Dear Editor:I am glad that the city of Downey always has had a reputation for enforcing their building codes, making sure new homes or additions were being built to city standards. So when the hotel on the corner of Gallatin and Downey Avenue resumed construction again after being left half completed for more than a year, I knew that city inspectors would not allow construction to continue building over the existing original structure, which has been standing exposed to the elements. But for some reason they did allow it, and in fact, it seems like the city has fast tracked the project. So what is usually a long drawn out process, is now in the final stages. In most cases it takes months and even years to get building plans approved before building can begin and finally completed. But in this case, in just a few months the project is almost completed. Yet, I had faith that city would never let this monster destroy the look and feel of the neighborhood. I thought the Design Review Board would ride to the rescue and never allow the 10-bedroom structure to be built, mainly because it lacks both design or style which the board is suppose to enforce. But, sadly, I learned that the Review Board only oversees the construction of condos, townhouses and apartments and various other commercial buildings. Apparently residential structures can be built in any shape or form, with or without style. I know that there must be a logical answer but I can't tell what it can possibly be. All I know is, if you build a warehouse but call it a single family residence, it is still a warehouse. On the other hand, this disaster might be a wake up call to the city to widen the board's scope to include all structures, so that streets throughout the city will remain residential and in the future we will not see a "Comfort Inn" being built next to Furman Park and the city calling it a family residence. -- Ed Romero, Downey Editor's note:‚ÄàThe Design Review Board was dissolved late last year. Its duties are now handled by the Planning Commission.
********** Published: November 20, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 31