October 8, 2005 Meeting


An e-mail was sent to each member who has provided a contact e-mail address.
Susan Chu and Laura Ellersieck phoned each other member who has provided a contact phone number.


Susan Chu brought delicious pumpkin cake and juice.


6 residents attended the meeting.
Additionally, Tim Price from Daisy-Villa (across the wash from us) attended the first part of the meeting.


Agenda Items:

  • park renaming update
  • ice rink project status
  • Hastings Branch Library Open House
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

The meeting formally began about 11:30 am in Hastings Branch Library’s meeting room.

  • Park update
    • Opening is now scheduled for April, will be delayed further if lots of rain this winter
    • Councilman Haderlein has said there will be a pedestrian entrance on Avocado (further south than originally planned) and it will be there in time for the park opening.  Have heard from city staff however that they are waiting on Edison to move forward with the planning.
    • Renaming was heard by the Recreation and Parks Commission on Oct 4
      • Only 6 of the 9 commissioners were present.  Meeting started late as they waited for a quorum.  Public comment and first item on agenda took a long time before they finally got to renaming item.
      • City staff recommended and provided some background for our proposed name of Viña Vieja Park.  The staff report also mentioned and provided some background for proposals of Fred Twombly Park, Alice Frost Kennedy Park, and Orange Grove Park.  See staff report here.
      • Staff said they’d received two e-mails about the topic.  One opposed any name containing Viña because of concern that would lead people to come to Del Vina street and thus increase crime and traffic in our neighborhood.  Another correspondent said she wanted to retain Eaton as part of the name and proposed a couple of names containing Eaton.
      • Diana Twombly spoke to the commission about her grandfather Fred Twombly and showed a 9 minute video about his life.
      • Laura Ellersieck spoke about how and why East Eaton Wash Neighborhood Association chose Viña Vieja.  She handed them the petition signed by 46 people, explaining that they had been collected at our neighborhood fair and we hadn’t made a concerted effort to gather tham.
      • There were no other speakers.  The commission then began deliberation.
      • Tim Alderson, the district 4 representative on the commission said he’d received several e-mails “passionate” in their opposition to naming the park Viña Vieja.  He provided no detail about the e-mail senders.  He did say the main reason for opposition seemed to be the notion that Viña in the name would lead to confusion with Del Vina street and thus result in trouble in the neighborhood.  He made a comment that he had no idea prior to seeing the agenda and receiving the e-mails that an effort to rename the park was underway.   He also stated he does not like the name, but whether or not he likes it is “irrelevant”.  Said he was concerned about how much of the community has weighed in and wanted more input.  Did not think that 46 signators in support was very many. Said he would vote no.
      • Anita Fromholz, the chair, remembered the meeting last year where the idea of our neighborhood picking a name had first been raised after Ms. Twombly had made one of her many pitches for her grandfather’s name while a number of people from our neighborhood were there for changing the park plan.
      • The staff was questioned about what notice had been given to the neighborhood.  Answer was all residences within 1000 feet of the park which amounted to almost 1000 mailees.  The commissioners discussed why no one came to the meeting if they felt so strongly about it.
      • Betty Sword indicated support for changing the name to Viña Vieja.
      • Anita Fromholz raised the question of whether the decision could be put off for a month to allow more outreach and perhaps hold the commission meeting at Victory Park in the hopes that more people would attend.  Staff (Kathy Woods and Martin Pastuchia) indicated concern about putting even more resources into the subject.  Indicated that probably most people don’t care one way or the other.  Indicated that timing was an issue because it would be a month or so from the decision before it could get on the council agenda and they needed to know what would go on the park sign soon.
      • Charles McKenney said he felt something was missing from the process and would abstain from voting.
      • Mark Persico said he supports the staff recommendation and that regardless of what the commission did if there was opposition there would be controversy at the council meeting.
      • Although he voted in favor, Gregor Edwards did say he was concerned about process.
      • The vote on a motion to send the staff report to the City Council was 4 in favor, 1 against, 1 abstention.
    • On City Council agenda possibly on Oct 24 but more likely Nov 14.  Notices will be sent out to all residences within 1000 feet again.
    • Tim Price reported talking to various Daisy-Villa picnic attendees last week and not finding any particular opposition to Viña Vieja for the name.  As is probably the case for most, he thinks most people don’t really care what the name is and will refer to it as the “dog park” anyway.  Just as few people use the proper names for Gwinn (flat park), Eaton Sunnyslope (hilly park), or Eaton Blanch (the Del Mar park) parks.
  • ice rink project status
    • Laura Ellersieck was invited to an early morning meeting downtown on Sept 22nd by the city’s Capital Projects Administrator whose name is Segun Abegunrin.
      • Segun explained that he was starting with small informal meetings with people identified as interested parties to get an idea of the issues and concerns at the beginning of the design process.
      • He repeatedly encouraged that she contact him with any new questions or concerns, no matter how silly they may seem.
    • Discussion with architect – building concept
      • When she got there she was introduced to the architect, Stephen Albert, and his assistant.  They were the only other attendees.
      • They showed on a laptop computer a rough outline of the building and parking lot drawn on the overlayed satelitte image of the project that we were shown last spring.
      • The building would take almost the entire width of the city owned parcel.  The parking lot is to the north.  An access road to the parking lot runs along the eastern side of the building.
      • The architect said they are thinking to put the base of the entire building at the level of the southern end of it – therefore the northern end will be sunk into the ground 6 to 8 ft (depending on the exact slope there).
      • Think they said they expect the building height would be a little more then a two story house would be.
      • The architect mentioned wanting the building to be visible from the freeway/south side but having it blend in when viewed from the other directions.
    • Landscape buffer along Avocado
      • Laura brought up the issue of landscaping/screening along Avocado, not only for the ice rink itself but also the weed fields under the power lines.  Explained how we used to have the nice nursery they see on their satellite photo but now it is gone.
      • They did not seem inclined toward trees along Avocado but rather to solid shrubbery to the height of the fence along the fence line.  Laura requested it go the entire distance from Las Lunas to Alameda (exclusive of access gates of course.)
      • They plan to put trees along the access roadway along the east side of the building.
      • Laura brought up that we’d like to get a curb, gutter, and street trees along Avocado but discussion of that was not taken up.
      • Laura forgot to mention and discuss with them the existing four trees along the fence line.  Should we request trying to retain those trees? Yes.
    • Road access issues
      • Laura immediately noticed that on the architect’s diagram there was no road coming from PCC’s parking lot but rather a road coming from Alameda.  Questioned why that was and considerable time was spent discussing it, primarily with Segun.
      • Found out that there is no agreement with PCC for access yet.  Segun said that until that agreement exists, they will not reflect it on the plans.  The only current access is the city’s longstanding easement across the Edison land from Alameda so that is what shows on the site diagram the architect has.
      • He stated that the agreement with PCC and the agreement with Edison are under negotiation by the city manager and he is not directly involved.  He did mention that they are trying to do a lease agreement to make the arrangement more concrete and binding then just a memorandum of understanding.
      • Laura asked if those agreements would be in place or at least fundamentally agreed to before the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) process.  He said he didn’t think it is necessary to have those agreements for the CUP hearing officer to approve the project.  Laura told him that the further the project went without those agreements the more concerned we get because the investment already put in the project means it’ll go forward even if they have to literally run our neighborhood over.
      • By his questions Laura got the impression they are considering what alternatives they have, especially potentially via the park.  .
      • Laura told him while access through the park was preferable to putting it through our neighborhood, the greater traffic next to children’s play area, through an area which is supposed to be “closed” and therefore quiet and dark at night, and adding to traffic on Orange Grove was not desirable and would surely draw a lot of opposition from all the surrounding neighborhoods.
      • Laura told him that the access route was a huge concern for our neighborhood – that access from Avocado/Alameda and therefore putting traffic through the neighborhood was the one sure way to get a storm of opposition.  The fact that the initial study stated access would be from Foothill, with only emergency access via Alameda and the park, was vitally important.
      • Segun also put a new spin on the proposed signal at the PCC driveway on Foothill.  Although the initial study is pretty clear about it, he was talking about maybe it would be at Titley rather than the driveway.  Laura found this odd since the offset between Titley and the PCC driveway is far enough that she doesn’t see how a signal at Titley would work to allow cars to turn left from the driveway.  Maybe some kind of angular intersection.
    • Anticipated public meetings
      • Segun indicated he expects to have neighborhood meetings in the December time frame which he plans to arrange in conjunction with Rhonda.
      • He also expects they will be applying for the conditional use permit in December.  There is a public hearing associated with that.
  • Hastings Branch Library open house
    • Wednesday October 19 at 6:30 pm @ Hastings Branch Library
    • Slide show by local author Steve Tice about Pasadena’s historic connection to Catalina Island
    • Refreshments
    • Raffle
  • lunch wagon on corner of Santa Paula and Foothill at 9 pm with lots of young men in the street in front of it
    • is it there regularly? seemed to be a traffic hazard
    • what are rules regarding where/when lunch trucks can set up?
    • anybody else have any knowledge/opinions about that situation?

Meeting attendees were not familiar with it being there, thought it was supposed to be in the PCC parking lot.  Could this one be a competitor?  Some rememberance from past that city doesn’t have the info/authority to control these vendors.  Does it bother the neighbors on Santa Paula?  Makes sense to find out what the rules are to see whether anything could be done if it does bother the neighbors.

  • There was a break-in and theft from a home on Del Vina near Avocado sometime during the day Tuesday Oct 4th.
  • On October 8, 2005, the Pasadena Star News had an article reporting that the 7.88 acres including the “Allstate” building and the two newer buildings totalling 151,000 square feet has been sold to Cogent Inc. of South Pasadena for $25 million.  The “Allstate” building is the brick building across from Hermanos and Las Lunas streets (at 600 N. Sierra Madre Villa Ave) which has been empty since Allstate moved out around 1991.  The newer buildings (built about 1993) presently house Nanostream Inc. (580 N Sierra Madre Villa) and the Community Center for Education (565 N. Rosemead).
    A neighbor near the Allstate building reported that there has been a lot of activity there recently – apparently redoing the inside of the building.

Next meeting is November 12, same time, same place.

Adjourned about 12:40