Since the adoption of the moratoria, the City has implemented a process to methodically identify, analyze and prepare potential regulations to address concerns. The Neighborhood Study is the most comprehensive review Monrovia’s residential development regulations in over 40 years and is comprised of three phases:
- Community outreach;
- Identify and study potential policy alternatives;
- Develop, adopt and implement regulations.
Phase 1 – Community Outreach
During the first half of 2015, City Staff has engaged in a broad based public outreach process that included four community meetings, an online survey and social media outreach. The result was a substantial amount of feedback which provided essential information in identifying issues, potential policy changes and alternatives.
Early on, two basic themes emerged: historic preservation and neighborhood compatibility. Historic preservation plays an important role in defining and protecting the character of the neighborhoods. Compatibility of new construction has an impact on the historic character of Monrovia’s neighborhoods. Compatibility and preservation relate to each other but require distinct approaches.
Generally speaking, neighborhood compatibility strategies focus on tools to maximize integration of new development within the context and character of existing development patterns. These tools typically are related to zoning regulations, such as density, setbacks and maximum building size requirements. Design Guidelines are also a tool many communities use to address compatibility issues. Concerns related to the size of additions and new larger residential dwellings built in established neighborhoods are more of a compatibility issue than a preservation issue.
Historic Preservation focuses on identifying, protecting and maintaining existing historic properties. This can be done through the designation of historic landmarks, design review processes, establishment of historic districts and/or other regulations that protect structures that are deemed to have historic value. It is important to note that there is not a single correct way “to do” historic preservation. While there are broad protocols in the field of historic preservation, overall, it will be up to the community to figure out their own “right” way. As the Historic Preservation Ordinance was adopted over 20 years ago, it is definitely appropriate to revisit the goals, objectives, and policies that guide the preservation program. However, in the end, Monrovia needs to figure out what works in Monrovia.
The results of the neighborhood survey and a summary of the issues identified are in the supporting documents section.
Phase 2 – Issue Identification and Development of Policy Alternatives
By this point in the process, it became apparent that the implementation would need to be broken down into several tracks. Four separate tracks were identified and would focus on addressing specific issues and types of regulation:
- Track 1 – Development standards in single family zones and compatibility design criteria and lifting of the moratoria
- Track 2 – Development standards in multifamily zones and targeted topics, such as parking regulations.
- Track 3 – Compatibility Design Review Guidelines
- Track 4 – Historic Preservation
On July 21, 2015, the City Council held a special study session to review and discuss the status of the Monrovia Neighborhood Study. Staff provided an overview of the community feedback, policy considerations and the anticipated process and schedule. The study session was an important step in the process to provide an opportunity for the City Council to comment and give direction to Staff at the onset of the policy development phase. On August 4, 2015, a follow up presentation was made to the City Council to confirm the direction given to Staff. The presentation, Staff Report and the policy direction approved by the City Council are in the Supporting Documents section.
The Policy Direction Statement was then forwarded to the respective Commissions for further discussion. City Staff then took this feedback and began researching, developing and analyzing these policies to develop ordinances which will then go through the public hearing process.