Frequently Asked Questions about TERA
What is TERA?
TERA, The Eagle Rock Association, is an inclusive membership organization that is there for the residents and businesses of the Eagle Rock community. We are your neighbors. We are the people who live here, work here, shop here, own businesses here, send our children to school here, and attend religious services here.
Our members hail from all income levels, age levels, ethnic backgrounds, and geographic areas of our town, and membership is open to all residents and businesses. Like you, we want a good life in Eagle Rock for our families and ourselves.
What is TERA’s role in the community?
The broad mission of TERA is to work for improvement of the quality of life in the Eagle Rock community. We provide research and education about issues that affect Eagle Rock, participate in land-use and planning activities, promote positive community growth and business development, support preservation of historic resources, and participate in public-area beautification projects, among other beneficial things.
We encourage our members to participate in the important civic life of our City by enabling them to take an active role in Eagle Rock’s future.
What is TERA’s view on business?
TERA is definitely FOR a diverse and thriving business district because it will enrich our lives as residents and, in turn, further enrich the business community. TERA foresees a business district that offers a selection of products, services, and an overall shopping experience that is so appealing it will KEEP EAGLE ROCK DOLLARS IN EAGLE ROCK, which is something we all want. This goal benefits everyone, residents and businesses alike.
How does the Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan help the business district?
The Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan envisions a higher-quality, more varied business district that places a priority on a wide selection of products and services, and physical attractiveness. The Plan foresees the creation of a pedestrian-oriented business district that people will want to come to, which will further attract new and better businesses to the district. It establishes certain restrictions on types of businesses that are overly abundant in Eagle Rock and/or are well known to lead to a community’s decline, which are conditions that work against the development of a successful business district.
In fact, Eagle Rock is just one of many communities throughout Los Angeles and other cities that have adopted specific plans for very similar reasons. The Specific Plan exists because the people of Eagle Rock want and need a better business district, and that’s why TERA supports the spirit and intent of the Specific Plan.
What about existing businesses that are restricted under the Specific Plan?
All of these businesses that were in existence when the Specific Plan was enacted in 1992 have been “grandfathered in” and are known as “legal nonconforming uses.” This means that they can continue to do business as they always have. What they cannot do is expand their business without going through a discretionary action such as a Specific Plan Exception according to the provisions of the Specific Plan, which is the law.
Who wrote the Specific Plan?
The Specific Plan committee was comprised of a group of concerned local citizens representing all factions of the community who submitted resumes to and were appointed by the Council office in 1988. The Eagle Rock Sentinel (our wonderful long-time local newspaper we unfortunately no longer have) widely advertised the call for the formation of this committee, and those willing to commit tremendous amounts of personal time and effort came forward and applied.
The Specific Plan committee consisted of 11 business owners, commercial property owners, and residents combined, a group who dedicated five years of volunteer effort to formulate the Plan. Perhaps two, maybe three, were TERA members at the time (contrary to what some might think, TERA did not write the Specific Plan).
The business and commercial property interests were heavily represented. The committee members were as follows: David Baird, Kaye Beckham, Richard Conley, Ute de Lara, Robert de Pietro, Linda Melson, Cynthia Place Reiners, Jeff Samudio, Katie Smith, Eldie Snyder, and Eric Warren.
The Colorado Boulevard Specific Plan, Ordinance No. 168046, was adopted by the full City Council on June 23, 1992, and became law effective August 9 of that same year.
Why do so few businesses seem to know about the Specific Plan?
Business representatives were directly involved in the process of drafting the Specific Plan. They were then and continue to be in the ideal position to distribute factual information about the Plan to those they represent, but unfortunately they have shown little or no interest in accurately informing members of the business community about the land-use laws and related issues that affect them.
In fact, TERA has stepped forward to help fill this void in an effort to avert preventable land-use difficulties in Eagle Rock by holding public meetings about the Plan, writing about the Plan in our newsletter, and posting a summary of the Plan’s provisions on our web site, among other things. Further, in February 2000, TERA organized and helped conduct a seminar with Council member Nick Pacheco for the distinct purpose of educating area realtors and others about the Plan and other land-use laws that affect the Eagle Rock and Northeast areas.
TERA will continue to inform the community about land-use issues because we recognize that this information is essential to the stability of Eagle Rock’s future.
What changes, if any, should be made to the Specific Plan?
TERA vigorously supports the following changes to the Specific Plan:
1. The Specific Plan’s designated hours of operation should be expanded to allow businesses to close later than 9:00 p.m. It is widely agreed that this revision to the Specific Plan would help attract the businesses Eagle Rock wants and needs. This revision should exclude those businesses which have a “noise” component.
2. The Specific Plan’s designated hours of operation should be expanded to allow businesses to close later than 9:00 p.m. It is widely agreed that this revision to the Specific Plan would help attract the businesses Eagle Rock wants and needs. This revision should exclude those businesses which have a “noise” component.
3. The Specific Plan Exception process should be easier and less costly. The process currently takes many months and the payment of an exorbitant $5,000 fee, and even then an exception might not be granted. This is overly oppressive, especially to small businesses.
4. The Specific Plan should be revised to address our business district’s biggest problem — lack of adequate parking. Eagle Rock’s commercial district was developed in the early part of the 20th century when most townspeople relied on the local trolley line to shop and get around town, so the available parking on the street was more than adequate at the time. This explains our many shallow commercial lots and lack of adjacent parking areas. Current citywide parking regulations, however, disregard our history and therefore do not address Eagle Rock’s unique problem.
The Specific Plan could be revised to override city regulations and “grandfather in” the conditions that existed when the commercial corridor was first developed. Casa Bianca and Cafe Beaujolais are two excellent examples of very successful Eagle Rock businesses that have little or no parking, but they thrive because their sites existed as restaurants before the parking regulations were imposed and therefore are not subject to their authority. Newer businesses should be afforded that same benefit, as long as a business occupying an existing or historical site does not expand its floor area.