November 14, 2009 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder was sent and some phone calls were made


Susan brought a couple varieties of quick bread.  Several people brought fruit for distribution.


8 members


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:20 am

  • Park – new pedestrian path
    • New park pedestrian path between Avocado at Las Lunas and south east corner of park is finally open.
    • City had a lot of problems getting itself coordinated on opening and closing the gates.  Hopefully that is now resolved.
    • Park maintenance workers are supposed to open gates in the morning.  Security contractor Intercon is supposed to close them at night.
    • There is a sign (currently temporary version) on the gate with phone numbers to call if the gates are not unlocked or locked appropriately.
  • Alameda traffic, dump trucks, speed humps
    • In mid September there was a traffic count taken on Alameda between Mercury Lane and Santa Paula.  A resident of the street requested speed humps.
    • The City sent out a ballot in October to houses on Alameda, including corner houses with an address on an intersecting street, asking whether they are in favor or opposed to having speed humps on the street.
    • In order to be approved, the city needs a yes response from two thirds of the households.  Not voting has the same effect as voting no.
    • At the beginning of this past week there were 16 addresses which had not returned ballots out of about 33? potential votes.   8 more yes votes were needed to approve humps.
    • The city was going to send out a second ballot this past week to the houses that had not yet voted
      (Alameda addresses: 3139, 3143, 3140, 3182, 3190, 3192, 3196, 3198, 3210, 3212, 3214, 3234
      Santa Paula addresses: 401, 415, 416
      Mercury lane address: 415)
    • Unknown to whom the city is addressing the ballots.  Could be based on PWP bills or assessor listed owner or occupant.
    • The dump trucks stopped running through our neighborhood two to three weeks ago.  What a relief!  However, we do not know if this is permanent or just a temporary reprieve.  We know Pasadena Water & Power promised to work on doing something about it, but we also know residents made additional complaint efforts, including one speaking and sending pictures to the head of the city’s traffic division questioning the lack of permits and environmental study for the dirt dumping and sifting activity.
  • Ice Rink decision follow-on
    • On October 12, the Build the Rink petition was presented to the City Council during public comment and requested Councilmember Gordo’s response.  He punted to the City Manager, who said if someone brings another proposal forward with reduced financial risk they would bring it to the Council.  Gordo said a revote would not accomplish anything because Polar Ice has indicated it is not currently willing/able to continue along the lines the Council indicated it wanted.  Councilmember Madison then spoke and said he only recently learned that the soil conditions of this site add a big chunk of the cost, so staff should be looking around at other sites around the city.  (Apparently Madison didn’t bother to read staff reports or listen to staff presentations over the past several years).
    • Dr. Jeanette Mann of the PCC Board of Trustees reportedly said on October 13  that PCC has never signed an agreement for an easement to provide the City with access to the ice rink site.  Discussions were still underway, but she did not believe the city was willing to accept the terms PCC would require.  She said PCC does not want a rink in that location and she personally as a resident and taxpayer believes it would be a waste of money.
  • Rusnak redevelopment of former Chrysler dealership
    • 2965 E. Colorado Blvd.
    • Remodel of existing building and creation of two huge new buildings for a total of three dealerships and a corporate office.
    • Pre plan review at City Council’s October 19 meeting, postponed until October 26 meeting.
  • Development update for SE corner Foothill and Sierra Madre Villa
    • October 26 there was a 50% design review for the reuse of the western end of the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical building by changing it into a live theater to be used by the company A Noise Within.
    • In the staff report, it says that the 212 unit condominium project that was to be right on the corner has been separated from the theater project and will not proceed (for now anyway).
    • As a result of that, the theater project will no longer to be required to provide an access path from the light rail station building to Foothill, since that path was to be on the condo project parcel, and the theater project doesn’t control that.  The design and control of that path, required by the City Council when they approved the overall project, had been a major sticking point in previous Design Commission discussions.  It was considered problematic for the condo project from a security standpoint.  Now they’ve gotten rid of the issue.
  • Hastings Branch Library planting beds project
    • On November 21 there will be a community service project to redo the flower beds in front of Hastings Branch library.
    • 8 – 11 am or any portion thereof.
    • Bring gloves, and tools (if you have them).
    • If you expect to go, it is requested that you let Rhonda Stone know 626 744-4740 or [email protected] .  But you are invited even if you only decide to go at the last minute.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Street trees on Sierra Madre Villa, Rosemead, Halstead
      • At a meeting at Victory Park on October 19, the Urban Forestry Commission discussed the current master street tree plan designation of Southern Magnoilia on lower Sierra Madre Villa and Halstead, and Liquid Amber on Rosemead.
      • When asked why other local streets with Liquid Amber, such as the higher portion of Sierra Madre Villa or Santa Paula, were not being discussed, the answer was that the Council had only directed looking at “business district” streets so they were limiting it to portions of streets within the East Pasadena Specific Plan.
      • When asked why Electronic Drive, which is also Southern Magnolia was not included, they said the street isn’t on the street tree list.  Maybe it is just not on the specific plan list (although it is entirely surrounded by specific plan area). The city staff did not acknowledge existence of the street.
      • The main concerns with the Liquid Amber tree are its seed pods and need for lots of space.
        • The few meeting attendees who voiced issues noted how dangerous the seed pods can be and that there are some places were they do not get cleaned up.  City forestry staff said they should be told when adjacent land holders are not cleaning them up and they can work with code compliance on remedying that.  Forestry staff noted that all trees have some issues and they didn’t feel this was severe enough to condemn the tree type.
        • There was some discussion of how designating a very different tree might look since the existing trees could easily be expected to live another 100 years, being only about 50 to 60 years old now.  No healthy trees would be removed except for very specific development issues.
        • Discussion of “carbon footprint” being high in part because the trees go dormant in the winter.  Was noted that along Rosemead that is nice because it allows the many private trees behind to be seen.
        • There was mention of using no-fruiting sprays.  Staff said those badly stress trees so the city won’t use them.
        • However, it was noted that there is a different cultivar of liquid amber which is non-fruiting.  So it would not have seed pods.  Forestry staff said this cultivar has already been used in new street tree plantings adjacent to the “bank building”.  The leaves reportedly are rounder and turn purple in the fall.  It was suggested that rather then change the tree designation, forestry staff could have a policy of preferring this cultivar.
        • There was some discussion of how forestry staff would insure future staff would understand the importance of using that cultivar if it isn’t specifically called out on the master street tree plan.  Staff talked about their new database of trees which allows them to put lots more information in.
        • Discussing the space requirements of the trees, forestry staff said Rosemead is the one street in the city where there is enough room for them due to the wide parkways.  It was noted the trees seem to like it there, that some are over 100′ tall even though the tree book gives a shorter maximum height.
        • Commission agreed to recommend leaving Liquid Amber as designated tree, but using this non-fruiting cultivar.
      • The main concern with the Southern Magnolia is its need for lots of water. They cannot survive without additional water in the non-rain months.
        • One commissioner noted that the trees on the residential side of Sierra Madre Villa do not appear to be doing a well as those on the commercial side.  He/she attributed this to the likelihood that residents are more likely to restrict their water use.  (Actually, a historical factor that did not come up is that until 14 years ago when they were undergrounded the power lines ran above the trees on the west side of the street, requiring them to be cut back a lot more then those on the east side.)
        • Staff noted that they have started using a different cultivar of Magnolia called “Little Gem” as trees are replaced.  Apparently some of these have already been used on Halstead near the train station.  This cultivar reportedly only grows to 20 feet tall, but is more drought tolerant.
        • Commission agreed to recommend leaving Magnolia as the designated tree but using this other cultivar.
    • Burglaries
      • There continue to be more burglaries then normal in east Pasadena.
      • In our neighborhood there was one at a house on the corner of Estado and Santa Paula on October 14 between noon and 3:30 pm. Thieves entered through a bedroom window and took a large value of items.
      • This is another reminder to lock up and keep an eye out.  Call the police about any suspicious activity.
    • Sierra Madre Villa Traffic
      • It was noted that there has been a significant increase in traffic on Sierra Madre Villa since the Nordstrom’s Rack opened in the shopping center.
      • Questioned whether there was any way to require them to put in for the future signal at Electronic Drive that has been awaiting fees or mitigation requirements generated by future anticipated development of the former Allstate property that is now Cogent property.
      • Since the Nordstrom Rack just reused the existing building and replaced another retail business it didn’t require special development fees or traffic mitigation measures.

Next meeting is December 12, 2009, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library

Adjourned about 12:30 pm?