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San Marino City Council Approves Huntington Expansion

The Huntington's expansion project for approximately 26.8 acres of the 207-acre property has been approved by the council, according to city and library officials.

The San Marino City Council approved steps to move forward, with conditions, on expansion of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Monday night, Mayor Richard Sun said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The council's 4-0 vote means state-required environmental impact reports will be certified and the city will also establish a program to monitor and report on the progress of the project.

The vote also amends city code and establishs two conditional use permits which will allow the Huntington to exceed parking limits and daily operating hours on a limited number of days per year for special events.

Councilmember Dennis Kneier recused himself from the vote, Sun said.

"We have to act on this because the Huntington requested this project and it is such an important part of the city," Councilmember Allan Yung said in a phone interview Tuesday.

"We have to work together on this," Yung said. "We want to be ensured the immediate neighborhood is not disrupted, particularly when it comes to parking. Other than that, this is a good project."

The council voted Monday night during a public hearing at the Barth Community Room, Crowell Public Library, 1890 Huntington Drive. 

The project went in front of the council following the filing of an appeal to the city's Planning Commission decision to recommend the project's approval.

The Huntington's library, art collections and botanical gardens expansion project, proposed for approximately 26.8 acres of the 207-acre property, includes a new auditorium, classrooms and a below-grade collections and storage area with a connecting tunnel to the basement of the Munger Research Center, according to city and library officials.

The education and visitor center would replace a number of rooms, including the ticketing kiosk, café portion of the tea room building and restrooms. See this Nov. 12 Patch article for a full list of renovations.

The project includes modification of the existing Historical and Cultural Zone Ordinance; a conditional use permit to allow redevelopment of facilities, parking, landscaping and other improvements within the existing entry complex area; and a conditional use permit to allow The Huntington to occasionally exceed maximum daily vehicle counts and standard operating hours a limited number of days per year, and to allow larger outdoor events with amplified sound to be conducted only in certain areas on the site.

The Huntington is billed as a private, nonprofit institution, founded in 1919 by businessman Henry E. Huntington, who built a financial empire that included railroad companies, utilities, and real estate holdings in Southern California.

Huntington played a role in the incorportation of San Marino in 1913, according to historians.

For more info about the Huntington visit www.huntington.org.

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