April 14, 2012 Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


6 members


Susan brought cookies


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:20 am

  • Soccer fields proposed for south of dog park
    • The City is investigating the logistics and cost of putting soccer fields for youth recreation in the area south of the dog park.  The area is city owned land (where the ice rinks were formerly proposed), plus land under the Edison wires.
    • Council member Gene Masuda invited the Presidents of our Association and Daisy Villa (other side of the wash) to a meeting with him and City Manager Michael Beck in mid-March to discuss this subject.  Council member Masuda said he’d just learned about it the prior week.
    • This area is now being considered because a well developed plan to put youth soccer fields on County Flood Control land on the north side of Sierra Madre Blvd fell through recently after the Flood Control District determined that they need to expand the adjacent flood control basin and therefore that location can’t be made available.
    • There was already millions in funding available for use at that location which would be used on this location instead.  Those funds include a large county grant and developer fees for recreation improvements paid to the city for developments in East Pasadena.  Those fees must be spent in East Pasadena within five years of payment or be returned to the developers.
    • In looking around for an alternative site, of course the area south of the dog park popped up.  It is vacant.  It is substantially city owned land zoned for open space and dedicated parkland.  It is not directly adjacent to homes (although the backyards of homes across the wash on Eaton Drive are not really very far away).
    • At the time of the meeting with Mr Beck, the City had only done a very quick analysis of the possibility.  Edison had not been approached yet, but Edison has recently told the City that it intends to cooperate much better in management of its right-of-way land holdings.  A brief discussion with the PCC President was positive in nature and indicated there might be interest in some kind of joint use.
    • The quick analysis the city had done showed that fitting a full regulation field on the widest portion of the city land (southern end, just north of the water well) would require the field to lap over onto some of the Edison land.  The relatively flat portion of the city property is just not wide enough.  The oak trees and the slope down to the west cannot be used.
    • The very preliminary idea as of mid-March was to:
      • Put one AYSO regulation field at the south end.
      • One smaller practice field to the north of the regulation field.
      • A small building for storage and restrooms to the north of the smaller field.
      • Neither field would have spectator seating.  Parents wanting to sit would need to bring their own chairs.
      • Both fields would be artificial turf.
      • Because the fields would be artificial turf, the area would have to be fenced off and a monitor to enforce the rules would have to be present whenever the fields are open for use.
      • Hours would be limited, but there would be lights because of the early darkness in the winter months.  Claim is that modern lighting is smaller in size and focused down really well and would not light up the sky or shine into neighbors.  Automatic / remote controlled timers would turn them off.
      • Parking would be on the Edison land between the soccer fields and Avocado Ave.  It would have to be kept away from the base of the towers and out of the “too low wires” area.
        • The rough drawing the City Manager had given Mr Masuda showed one parking lot right up against the avocado frontage with a large gap between it and the larger soccer field.  The reason for this was questioned; Mr Beck didn’t know the answer.  It was suggested that it be moved closer to the field and away from Avocado, and some kind of hedge or other vehicle height screen between it and Avocado would be highly desirable.
        • The rough drawing showed a second parking lot north east of the soccer fields, under the west rank of wires, avoiding the too low area under the east rank of wires.
        • Because there are up to 18 players per team and two teams playing and two leaving or arriving, enough parking to accommodate 72 players plus coaches is needed.  That’s a lot of parking.  It was also suggested that if there is pedestrian access between it and the dog park it will inevitably also be used by dog park users at busy times.
      • Vehicle access would be primarily from Foothill through the PCC parking lot, with the PCC lot possibly reconfigured to provide a straighter route.
      • Vehicle access might also be provided through Viña Vieja park.  If so, a signal might be put in on Orange Grove, which we were told the Canyon Wash neighbors have already been requesting for the park entrance.
      • The city understands that there must be no vehicle access through our neighborhood.
    • Time frames indicated were a year to a year and a half of planning and then another year to make it happen.
    • Questions yet to be answered included:
      • Whether the soccer fields could logistically extend under the Edison wires, including required lighting and fencing.
      • Cost to access the needed water, power, sewer (all much less then were needed for ice rinks, but still needed).
      • Edison’s requirements for agreement.
      • PCC’s requirements for an access route.
      • Costs vs. available funding.
    • Additional questions?  Feedback?
      • From meeting:
        • Could be a positive for neighborhood if it meant landscaping and maintenance of what is currently giant weed patch.
        • Particularly if start early on weekend mornings, the piercing noise of whistles could be disturbing to nearby residents.
        • Fields likely would be marked for multi-purpose use, not just soccer.  Lacrosse is becoming very popular.
        • Why not put a golf driving range on that land?  Long and skinny.
  • Kaiser parking structure permit hearing results
    • As discussed at last month’s meeting, the hearing for Kaiser’s parking structure plan took place on April 4.
      • Planning staff report on the permit request.
      • The meeting room was packed with people there for other hearings, so much so that the Kaiser representatives were standing in the only aisle and there was no room for them to display their drawings.
      • There was little controversy, but some confusion by the hearing officer who somehow seemed to have been given and studied an out of date proposal instead of the official documents.
      • The biggest discussion was about a circular car/truck loop at the south end of the surface parking area.  City planning staff recommended eliminating that in favor of more landscape area.  Kaiser protested that they were already well over the landscape amount required by ordinance and that the turnaround is needed to meet fire department requirements and also for trash trucks to access the bins that would be there.  City staff admitted they had not checked what the fire department might require.  The hearing officer felt that the requirement should be able to be met by a hammerhead rather then the proposed loop and put that in the conditions.
      • Other then that plan change, the requested permits and variances were granted.
    • The question of whether parking would be free was raised.  Kaiser representatives stated that the parking would be free and there would be no provisions (gates, etc) to allow for it to be paid parking.
    • The initial study and planning staff report provided some additional information.
      • Three phases
        1. Construction of parking garage and conversion of over 34,000 square feet of currently vacant office space to medical use.
        2. Conversion of an additional 34,000 square feet of office space.  Expected in 2014.
        3. Conversion of remaining 22,000 square feet of office space by 2019.
      • Construction of parking garage to start July 2012 and be complete Feb 2013
      • Demolition of part of existing parking lot and grading to take 3 months.
      • Construction of structure to take 5 months.  Expected to involved on bore/drill rig, one small deck crane, paving equipment, forklifts, tractor/loader/backhoe.
      • Expect 950 yards of soil and concrete to be exported.
      • All office tenants (as opposed to medical staff) will be required to shuttle to off-site parking. This is supposed to reduce the amount of shuttle traffic.
      • Traffic study projected a 3.1% increase in average daily traffic for the street segment of Sierra Madre Villa north of Foothill due to the shuttling.
      • The traffic study looked at 15 intersections and determined none would experience what is considered a significant impact.
  • Windstorm “after action” report issued
    • April 16 City Council agenda includes report on costs of windstorm, proposed funding, and how to do better in future.  It can be accessed here:
      http://www.cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2012 agendas/Apr_16_12/AR 16.pdf
    • Provides another summary of the damages and city’s response.
    • Not really anything new in it, other then some detail of how the city staff is recommending the city expenses be covered.
    • Lessons learned section:
      • Proposal to create a 311 Call Center to have a centralized number for the public to call to request service and/or get information.  The phone system technology would help coordinate the answering staff and reduce busy signals.  Hold time messages could provide information that would reduce the need for callers to wait to talk to a person.  The software the center would use would also keep track of calls, so callers would presumably be less frustrated by being told there is no record of previous calls.
      • Pasadena Water and Power to put more priority on getting an Outage Management System.  Have been putting it off for many years. Now intend to fund it in fiscal 2013 Capital Improvement Program.
      • Communication with residents without power.  The proposed solution here is “utilization of ‘on the ground communications’ through established neighborhood groups such as Neighborhood Watch, Neighborhood Connections, Pasadena Emergency Response Team trained volunteers and the Pasadena Police Department volunteers will help assess damage and get information to households. The neighborhood organizations could organize their members to go door to door to share important information with residents and make sure they are safe. Additionally, coordinating with the United States Postal Service to get information out along their designated routes could be a valuable solution for prolonged events.”
        • The USPS idea is new and potentially useful – for those stuck in the neighborhood that was the only communication with the outside world that did continue throughout the electronic breakdown.
        • The neighborhood organizations can only share information from outside the neighborhood if they have access to that information.  Absolutely cannot rely on electronic communications.
        • Use of NIXLE and PLEAS alert systems is emphasized.
          • The report claims NIXLE was an effective way to distribute information, but looking back on it, it seemed to not have much timely useful information and it was of no use to those without electronic communications.  Further NIXLE is ordinarily so full of public relations and lengthy totally non emergency communications (Sheriff’s dept is primary offender).  Would be totally undesirable and costly to be having that going to an emergency use cell phone, and useless to those limited to SMS length messages.
          • Don’t think PLEAS, the reverse 911 calling system, was used for the windstorm.  Don’t know that there is any real experience with true emergency use.  Since it is designed to keep trying until receipt of a message is acknowledged, it might be overwhelmed by multiple messages or too many recipients.
  • Refuse Rate increase
    • Included is an increase of refuse collection rates to cover $3.6 million of the Public Works expenses attributed to refuse collection, in addition to raising them because they were already not covering costs.
    • A public hearing will be scheduled for June 4.  Notices are to be sent by April 20 to each billing address and parcel owner.  Unless a majority of parcel holders object in writing by the time of the hearing, the increase can take place.
    • The proposed increase is just under 10%, starting June 5.
    • Also proposing to get authorization to adjust rates automatically (without hearing and notices) for the next five years to account for inflation and landfill cost increases
    • For more detailed info, see the city staff report:
      http://www.cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2012 agendas/Apr_16_12/AR 17.pdf
  • Local crime summary
    • From crimemapping.com:
      • Friday March 23, 6:36 pm, Burglary, 400 block of Mercury Lane
      • Monday April 9, 2:27 pm, Petty Theft, 400 block of Avocado Ave
      • Upper Hastings has had a rash of burglaries in the past month
  • Used Book Sale at Hastings Branch Library, Sat April 28, 11 am to 3 pm
    • All kinds of books, either donated or removed from the library’s collection
    • Go early for best selection, or late for lowest price
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Local Developments
      • Hook Burger, across from Fire Station, now open. This is on northeast corner of Foothill and Halstead. Member who tried it out said food was fine, but it’s kind of expensive
      • Member noted a sold sign on building that formerly housed the “Gentleman’s Club” and before that a Charlie Brown’s. Antique store had leased it and tried to open there last holiday season but they never could open because it was ruled the building first had to be retrofitted with a full sprinkler system.
      • Haven’t heard anything about former Pacific Hastings Theater.
      • City didn’t have any knowledge, or control over, PCC-CEC classroom trailer development. PCC is separate government entity that does not need to get permits from city.

Next meeting is May 12, 2012, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library

Adjourned about 12:45 pm