San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Article Published: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 10:45:18 PM PST

Housing plan wins big

By Diana L. Roemer and Marianne Love , Staff Writers

Yes Azusa
Azusa city council member Diane Chagnon is all smiles as she writes down the announced vote totals from a voting district on the Measure A and B vote. The measures will determine the future of the Monrovia Nursery property. (Staff Photo by John Kennedy)
In a landmark election Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly passed two measures that will allow a 1,250-home development on 517 acres of Monrovia Nursery property in the northeast part of town.

Voters by a 3-1 margin approved Measure A a housing plan calling for 1,250 houses and condominiums and Measure B, which assures the city will reap millions in income from any development.

Property owner Miles Rosedale and members of "Yes Azusa' called the vote a turning point in the city's history. Voters turned down a larger project in 1999.

"I'm profoundly grateful in lots of ways,' said Rosedale, the chief executive officer of Monrovia Growers. "The citizens allowed Monrovia Nursery to come back for a second time.'

Rosedale said he is cautiously optimistic.

"This is the first step in a number of steps. We still have to build,' he said.

Tuesday's vote was the culmination of an emotional campaign.

"It's too many houses, it's just too much,' said Glendora resident Mark Davis, who lives above the property.

"Azusans for Responsible Growth,' a group that opposed both measures, said the development plan is too dense and will cause massive traffic congestion.

"This parcel is a majestic gem of land. I don't know where we are going to go from here,' said Mayor Cristina Madrid.

Development opponents say they may still try to overturn the election results in a court appeal.

Barring any court injunctions, the property east of Pasadena Avenue, west of Palm Drive, north of Foothill Boulevard and south of Sierra Madre Avenue could see homes going up as early as 2005.

Rosedale plans to sell the property, now the site of the 48- year-old Monrovia Nursery, to a developer who will be bound to the terms of the development spelled out in Measure A.

Those terms: the homes, a K-8 school, parks, a recreation center and stores on about 325 acres; 192 acres would be left as open space. The homes are predicted to range from $300,000 to $1 million.

According to a fiscal analysis a consultant did for the city, the project will bring in about $1.7 million a year in revenue.

In 1999, voters shot down a measure called the Rosedale Plan that called for a 1,600- home development on the property.

The victory is a sweet success for Rosedale and the hundreds of supporters of the development plan, who opened a headquarters and poured about $250,000 into their campaign.

Those in favor of the development say it will vastly increase Azusa property values, as did the Mountain Cove development at the mouth of the Angeles National Forest on Highway 39.

"It's a good thing," said resident Anna Ramirez, 48. "My son said if this passes, he was going to come back from San Diego."

-- Tagline Diana L. Roemer can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2105, or by e-mail at . Marianne Love can be reached at Ext. 2108 or by e-mail at .

Copyright 2004 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
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