City too slow to release funds, businessman complains

Flintridge Bookstore owner set aside $50,000 deposit to guarantee work in public right of way.

June 08, 2011|By Joe Piasecki,

The custom-built new home of Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee House successfully opened for business four months ago, but the way owner Peter Wannier sees it, the project is far from over.

During the public comment portion of Monday’s La Cañada Flintridge City Council meeting, Wannier complained that City Hall has been too slow to release a $50,000 deposit he made to guarantee now-finished improvements to the public right of way in front of his store.

City officials, meanwhile, counter that it was Wannier who chose to put up his own money rather than obtain a bond and that he hasn’t been treated differently than anyone else.


The matter has also already been set for discussion during the June 20 council meeting — council approval typically being the final requirement before development deposits are released, said City Engineer Ying Kwan.

When Wannier began construction on the bookstore a year and a half ago, city officials required him to provide a $50,000 performance bond pending satisfactory completion of curbside upgrades at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Chevy Chase Drive. These included paving new sidewalks as well as the installation of light poles and street trees.

The city, in turn, offered to reimburse Wannier up to $30,000 of the total cost of that work after its completion.

Though major construction ended in February, the need to correct improperly installed light-pole bolts prohibitted city inspectors from certifying the project until May 27, Kwan said.

Before funds are released, City Council members must vote to approve certification. Wannier complains officials are dragging their feet, but Kwan says inspections simply didn’t wrap up in time to make the June 6 council agenda.

“This, to me, is red tape at its worst — just pointless,” said Wannier. “I was told as soon as work was completed, my bond would be released. I wasn’t aware our City Council had to rubber stamp anything. They know the work is done. I did my part honorably, and I did it well. It’s not right for them to sit on [releasing the funds] for three weeks.”

Explaining his frustration, Wannier said he had been counting on receiving the money from the city so he could complete payments to his general contractor; the delay forced him to use other means.

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles