September 13, 2008 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder.


Susan brought some cookies.


5 members


Agenda Items:

  • Ice Rink  – Design Commission Hearing Summary
  • Edison land weeds
  • Viña Vieja Park update
  • Wrongdoer Confrontation
  • Water Shortage Plan II
  • Community Meeting Wed Sept 17, 6:30 pm
  • Marathon requesting volunteers
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Kaiser medical offices opening September 15
    • Pacific Hastings Theater being demolished
    • Proposed Urgent Care Center on Del Mar

The meeting began about 11:20 am

  • Ice Rink  – Design Commission Hearing Summary
    • Held Monday August 11 at Pasadena Senior Center
    • Became fairly contentious, though polite, between city staff and commissioners.  Commissioners knew they were getting an end-run.
    • Staffer summarized report
    • City planner
      • Mentioned surroundings, except only Edison to East, not our neighborhood
      • Discussion of access through PCC parking lot.
        • Commissioner questioned exact route, impact on existing spaces, safety of cars backing from spaces into through-way.
        • Planner said cannot bring specifics of access until have signed agreement with PCC.   But he did say they were looking at eliminating the “guard shack” and realigning things so the route would be less angular.
      • Commission asked many questions about traffic circulation, practicalities of drop-off and pickup.
        • City planner could/would not give details.
          • First tried to tell Commission the area is outside of the project and therefore not in the purview of the Design Commission.  Claimed the access road is “off-site civil work”, to be done by a city engineer and therefore only requires normal city staff review.
          • Claimed the project had been to the Planning Commission (it never was).  When asked when, he ventured maybe 2005 and that there was a “consistency finding”.
          • Another tact he took is that the agreement with Edison is still under negotiation and until that agreement is final it isn’t appropriate to show the public how it will be used.
        • Said that next to building the easement from Edison would be at least 24′ for the access road but also mentioned the entire parcel is under negotiation.
        • Commissioner asked about allowing circling around at south-east corner of the building for drop-off.  Planner answered that not practical because of a grade drop-off there and also must maintain distance from water well facility.
        • In later questioning about pedestrian access, planner said there are two problems to address, one of access to the park during construction and the other permanent.
          • Said thinking of covered walkway during construction – like used for sidewalks next to construction sites.
          • City is working with Edison to figure out permanent access.
          • Will have sidewalk along entire access road including through PCC.
          • Will be pedestrian access between park and ice rink parking.
      • Commissioner asked about landscaping on east side.  “Straight thru shot to residences”.
        • Answer was the concept of the agreement is to allow use for landscaping, but lots of restrictions due to wires.  Said there will be a fence blocking access from ice rink to weed/shrub area.   (Planner has mentioned in past that can’t have any trees due to wires, but that flies in the face of what is on the east side of the park where they have planted trees between the rows of wires.)
        • In later questioning about this, the City Planner stated that “the city has committed in writing that there will be some landscape screening along Avocado.”  (Didn’t say where, never seen it).  And “have budgeted that”.  Said expects to have plan in about 2 months for that landscaping.
    • Architect question & answer
      • Lots of discussion of use of material called “polygal”.  Described as neither opaque nor transparent – lets in filtered light.  The “glow of light” from panels at night described as making an “interesting pattern”.   One commissioner particularly concerned about its durability.  Answer was that the warranty (10 years) is the same as the previously proposed CalWall.  Polygal is thinner and lighter and less expensive.  Also newer, with only 5 years experience.  Commissioner concerned may turn yellow.  Concerned trading upfront cost for longevity.  Commission questioned sound absorbing qualities.  Architect did not have rating – guessed it should be similar because its double glazing.
      • Questioned on exterior lighting, said only exterior lighting will be glow from windows, down lighting onto sidewalk, and “plighting the tower to highlight the destination”.
      • Architect is proposing “if can afford it” that signs on north and south faces of building would be LED sign boards which could be used to advertise events, happy birthdays, etc.
      • From previous design, ice rink equipment was moved to an outer room for better ventilation.  So on the west (back) wall of the building there is a catwalk for a required second exit.
      • West wall has alternating types of concrete masonry block.  Said to be mostly screened by existing oak trees.
      • Questioned about shade for the walk from the parking lot to the building entrance.  Answer was that there would be some shade under the block windows that stick out.  Would be benches under those windows (which of course means the shade wouldn’t be available for walking).  In spite of what one rendering has shown, there would be no trees.  One commissioner described the little planting patches as looking like “weed patches”.
      • Questions on landscaping.  Supposed to be native plant palette, so why are sprinkler heads shown instead of bubblers?  Could not answer some landscaping questions because landscape architect wasn’t present.  Planner said they would make sure landscape architect “goes in that direction”.
      • Commissioners asked about energy usage.
        • Statement made that solar power is not efficient, but the proposed skylights are.
        • Skylights have deep boxes, like a light tube.  Used at Valencia ice station and work well.
        • Is a “cool roof”, ie. reflective.
        • Having trouble figuring out how to insulate west wall.  Will have to do it on the inside.
    • Public commenters asked about
      • pedestrian access to facility
      • sign that says PASADENA ICE bothersome due to government acronym ICE.
      • total absence of plans for access road and landscaping to east of rink and/or along Avocado Ave
    • Commission questioned why this was being brought to the commission at this time given all the incomplete information – nothing about the east side, nothing about the PCC route, nothing about traffic circulation.  Wanted it to come back to commission when complete
      • Planner said does not expect to come back to commission with any of the additional work for the areas east of the building.  Will only come back if the City Council requests it.
      • Quite a bit of round-about.   Commission chair felt the commission should not take a position and just continue the hearing until the additional info is produced.  No city attorney present to advice if that could be done.
      • Planner said the information is “not material”.  Is part of entitlement process.
      • Planner again stated that it is in writing to do work on Avocado.  (it’s not)
      • Said terms of agreement are essentially in place for PCC and Edison.  Did not believe he could tie access plan to the project to justify bringing it back to the commission.  It would be “part of the public improvement process.” “Better to do it as part of construction.”
      • Questioned about transportation access and drop off, city staffer told the commission that is outside their purview.
      • Planner said plan has been submitted to a LEED planner.  It is part of the permit package (not accessible to public).  Claimed all the things commission asking for already part of CUP.
      • Ended up with Commission requesting that Council send the project back for review of the missing pieces when they are ready.  Of course, that won’t happen because staff doesn’t want it to happen.  The Council will not be presented with the Commission’s findings including the request until it is being asked to approve everything, including the construction bid.  There is no way at that point that the Council would cause any further delay by sending it back to the Design Commission.  So chances are that the plans for the east side PCC and Edison properties will never be held to public scrutiny.
    • Final vote was 5-1 to pass findings to Council, including request that it come back to Commission.  Commission chair was dissenter.
  • Ice Rink Construction Route
    • No information received regarding result of talks with PCC.
  • Edison land weeds
    • Weeds were finally cut down in late August.
  • Viña Vieja Park update
    • Grapevines
      •  A second fence was erected about 8 to 10 feet inside the north boundary of the off leash dog area.  The grape vines are vigorously growing again including well into that buffer zone.  Have not heard anything from the city regarding how they plan to manage it.
  • Wrongdoer Confrontation
    •  On August 18 a man was seen by a resident throwing trash out of his car onto Avocado Ave.  This man had been parking his car in that area and walking to/from somewhere else.   The resident later followed the man and discovered he apparently lives a couple blocks away from where he had been leaving his car.  When the resident confronted him about throwing the trash, the man yelled, cussed, and pulled a gun from his waistband and pointed it at him.  The resident retreated home and called 911.  As he waited for the police response, the miscreant came there and threatened the resident before getting in his car and leaving.  The police later found and arrested him.
    • Moral of this story is keep alert, observe, take notes/pictures, notify the police or other authorities.  But be really careful about confronting people.  You may think the situation in straightforward but you just can’t know what their state of mind is.
  • Water Shortage Plan II
    • The City Council was supposed to be presented with a fine schedule at it’s September 8 meeting, but it was not on the agenda then or the 15th.  So apparently there is some delay.
    • Plan II is mandatory restrictions on watering activities.
      • Such as no landscape watering from 8 am to 7 pm (yes, if you water by hand you may be required to do it in the dark this fall), no hosing off pavement, watering no more frequently then every 3 days (doubt the city would make the effort to watch residents closely enough to enforce this one).
      • Supposedly the compliance officers will have discretion as to whether to fine – for example if a watering system is actively being repaired/worked on during the day they shouldn’t issue a fine.  There is also supposed to be an appeals process in place.
    • Plan II does not include mandatory reductions in water usage as compared with usage in 2006.  That would be Plan III.   City officials told the Council that if they get to that they will expect to have lots of appeals due to changes in household situations and would expect to also provide for users to request a different baseline in advance based on changed circumstance.
  • Community Meeting Wed Sept 17, 6:30 pm
    • Council member Haderlein is sponsoring a community meeting jointly with Council member McAustin
    • Wed Sept 17, 6:30 – 8 pm at Webster Elementary School Auditorium, 2101 E. Washington Blvd
    • Agenda items are
      • Explanation of the AT&T U-Verse service that is starting to be installed and the agreement the city has with AT&T regarding the parkway cabinets and other publicly placed equipment
      • Water Shortage Plan II.  The coming mandatory restrictions on water usage.  PWP may also be giving out conservation kits – they have done so in past such meetings.
  • Marathon requesting volunteers
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Kaiser medical offices opening Sept 15
      • Southwest corner of Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill
    • Pacific Hastings Theater being demolished
      • Star-News article on Sept 13 about the Pacific Hastings Theater being demolished.
      • Done by “Human Wrecking Balls”; filmed for a TV show.
      • No word of any application to city for what will replace it although the article says it is being demolished to make way for a “planned shopping development”.
    • Proposed Urgent Care center on Del Mar
      • Just east of intersection with Kinneloa, between Eaton Blanch Park and the Edison power lines
      • Site is what old timers may remember as the Girls Club (west of where Boys & Girls club is now)
      • Joint project between city, city health department, Huntington Hospital.
      • City Council approved funding for architect to draw plans for modifications to buildings
      • City Council received additional information about why this site is considered best.

Next meeting is October 11, 2008.

Adjourned about 12:30 pm