those who advocate for no-growth… that is, until we have more water, clean air, and no traffic, we should not allow any development whatsoever.  And on the other extreme, you have those who advocate for a pure free-market approach… that government should allow developers to build whatever they want, so long as the market will allow for it.
 
Here in our community, what we’ve been working on for the past 20+ years is to find a better way… a more balanced way… a true Monrovia way… in order to solve the pressing challenges facing our City.  And in an effort to offset the impacts associated with new development, the City has instituted several new policies and programs to mitigate growth issues that could erode the quality of life in our community.

  • First, on the environmental front… the City recently adopted a New Development Water Rate, which will require that any new project adding 5 or more units to the City pay the full cost of importing water from outside the region for their use.  This New Development Water Rate means that any new development projects will have to pay an effective water rate that is 34.4% more expensive than the normal water rate that current Monrovians are charged.  This policy enhancement will ensure that our existing residents and businesses are not forced to bear the added cost of importing more water into the City to serve a new population base.
  • Next, on the service delivery front… the City has adopted a policy that will allow us to create Mello-Roos Districts that overlay on significant new development projects.  Through this policy, all significant new developments will be required to pay an extra property tax assessment annually to offset the increased costs for police and fire services that are necessitated when major projects are constructed.
  • And finally, on the traffic front… the City recently instituted a new model of suburban mobility that provides Monrovians with simple, easy, and cheap public transportation options to combat increasing traffic and parking congestion trends.  The program we developed, which is called GoMonrovia, provides enhanced public transportation options provided through Lyft and LimeBike.  Under the GoMonrovia initiative, individuals have access to $0.50 Lyft rides anywhere in our service area.  In addition, the partnership developed with LimeBike has resulted in the deployment of dockless, shareable bikes located throughout town that can be accessed for $1.00 for a 30-minute ride.

 

During the next several months, as Monrovia contemplates the significant development projects that have been proposed here in our community, we do hope that you stay informed and stay involved with the issues at hand.  All of us here at the City have been working hard to try and find balanced solutions to the most important issues of our day.  Because while we do have to make sure that we have strong environmental policies, and while we need to develop premier mobility / transportation options for our residents… we also have to find a way to do our part to address the severe housing crisis we are confronted with today.  I know that by engaging in honest dialogue and working hard together… we can take the steps forwarded today that are needed to ensure that Monrovia has an even better future tomorrow.

City Establishes a New Web Page for Those Interested in Learning More About Significant Development Projects in Monrovia!

Given the significant development projects that are pending in Monrovia, the City has created a new “Development Spotlight” page on our website.
 
This site will become the web portal for all documents related to each of the projects being considered, and information will be uploaded as it becomes available.  In addition, each project will have its own page with links to all the environmental and entitlement documents for public review.