October 14, 2006 Meeting

October 14, 2006

Preparation

E-mail note was sent to each member who has provided a contact e-mail address.
Susan Chu and Laura Ellersieck phoned other members on the phone contact list.

Acknowledgments

Susan Chu brought brownies and tea for refreshments.

Attendees

5 members (including all 4 officers this time)

Meeting

Agenda Items:

  • Park pedestrian entrance locking problem
  • Household Hazardous Waste Roundup at Rose Bowl Area K
  • Edison land
  • LaSalle athletic field lights
  • more group homes info
  • house size restrictions
  • City Council District 4 seat election
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

The meeting began about 11:20 am

  • Park pedestrian entrance locking problem
    • if you find it locked during hours when it is supposed to be open -
      • and it is during city business hours, call Tom Hunter at (626) 744-4321
      • if it is after regular hours, call Laura at 626 792-2927 and she will call Tom Hunter's personal cell phone
    • another possibility may be to call the Park Rangers
      • Sgt. Aaron Quintana 744-3788 (Park Safety Unit)
      • Park Safety Specialists:  744-3905
    • Susan reported she found the fence at the southern end of the park has been cut open by somebody - so that gate being locked isn't an issue for now
  • Household Hazardous Waste Roundup at Rose Bowl Area K
    • Sat October 21, 8:30 am to 3 pm.  Area K is southwest of the bowl.
  • Edison land
    • The battle over the two self-storage projects on Edison land is really heating up now.  This is the plan where self-storage would be developed north of Sierra Madre Blvd, where Perssons Nursery is now, and south of Colorado along Kinneloa and where Present Perfect nursery is just south of Del Mar.
    • The plan was that Perssons Nursery would move to the south side of Sierra Madre Blvd, but Perssons balked on that when they discovered how expensive it would be.  RHC Communities, the developer, reportedly offered to pay the moving expense, but Perssons said it wasn't a firm offer and required them to publicly support the self-storage development.  RHC said they couldn't make a firm offer until they leased the land and they do not want to do that until they know their development plans will go forward.
    • Perssons Nursery and now a new organization called Pasadena Open Space Preservation have gotten several articles in the Star News.  Although some of the articles have been poorly written and the information muddled, it definitely is raising public awareness.
    • Edison has told Perssons that their lease will not be renewed after Dec 31, so they are currently having a clearance sale with the intent of shutting down November 30 to start moving out.  However, because of the publicity and community pressure, there is to be another meeting between Perssons and RHC (the developer) regarding the possibility of RHC helping Perssons move across the street.   Based on what I heard at a meeting the other night, there isn't much hope they will come to an agreement.
    • Appears the ice rink project is stalled awaiting outcome of battle over Edison's plans for public storage (although city not saying this).  Because the city has put so much money and effort into the ice rink already and the Council believes there is a lot of support for the facility, plus the need to get the ice rink out of the civic center, they will have difficulty scrapping those plans.  Edison and their public storage potential lessee do seem to be using it as leverage.  In order for the city to continue with the ice rink plan without using Edison land the (bad) options appear to be:
      • move the building footprint west enough to accommodate the access road along the side of the building - this would force removal of the existing oak trees along the wash.  Change the access to that road to come through the Water and Power land off Maple or by going across the city easement from Alameda,
      • access the site through the park, probably reconfiguring the dog park since there does not appear to be room on city land for a roadway to pass to the east of it.
    • City staff is working on an informational report to the City Council about the proposed land usage under the Edison lines.  I t is supposed to be ready and presented in the next few weeks.  Some believe the Edison land project plans are being tweaked to try to make the projects less objectionable/more excusable.  Among the things city planning staff is reportedly working on are an environmental initial study.  That would have to include an analysis of traffic.  Likely that will result in a "negative declaration" or "mitigated negative declaration" for "significant" environmental impact.  If that is accepted by the City Council then a full environmental impact report is not needed.
    • After the staff report on the project is presented to the City Council, the city planning staff says they will have community meetings to discuss the plans.  Then the Planning Commission will consider whether the necessary zoning approvals should be given that would allow the self-storage projects to go forward.  They will make a recommendation to the City Council.  The City Council then makes the final decision.  If the zoning decision(s) allow either self-storage project to go forward, the specific building plans will have to go to the Design Commission.
    • The neighbors east of Kinneloa Ave. between Colorado and Del Mar Blvds have been getting organized to fight the self-storage proposed on the Edison land next to them.  They do not have a neighborhood association and say that they only heard of these plans at the end of August.  There are a total of about 50 parcels on the three east-west streets that are in city territory. (2 on Green, 27 on Brandon,  21 on Milton) plus 7 on the north side of Del Mar.
      • As mentioned by RHC representatives at our meeting in July, looking at parcel maps superimposed on overhead photos, it does appear some of the bordering houses have utilized some of the Edison property, potentially causing property easement issues.  3127 Brandon and 3161 Milton (first houses on north side) have very narrow frontages and it appears they have extended their front yards to the west beyond their boundary line.  It appears that 3191 Del Mar has extended onto the Edison land very extensively (it's a two on the lot built in 1907 according to assessor data).  It appears 3170 Milton may have also borrowed a narrow strip along the entire west edge of its property.
    • The Kinneloa area neighbors started up an organization called Pasadena Open Space Preservation and are reaching out to other neighborhoods and area organizations.
      • They are having a series of meetings at the Ability First on Del Mar and Kinneloa and invite anyone interested in fighting the public storage plans/loss of open space to join them.   The next meeting there is now scheduled for Thursday October 26 at 7 pm.
      • They are conducting a petition drive.  People are volunteering to walk their streets and/or to stand outside markets and go to area events such as the Farmer's market.
      • They are putting together yard signs (like political campaigns use), T-shirts, and picket signs.  They are planning to walk between Farmer's market and Perssons on Oct 28, and probably other places.  The goal is to make as many people as possible aware of the situation, to gather lots of signatures quickly to show the city council that lots of people agree with them, to embarrass Edison for their unfriendly plans, and to be ready to attend in force any meetings that occur.
      • If you are interested in being actively involved with this organization, attend the meeting and/or call Vatche at 626 390-9955.
    • Pasadena Neighborhood Coalition has taken a position against the plans.  They are pushing to prevent any more development under the Edison lines from Pasadena to the ocean and to instead institute a "string of emeralds" of nature trails and paths using a combination of Eaton Wash and Edison lands.  They are also reportedly talking to area legislators and to PUC commissioners trying to change policy for Edison lands.
  • LaSalle High School athletic field lights
    • Apparently LaSalle has converted their athletic field, which was primarily a track and field facility, into a football/soccer field including bleachers and now want to install large nighttime lighting standards.  Apparently until now they have used fields at other schools or facilities as far away as Monrovia.
    • The proposed light standards are 80 feet tall.  The school's neighbors in Lower Hastings are appalled at the light pollution this will cause, much less daytime view pollution, and the added noise and traffic on game nights.  Reportedly, Lower Hastings folks offered that they would compromise for use of mobile temporary lights, but that this was rejected.  They also complain that LaSalle has been making changes one piece at a time without any public overall plan.  That they one by one rebuilt the field, added a big sign, added bleachers, and now the lights, and what next?  That a "master plan" for their facilities expansion is required by land use law.
    • Supporters of the lights contend the light poles will have little impact on daytime views compared to the numerous telephone and electric poles and lines already present.  That the night games will bring no more noise and trash then afternoon games do, and since parking is off of Sierra Madre Blvd the nearby residents aren't affected anyway.  They have agreed to restrictions so that the lights would be used only until 10 pm on a maximum of 9 nights per year, and until 7 pm up to a max total of 52 nights per year. That opposing Lower Hastings folks are just in "not in my backyard" mode and unwilling to compromise.  Many LaSalle parents want to be able to watch their children's games in the evening - they can't make it afternoons.  LaSalle football supporters want to be able to have games on Friday nights like other high schools do, and some other high schools have rejected scheduling for afternoons.  That it is too hot for afternoon games in September.  A letter writer to the Star News says the children have a right to the "thrill of playing under the Friday night lights" and this is necessary for a positive high school experience and memories.
    • The lights needed a permit and the neighbors managed to win a decision by the Zoning Appeals Board to deny the permit.  Now it will go to the City Council on October 16 for their decision on whether to allow the light standards and if so, what the restrictions will be.  Councilman Haderlein will not be involved in the decision making because he has a conflict of interest in that he is employed by LaSalle.
    • (post note - Council approved the permit for the lights at their meeting)
  • group homes - a little more info
    • At past meetings where we discussed the controvery in Lower Hastings, we had confusion about how many non family people can be in a single family house.
    • For state licensed homes for alcohol and drug treatment, if a house has 6 or fewer residents the state requires the city/county to treat it as a single family residence.  According to a recent LA Times artcile, typically owners of such homes are buying a bunch of them near to each other so that they can get economies of scale by using the same service providers for all of them.  State law prevents cities/counties from imposing any restrictions on their operations or numbers.  This means they can overwhelm a neighborhood with essentially commercial operations.
    • The group homes at issue in Upper Hastings are reportedly not alcohol or drug treatment homes, so they are presumably subject to whatever local regulations exist.  According to Table 2-2 in zoning code section "17.22.030 - Residential District Land Uses and Permit Requirements", permitted uses in a single family residential district include "residential care (limited)" (see definition below), and "single family housing (a lot with a single-family residence may rent a maximum of two bedrooms)" (hmm, it doesn't say how many people in each bedroom).
    • From 17.80 - Glossary.
      • Residential Care, Limited (land use). Any State licensed facility, place, or structure that is maintained and operated to provide non medical residential care, day treatment, or foster agency services for six or fewer adults, children, or adults and children as defined in Article 1 of Chapter 3 of the California Health and Safety Code, Section 1500 et seq. This use includes the administration of limited medical assistance (e.g., dispensing of prescribed medications).
  • house size restrictions
    • we've had some questions at past meetings about how big a house can be in our RS-6 district (single family residential, maximum 6 per acre).  Note that most of the properties in our district were created before that zoning standard was imposed, so they are mostly somewhat smaller then the standard.
    • zoning code section 17.22.040 - Residential District General Development Standards, Table 2-3 shows
      • No maximum lot coverage on lots of 7,200 square feet or less, 35 % otherwise.  (Most of our lots south of Las Lunas are less then 7,200 sq ft, those on Las Lunas and Hermanos are a little more.)
      • "Maximum floor area" for lots less then 32,670 square feet is 30% of lot size plus 500 square feet.  So:
        • 4480 sq ft lot (the lot being built on southern Avocado Ave) -> 1844 sq ft of structures
        • 5625 sq ft lot (the "mansion" on Estado)  -> 2188 sq ft of structures
        • 7200 sq ft lot (minimum standard RS-6 lot) ->  2660 sq ft of structures
        • 7201 sq ft lot -> 2660 sq ft of structures, but some of it would have to be 2nd story because the 35% lot coverage max (2520)  comes comes into play.
      • Definition of "Maximum floor area"?  The glossary defines only "gross" and "net" floor area.
        • "Gross floor area" is defined as "the floor area between the floor and roof above it, as measured from the outside edge of the exterior walls of the main structure and all accessory structures, including required parking (either garage or carport). The gross floor area calculation excludes basements, patios, decks, balconies, uncovered porches, covered porches unenclosed (see definition of unenclosed) on one or more sides, and covered parking other than required parking. Any portion of a structure, including stairwells, over 17 feet in interior height, is counted twice for purposes of computing floor area."
        • "Net Floor Area" is defined as the total floor area of a structure, but excluding garages, hallways, lobbies, elevators and other common spaces.
        • Questions: Is "maximum floor area" based on "gross" or "net"?  In the definition of "gross floor area" does that mean if you are required to have a 2 car garage but you build a 3 car garage, the space for the 3rd car is not included in the floor area?
  • City Council District 4 seat election in March
    • Our district's council seat will be up for another 4 year term in March.  Anyone intending to run has to file papers in November-December time frame.
    • Steve Haderlein has reportedly (Star News) said he thinks he will run for another term.
    • Eugene Masuda has introduced himself at some local meetings and said that he intends to run for the seat.  He is trying to learn what is bothering folks in the district and what they think about various subjects.   He lives on San Pasqual, at the southern edge of the district.  He says he is a businessman who has done well and can afford to spend the time necessary to do the work of a council person.  He has been serving on the county's Consumer Affairs Advisory Commission, an appointed volunteer position.   He has been involved with the Chamber of Commerce, with civic organizations, and in Republican political organizations.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • chit-chat about housing market, area houses for sale and rent, what websites are showing these days.  For example the aerial photos on zillow.com are really something.

Next meeting is November 11, same time, same place.

Adjourned around 12:30 pm.

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