August 9, 2008 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder.   Non e-mail phone list was phoned.


Susan brought some cake/bread.


9 members


Agenda Items:

  • Ice Rink Design Commission Hearing
  • Ice Rink and Kings/Polar Ice Ventures
  • Ice Rink Construction Route
  • Avocado landscaping
  • Edison land weeds
  • Viña Vieja Park update
    • Grapevines
    • Pedestrian entrance
    • Over watering
    • Dog issues
    • Parks staff
  • Street robbery
  • Attempted burglary
  • Water Shortage Plan II
  • 212 condo development on SE corner of Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill
  • Urgent Care Center
  • Mt Wilson toll road repair
  • East Pasadena Post Office
  • Bowling Alley
  • Marathon
  • Parking Enforcement
  • Household Hazardous and E-Waste collection on August 16
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

The meeting began at 11:18 am

  • Ice Rink Design Commission Hearing
    • Monday August 11, 6 pm, Pasadena Senior Center (corner of Holly and Raymond)
    • Staff Report, (no attachments provided)
    • Unofficial and unapproved slide presentation on city website
    • Commission will be presented with changes made to previous design to save on construction costs
    • New design involves using concrete block for walls all the way to the roof.  Although heavier, the load is spread out more.  Saves on steel, which is said to be costliest item.
    • East wall is moved back out so there is again room for spectator seating inside atop the locker rooms.
    • Now using “storefront” glazing systems for building entrance and north and south walls.  Presumably this is less expensive then the things they were using before.
    • The blocks used for the walls are described as “black smooth-face concrete block (8x8x16)”
    • East side still has green screen trellises, but they now come closer to the ground.  Trumpet vines are supposed to grow up on them.
    • Between the trellises on the east side are what are described as “Polygal window boxes”. Polygal is described as “a solar-grade polycarbonate multi-wall system mostly used for glazing in sports arenas and in industrial and agricultural buildings”.  The area below the window boxes is “highlighted with a different concrete block material (split-face) and a band of random groupings of glass block.”
    • The west side has been simplified to have no windows, just the mechanical screen.
    • There is still a “tower” (previously called parapet) over the entrance.  It is to have smooth stucco painted a brick accent color, matching some projections on the north and south faces of the building.
    • Landscaping is described as “native plant palette”.  Chinese flame trees and Australian willows throughout the parking lot.  Additional coast live oak on the west side.
    • Shrubs are mentioned as providing a green screen for residences to the west, but no landscaping at all is described for the east.  Will have to wait for the meeting to see attachments to see whether everything east of the building, including the access road, is still being withheld from any public scrutiny.
    • Main sign is still over the entrance on east side of building.  Looks pretty much the same.  It is not lighted, but lighting will be visible from windows behind it at night.
    • Although building footprint is supposedly the same, it is now being described as 500 feet long instead of 450.
    • Commission only gets to make recommendations, not approval or disapproval.
  • Ice Rink and Kings/Polar Ice Ventures
    • In March and June meetings with ice rink agenda items there were indications by Council members and the City Manager that a partner/partners were being looked for/discussed for filling the gap in financing for the ice rink project.  Nothing has been discussed publicly, but this item appeared on the August 4 City Council Closed Session agenda:
        pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8
        Properties: 3026 East Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena, CA; 3005 East
        Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena, CA
        Agency negotiators: Bernard K. Melekian; Richard J. Bruckner
        Negotiating party: Los Angeles Kings in partnership with Polar Ice Ventures, LLC (PIV)
        Under negotiation: Terms of payment
  • Ice Rink Construction Route
    • This has still not been resolved.
    • City staff seems to have resigned itself to building a temporary road through the east side of the park to Orange Grove, with all the resulting extra disruption and large extra costs.
    • Vice-Mayor (Councilman) Haderlein is trying to find a way to work with PCC to allow the construction traffic go south to Foothill using take the same route that operational ice rink vehicle traffic is to take.  PCC is of course concerned about safety of students parking in their lot (although there are relatively few during weekdays).  But traffic safety measures with flagmen or whatever should be much easier there then through the park past dogs and children and on Orange Grove.
    • Haderlein is meeting with PCC President Dr Perfumo and with Director Dr. Mann in late August.
  • Avocado landscaping
    • Rhonda Stone says Vice-Mayor Haderlein is very aware of the lousy state of the west side of Avocado and is intent on at least getting landscaping if not also curb and gutter.
  • Edison land weeds
    • Edison apparently only expects to cut down weeds in its right-of-way twice a year.  Once after the winter rains are finished and once before the fall fire season.  The city has given notice that they must be cut now or the citation process will begin.  There reportedly are some discussions of the city taking over maintenance of at least some of the right-of-way through Pasadena.  If that were to happen the weeds could be cut more frequently and some of those plants that stay green could be allowed to grow instead of mowing everything down indiscriminately.
  • Viña Vieja Park update
    • Grapevines
      • On July 15 the grape vines on the outside of the northern fence of the off least dog area appeared to have been pulled off of the fence and trampled.  It turns out it was done by city staff. As was the severe cut back in May.  Supposedly the person who did the job in July was not supposed to cut it back so severely – to just stumps.  It appears most will survive, but maybe not all.
      • It seems this repeated whacking was in response to complaints by somebody involved with POOCH that grapes can be toxic to dogs.  Some research by a city staffer found that if a dog is fed large amounts of grapes it may suffer kidney failure.   Ignoring the fact that dogs are highly unlikely to eat any grapes on their own, much less spend their time at the dog park grazing on them.
      • Councilman Haderlein and his field rep Rhonda Stone have pursued this with city staff.  They have received promises that the vines will not be massacred any more, rather only carefully trimmed on the inside of the dog park fence.  City staff will also be looking into whether some kind of separate trellis can be installed for the vines to grow on as much as they like.
    • Pedestrian entrance
      • Decisions about relocation of the pedestrian entrance continue to await resolution of the ice rink construction route and agreements with Edison.
      • Meanwhile the current temporary path continues to deteriorate badly.   Deep ruts and cliffs prevent use by the usual assistive wheeled devices such as strollers, walkers, wheelchairs.
      • The proposed ice rink building would literally be on top of the current temporary path, so it has to be moved prior to construction.
      • A construction through the park would greatly complicate locating and using a path during construction of the rinks.
      • Edison is again indicating that the wires are too low for direct pedestrian access into the south-east corner of the park from Avocado near Las Lunas.   They have indicated some agreeability to raising the wires as part of the wind farm transmission upgrade project that will add another circuit, but that is still several years away.
      • Two alternatives have been discussed for an interim access from Avocado near Las Lunas.
        • One would turn north immediately on this side of the wires entering the park where the white fence currently crosses under the wires.   The primary issue with this is security – visibility onto the path from the park and neighborhood.  The current opaque white fence prevents visibility from the park and much of the path would be behind the backyards of the houses on Avocado and therefore not readily visible to the neighborhood either.   Any fencing would need to not block visibility.  The fence that goes along the backyards through the park would be extended to Las Lunas.   A question arises as to whether such a path would be wide enough to not be claustrophobic and avoid the penned in feeling of the current path through the PCC lot.
        • Another alternative that has been discussed is to put some kind of protective structure over and around a path going directly under the wires to the park.  This seems much more vague and unlikely.
      • The only other interim access alternative would be to come in off Avocado somewhere south of where the wires are high enough again – likely south of Del Vina.  But anything this far south would have conflicts with use of that area for construction staging of the ice rink project.
    • Over watering
      • The park is indeed over watered in many areas resulting in standing water for hours around the rocks near the restroom, paths with deep slippery mud on the east side, run off through the parking lot and out the pedestrian entrance further damaging the path.
      • No responses have been received
    • Dog issues
      • The Pasadena Humane Society has promised to try to do better and to come if called. They have lots of territory to cover.
    • Parks staff
      • The head of the Parks and Rec department, and Todd Holmes, the landscape architect, have left the city.
  • Ice Rink pedestrian entrance?
    • The question is whether our neighborhood wants to have a separate pedestrian entrance for the ice rink if the park pedestrian entrance is moved so it goes directly to the park.  Presumably such a pedestrian entrance for the ice rink would be at Alameda where the current park pedestrian entrance is.
    • Consensus so far is that we do not want a second pedestrian entrance for the ice rink.  That access via the park pedestrian entrance to the park and then to the rinks would be sufficient for the relatively infrequent neighborhood pedestrian usage of the rinks.  That will allow focus on only one entrance for issues that arise due to unintended usage.
  • Street robbery
    • On Tuesday July 15 around noon there was an incident on Del Vina east of Santa Paula.
    • A man walking one way on Del Vina claimed to have been robbed of his wallet at gunpoint by a man walking in the opposite direction.
    • The victim did not apparently have any reason for being where he was and the officer seemed skeptical of his story.  The alleged assailant had been observed walking down the street by others, but the robbery was not.
    • Although 911 was called and police responded very quickly, the alleged assailant was not found.
  • Attempted burglary
    • On July 24, corner Avocado and Las Lunas, attempted break-in.  Appeared to have used car dent puller type of device on deadbolt.  Unsuccessful.
  • Water Shortage Plan II
    • The city is preparing to implement mandatory water usage restrictions.  Apparently the current voluntary plan isn’t coming anywhere near meeting even the 10% reduction goal.
    • On Monday’s Council Agenda item 5D1 contains a recommendation to adjust the current ordinances.
    • The change with the most potential to affect us is changing the landscape watering restriction from the current 10 am to 5 pm to no watering from 8 am to 7 pm.   For those with automated systems this shouldn’t matter, but for those who don’t this will force doing so in the dark in the fall.  It may also backfire with more people forgetting/falling asleep and leaving the sprinkler going.
    • They are also to talk about setting a hearing to discuss penalty fines.
  • 212 condo development on SE corner of Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill
    • Design Commission concept review hearing now scheduled for August 25, 2008
    • Described as “New construction of a four-story, 212-unit residential component (with two levels of subterranean parking) and adaptive use of a portion of the former Stuart Pharmaceutical Building as a 350-seat live theater.”
  • Urgent Care Center
    • On Monday’s Council Agenda is an item for the council to approve spending an initial half million dollars for design work on an Urgent Care Center at 3160 East Del Mar Blvd.  This is a parcel of land that the city already owns.  It is east of Eaton Blanch Park, west of the Edison right of way, south of the intersection with Kinneloa.
    • First phase of the project is renovating the existing 10,092 sq ft building to accommodate an Urgent Care Center to be operated by the Huntington Medical Foundation and CHAP (Community Health Alliance of Pasadena).  This phase is expected to cost $3.75 million.
    • Second phase of the project is building new buildings for a  public safety training facility and a fire training center.  This is expected to cost another $7.35 million.
    • The adjacent neighborhoods have opposed the Urgent Care Center usage, primarily due to traffic concerns, but have been ignored.  The city identified the site because they were looking for a place in East Pasadena and already owning the parcel saves a lot of cost.
  • Mt Wilson toll road repair
    • the toll road starts at Eaton Canyon and goes to Henninger Flats and on to Mt. Wilson
    • In the early part of last century it was used by regular people in passenger cars which paid a toll
    • Since 1940, vehicle use has been primarily by the county consolidated fire protection district.  But hiking and bike use was heavy until it was blocked.
    • Damaged in 9 locations by heavy rain in winter 2004-2005.
    • Four of the slide locations are within Pasadena
    • City has two grants for repairs from FEMA totaling just under $1.5 million
    • City is turning grant money over to fire protection district to make the repairs
    •  repair work hoped to begin October 1, 2008, but FEMA has to approve the repair work plan first
  • East Pasadena Post Office
    • As of today, August 9, the Postal Service is moving all the delivery operations (where the carriers sort their mail and come and go from) from our local office on east Colorado to the office across town on Lincoln.
    • The change is supposed to be transparent to customers.  Carriers and their routes are unchanged.
    • Apparently they have extra space on Lincoln because they moved all the mail processing to Santa Clarita a while back.
    • Their press release says gas is costing a lot more now and this will save money by being more efficient.  (Have to wonder if they factored in all the delivery vehicles having to go back and forth across town.)
    • The office on Colorado will remain open for now providing retail and P.O. box service for the 91107 area code.  They are looking for a smaller location in the area to move those services to.
  • Bowling Alley
    • Conditional Use Permit hearing on August 20 at 6 pm at the Permit Center hearing room.
    • “Bahama Lanes” is to be renamed “300 Pasadena”.
    • Proposing to
      • Wall off 6 lanes to create a bowling area for special events, reduce the total number of lanes from 32 to 31, remove interior walls from restaurant and bar area.
      • Replace the current 22 ft sign on Foothill with an eight foot monument sign.
    • Requesting CUPs to
      • Modify the interior space
      • Cover alcohol sales as they already are (a CUP wasn’t needed back when they were instituted but because of the interior wall changes they have to conform to new codes).
      • Cover shared parking agreements they have long had with adjacent businesses
      • Sign exception (because it is the third freestanding sign on the property where only one is allowed.  The others are for other businesses.)
      • Sign exception to be closer to the driveway then the now normally required 10 feet.
  • Marathon
    • The course for the 5K and Community Run/Walk uses the first 2.5 K of all the other courses.  It starts at PCC on Colorado, goes south on Hill to Del Mar, west on Del Mar to Wilson, south on Wilson to California, west on California to Lake, south on Lake a short distance, then turns around and returns the way it came, finishing at PCC.
  • Parking Enforcement
    • The city ended up rejecting all bids for a new parking enforcement contract and extended its contract with the previous contractor for another year to allow time to better work out the city’s requirements, rebid the contract, and provide time for a potential new contractor to get up to speed.
  • Household Hazardous and E-Waste collection on August 16
    • 9 am – 3 pm,  Gate 6, Santa Anita racetrack parking lot, Arcadia
    • 9 am – 2 pm, Mariposa Parking Lot, Mariposa Ave. just west of Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • What people go to Avocado to do and the messes they leave behind.  Ideas for discouraging that behavior.
    • Parking lot of former Pacific Theater now completely fenced off.  Why?  No news of any development plans.  Can only speculate its because there were lots of problems with vandalism and vagrants and perhaps they got liability concerns when they realized how it was used as a shortcut by so many people.  Wondering how adjacent office building that officially used that lot as part of its required parking is being accomodated now.
    • Why Kaiser put sign on their new building and then covered it up?  Speculation was that they were afraid people would see the sign and come there for services before it opens.  Why the parking lot there was full recently even though not open yet?  Don’t know.  Maybe employee familiarization.

Next meeting is September 13, 2008.

Adjourned about 12:30 pm