August 11, 2007 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder 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.


Amelia brought and served a delicious home made pie made with her home grown apples.


10 members


Agenda Items:

  • Kaiser development & parking use permit
  • Goodrich power station project
  • Altrio/Champion cable lines & boxes
  • St. Luke hospital site
  • More info on SMV home’s “too tall wall”
  • Green Space planning element and Eaton Wash area
  • Hazardous/E-Waste collection event next Saturday
    • August 18, 2007,  9 am – 3 pm
      Santa Anita Race Track, Gate 3, Huntington Drive, Arcadia
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • status of “Stuart” development
    • local houses on market
    • trash cans being left out in street, on sidewalk
    • coyotes, raccoons, possums
    • tree health

The formal meeting began at 11:30 pm (because we were getting pie)

Kaiser development & parking use permit

  • Kaiser Permanente now owns the building at 3258-80 Foothill.  The building on the SE corner of Foothill and Sierra Madre Villa.
  • They plan to move their medical offices there from Lake & Villa, with a goal of moving in next spring.
  • Initially they will share the building with some of the existing tenants.  As those tenants complete their leases Kaiser will take over additional space in the building.
  • They will be substantially “renovating” the interior space.
  • They have now been granted a conditional use permit to have tandem and valet parking on site.
    • Here is the city permit staff report on the request and conditions.
    • The tandem usage is already in place along the south edge of the lot under a permit granted the previous owners in the early 80s.  A full time attendent is to be available for management of the tandem spaces.
    • The valet parking is to be free to parkers and is expected to be made available during peak periods such as flu season.  It would use the tandem spaces and others furthest from the building. The valet station would be on the south side of the building, inside the parking lot.
  • Kaiser has now been granted a variance to allow them to have less then what would have been the required number of parking spaces.  Under the rules in force when the building was built, they would have had almost the required number except that they are losing a few in the lot due to building improvements.  Under current rules, medical offices require additional parking spaces.  But also under current rules, they would qualify as a transit-oriented development due to proximity to the train station, and therefore would need fewer spaces.  The variance puts them under the new rules.  Initially they will have enough spaces.  When they take over more then a certain amount of the building, they will have to demonstrate they have additional parking.
  • As part of getting the permits and variance, Kaiser must submit a traffic management plan to the city.
  • It was pointed out at the permit hearing that medical use generates more vehicle trips then regular offices, but that the usage tends to be more spread out over the day.
  • In addition to the parking lot on site, Kaiser has made arrangements to use some space at the Space Bank next door and along with the building bought the small parking lot next to the BMW repair shop on the north side of Foothill.
  • Kaiser has talked to the MTA about leasing an additional spaces in the Gold Line parking structure.  MTA was reportedly eager to lease space on a month to month basis.  We talked to them about how the parking lot is already well utilized during the day time and we really don’t want to see them tieing up spaces because that would discourage Gold Line usage.  They promised to look into other off-site possibilities such as PCC, Target, El Torito, Hastings Village, and use the Gold Line only as a last resort.
  • Kaiser representatives said that if our neighborhood notices any employees parking on our streets that we can contact them and they will have their security check it out.
  • Another condition of the permits and variance is that Kaiser has to dedicate a portion of their Foothill frontage to the city to enable the city to add a dedicated right hand turn lane and also widen the sidewalk.  As part of that work, the existing street trees will be removed and some of the nice landscaping currently in front of the building has to be demolished.

Goodrich power station project

  • The Goodrich power substation is the electrical facility located just west of the PCC-CEC parking lot, south of the water well and proposed ice rinks.
  • At last Monday’s City Council meeting, the council approved a contract for construction of a “reinforced concrete oil containment system” at the substation.
  • According to the staff report provided to the council, the substation “has three 34kV transformer banks that hold approximately 52,000 gallons of oil.  Federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations require that potentially large oil spills be contained within the immediate area. The substation was constructed prior to these federal regulations. Specification LD-07-2 provides for the construction of a reinforced concrete oil containment system at the T.M. Goodrich Substation, which would prevent transformer oil from leaking onto the ground during a spill or accident.”
  • Councilman Haderlein was requested by e-mail to ask the staff about the activity that has already been happening over there the last couple of months, but no response was received and he didn’t say anything at the meeting.  Also did not receive any response to the query sent Rhonda Stone after last month’s meeting, but have noticed that some crushed rock has been spread on the dirt inside the gate adjacent to Avocado Ave.  Neighbors at our meeting report that dust has recently also been reduced by use of water trucks.
  • Neighbors report seeing that there were some large transformers sitting on the property recently (we were told several months ago they would be using it temporarily for transformer storage) but all the recent construction activity does not seem to be related to that and is too soon for for the oil containment system.

Altrio/Champion cable lines & boxes

  • Altrio was the company that around the year 2000 the city granted a video franchise to compete with Charter.  They put the big green “coffin” boxes in the parkways and strung thick cables on the utility poles.  Many of the cables are not even connected to anything.  Altrio ran out of money with the system only partially complete and under a lot of controversy due to their unsightly facilities.  Eventually they sold their system to a company called Champion which seems to have been running it “as is”.  Now Champion has sold it to Charter.
  • The Pasadena Neighborhood Coalition is proposing to send a letter to Charter requesting that Charter remove the Altrio/Champion boxes and cables once those customers are switched to Charter’s system.  The letter expresses a belief that the Altrio/Champion infrastructure is redundant to Charter’s and should not be needed by Charter.

St. Luke hospital site

  • Sale by Caltech is still ongoing.  According to a Star News article it is taking longer then expected but they still hope to have an announcement this summer.
  • Caltech is not considering what uses the buyer may intend for the property.  Caltech has a fiduciary duty to get the best price.
  • The land is zoned “PS”, public space, so putting residential or commercial on it would require changing the zoning.
  • Councilman Haderlein has publicly stated he is against redevelopment as high density residential.  He would look favorably on re-use for urgent care.
  • City is going forward with negotiations to open an urgent care center in a building the city owns on Del Mar at Kinneloa.
  • Because Councilman Haderlein’s wife works for Huntington Hospital, he has not had and cannot have any involvement or inside knowledge of the city’s negotiations for an urgent care operator for the Del Mar site.

More info on SMV home’s “too tall wall”

  • According to Councilman Haderlein, the wall was actually legal at 14 feet and that getting it lowered to 10 feet required the developer to be given permission to make a second connection to the sewer line in Sierra Madre Villa so that the houses within the development could still be the required height above the sewer line.

Green Space planning element and Eaton Wash area

  • The city council has agreed to funding the staff to work on a “Green Space” element to the city’s master plan.  Until now, only recreation and parks have been considered important, just leaving space open has not been.
  • In a draft of the green space element are map drawings from a 1932 and a 1967 “Eaton Canyon Development Plan”.  The 1967 plan is the one that showed an ice rink among many other uses. The reproduction isn’t good enough to see exactly where it was proposed to go.
  • There was a demonstration planned today at 10 am at Kinneloa and Colorado to protest the eviction of Present Perfect nursery at the end of this month and the expected plans to still build self-storage facilities in some of the Edison right-of-way.  Have not heard that a new application has actually been filed with the city yet.

Hazardous/E-Waste collection event next Saturday

  • August 18, 2007,  9 am – 3 pm
    Santa Anita Race Track, Gate 3, Huntington Drive, Arcadia

anything else attendees wish to discuss

  • status of “Stuart” development
    • Question was raised as to what is going on with “The Stuart” development of 188? apartments just north of the Gold Line parking structure.  Progress seems to be stopped again.  They appear to still not be finished, there is at least one broken window, and there is some strange plastic partition on at least one balcony facing the parking structure.
    • What are the sizes of the units and what are the asking prices?
    • Is the proposed 212 unit development for the corner going to be as ugly as The Stuart?
  • local houses on market
  • trash cans being left out in street/sidewalk all week
  • coyotes, raccoons, possums
    • Lots of them this year.  Cats being eaten.  Raccoons and possums causing disturbances on roofs.
  • tree health
    • Neighbors report their fruit and other trees are doing poorly and dying this summer.  Remember nature provided very little moisture in the past year and a half and no deep soaking rains last winter.  Trees need deep watering, not the frequent shallow watering typical for lawns.  Let the water trickle overnight in the tree’s root zone – soaker hoses are particularly good for the purpose.  Not getting enough water causes trees stress and prevents them from making enough sap to push out invaders and seal their wounds.  Trees growing fruit are likely to need more water then non-fruit trees.  Of course, no one wants to use too much water either.  Adult trees with deep roots only need to be watered deeply once or twice a month, even in the middle of the summer.

Next meeting is September 8.

Adjourned at 12:30 pm