We brought to your attention a few days ago our concerns about an illegal 2-story 1322 square foot structure that was recently built at 156 W. Highland without architectural plans, engineering specifications, licensed tradesman, building permits, notice to the public or any approval or oversight whatsoever. The applicant, Mr. Salisian, originally intended it to be a dwelling unit with a kitchen and two bathrooms. Only after it was discovered by the City after a citizen's complaint, was the use changed to a "recreation and exercise" building.
The Planning Commission rejected the after-the-fact CUP that the applicant was seeking which caused the applicant to appeal that denial to the City Council. City Staff recommended that the City Council support the Planning Commission's decision and deny the CUP as well.
We are happy to report that the City Council denied the CUP at tonight's meeting. Council members Capoccia and Delmar had to recuse themselves because they lived too close to the applicant's property. Council Members Goss and Arizmendi voted to deny the CUP. Council Member Harabedian was the sole vote in favor of granting the CUP to Mr. Salisian.
Preserve Sierra Madre is grateful to Council Members Goss and Arizmendi for their own judgment in this matter as well as giving due deference to our experts on the Planning Commission and due deference to the rule of law. A powerful message has been sent that Sierra Madre's General Plan and Municipal Code exist to be followed and not flouted. These rules and regulations exist for many reasons, not the least of which, is to insure the health and safety of those who will be inhabiting the structure - namely the applicant himself.
We are also grateful to Planning Commissioner Spears who attended the City Council meeting and provided insight into the reasons for the Planning Commission's denial.
Let us be clear, we are not happy because the applicant is now facing a consequence for his actions. We are happy because the importance of our General Plan and Municipal Code have been affirmed by the highest governing body in the City of Sierra Madre. That is why we are pleased with tonight's decision and grateful for the result.