There are growth problems beginning to impact residents at the Groves according to tips recieved by Whittier 360 and by local residents who spoke about those issues at Tuesday's Whittier City Council meeting.
Rebecca Canales went to investigate and see what she could see and find out if anyone was willing to talk about the issues on camera. Unfortunately no one was willing to go live on camera. But we did find a few residents willing to talk to us off camera including one who gave Rebecca a tour of the community but was willing to go only by the initials AH.
Rebecca was on location for a total of about 2 or 3 hours. On arrival there was nothing to report plus the initial video was on the perimeter and usually unseen problems tend to be inside the community out of sight. Rebecca walked around the neighborhood to look for people willing to go on camera or talk to the media. We found people willing to talk, just not on camera. And those who spoke to Rebecca confirmed what the public comments speakers told the Whittier City Council on Tuesday.
All the residents said the senior housing was cancelled and the building that was supposed to be for seniors was instead being used for high priced luxury apartments instead. Another thing that everyone expressed concern about was Victory Outreach Church moving into the old Lucky site. They expressed concern that it would cause traffic congestion and that people at the church would try to take over parking at the commercial portion of the Groves.
Joey Kiss and his wife Rosemary told Rebecca that two months ago a transient was found in the jacuzzi and another was in the community just a week ago. They expressed concern the private security company the City Council required the HOA to hire was not doing enough patrols. Rosemary said that when parking fills up in the garages, the extra vehicles are parked in the street and that is starting to cause issues because residents are running out of places to park. The company the HOA currently contracts with for security services is ALECO. We attempted to locate the security officer on duty and found only the vehicle he was supposed to be driving. We were unable to locate the security officer himself.
Joey, Rosemary and another resident, David, both reported that porch piracy was a big issue in the community with people coming from outside the neighborhood and stealing not just packages but shoes and other articles of clothing off peoples' porches. All three pointed to vandalism that they said was done by teens jumping the fence to the swimming pools. According to resident AH the teens are from outside the community and mainly coming from the surrounding neighborhoods or directly from Whittier High School. He also mentioned that a transient was seen walking the neighborhood masturbating early in the morning. According to AH, there were no children present at the time the individual was caught but residents complain that Whittier PD did not arrest the individual but just escorted him out of the development and let him go. David said he would prefer the security to increase the number of patrols they do. Usually the number of security officers are usually more than just one officer for a site that is the size of the Groves housing community.
David told Whittier 360 that he has noticed that Whittier PD has been increasing their patrols of the community since last month. Several residents said they were appreciative of the increased patrols but want Whittier PD to do more.
AH showed Whittier 360's Rebecca where the problem areas were. According to AH, at least 500 people now live in the Groves which located in District 1. Their city council representative who is supposed to help them with these issues is Jessica Martinez. Residents of the Groves who want assistance with the growing issues being reported can contact their City Council Representative by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jessica is also the current Mayor Pro Tem for Whittier.
During the day time these streets are empty when everyone is at work but come night when everyone is home, they fill up fast.
Prior to this curb being painted red, residents would park their extra vehicles next to it. The curbs were painted to ensure large fire trucks would be able to get through. This forced the residents to park their extra vehicles on the street in front. There are a few streets that are narrow like this one where parking is prohibited.
While most units have garages that fit two cars, the last garage on each building only fits one car and the household's other car has to be parked on the street in front of the building. A couple of residents expressed they would like permit parking to be implemented in the neighborhood. According to one person Rebecca spoke with, some of the residents are using only half of their garages with the other half is being used as gyms and home offices. This means that cars that should be parked inside the garages are instead being parked in the street further reducing the available street parking.
By 7:00 pm street parking spots are starting become scarce. As you can see most of the curbs in the community are marked red which greatly diminishes the amount of available street parking.
The white truck in this picture is parked next to a handicap sign which in most cases would be illegal except in this case the driver parks there because they believe they can continue to do so until the curb is painted blue and that will further reduce the available parking.
Rebecca noted that most of the residents were dog owners and there were a lot of very young children in the community. According to AH who was willing to be identified only by his initials, the community currently does not have any teenagers living in the development and will not until the infants that make up the majority of the community's children reach adolescence in about 10 to 12 years. Most teenagers who visit are from outside the Groves or are visiting from outside of Whittier. Everyone that Rebecca spoke to said the vandalism at the pool and near the community center were being done by the teens who come into the community and jump the fence to the pools proceeding to spray graffiti and engage in vandalism.
The other issue that residents mentioned were transients going through trash cans. David said there is a truck that goes through collecting recyclables without making a mess but that there was a transient who also goes through the trash cans for the same reason and just leaves trash all over. Several other residents collaborated the statement.
Rebecca was also shown the inside of the renovated chapel which is now the community center but those pictures will be posted later.
As noted by both AH and David there is a HOA meeting on Tuesdays and we will try to see if any of the board members or other residents of the new development are willing to talk on camera. We will have more at that time.