October 15, 2016 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


7 members


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:25 am

  • Change in Vector (such as mosquitoes) Control for Pasadena?
    • City staff recommended to the City Council at their September 24 meeting that Pasadena join the San Gabriel Valley Vector Control District.
    • This would replace the current situation where Pasadena has just 40% of the time of a technician in the Health Dept. Mostly that time is used check conditions when someone happens to report a pool or puddle that needs it. They can spray larvacide but not adult insecticide. There is no proactive monitoring and no educational outreach.
    • If the Council approved this recommendation, it would:
      • Dramatically increase the vector monitoring and control services available in Pasadena. This may be especially important because the asian-origin mosquito that can carry Zika, yellow fever, and other diseases is known to be spreading in the San Gabriel valley, including in Arcadia (eggs probably got a ride on imported plants).
      • Fill a hole in region wide monitoring and control.
      • Add another fee to property taxes, currently $11.28 per residential property. (Staff’s cursory evaluation was it would be far less costly then building up Pasadena’s own capabilities).
    • The City Council did not come to a decision about this. They told staff to do additional research and bring it back. They requested a cost benefit analysis and more information about alternative options.
  • Transit Oriented Development Ordinance amendment
    • The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) ordinance imposes additional regulations on the types of businesses and building styles allowed, and limits on available parking, within designated TOD areas (mostly within a radius of the Metro Gold Line stations, but also all of Pasadena’s central business area).
    • Amendments to the TOD ordinance were approved by the City Council on Monday September 19.
    • The net effect for the Sierra Madre Villa TOD zone is:
      • A small decrease in the amount of parking allowed and required for multi-family residential units less then 650 square feet in size.
      • A small increase in the amount of parking allowed and required for multi-family residential units greater then 650 square feet in size.
      • No change in the required number of parking spaces required and allowed for commercial property uses.
      • A provision to allow existing parking in excess of allowed parking to remain. This is to ease the problems for a commercial development with tenants that change over time. As long as the property isn’t redeveloped, they would not have to reduce parking to the new reduced standard just because one type of tenant leaves and another comes in.
      • Adds standards for projects seeking to exceed allowable parking, such as requiring the “excess” to be public parking.
      • Some clarification on how projects can request and obtain permission for more parking then the TOD ordinance allows.
    • Here is a link to the last of the previous reports on this subject: December 2015 meeting summary
    • The approved amendments did not include the previous proposal to prohibit establishing new vehicle equipment and repair services within TOD zones. Realistically, given land prices, there aren’t likely to be new ones anyway, but not prohibiting the usage leaves open the possibility of an owner making changes/improvements that would not have been allowed. (Existing locations would have been grandfathered in as long as they remained in continuous use in the same way). Many vehicle related uses, such as car sales and gas stations, are already prohibited in TOD zones, with existing locations grandfathered.
    • The approved amendments did not include the previously proposed flexibility in the mandatory reduction of parking for non-residential uses. So the maximum allowed parking in the Sierra Madre Villa TOD zone will continue to be less then the minimum required everywhere else by 25% for office and 10% for other. (Previously they had proposed changing it to a ranges of 0 to 25% and 0 to 10%).
    • Other approved amendments would:
      • Expand all TOD zones except Sierra Madre Villa to 1/2 mile, allowing projects between 1/4 to 1/2 mile to optionally conform to the TOD standards – benefiting by the ability to reduce their required parking and thus save a lot of money, but also being required to also follow all the other TOD requirements, which are mushier and mostly have to do with design style and type of businesses.
      • In response to lobbying to not require any parking, added flexibility for projects in all TOD zones except Sierra Madre Villa to further reduce their parking an additional 10% from the current TOD reduced required maximum and minimum.
  • Pasadena Transit Facility at former Shakey’s
    • The City’s Department of Transportation is working on a plan to build a new Pasadena Transit Operations and Maintenance Facility on a city owned parcel at 2180 E. Foothill Blvd (known to many as the former location of Shakey’s Pizza).
    • The proposed facility would “provide support services for the Pasadena Transit system fleet (30 buses) and the Pasadena Dial-A-Ride paratransit services (15 buses).
    • According to a “fact sheet”, the new location will “accommodate the transit fleet and will include inspection and repair bays, vehicle lifts, maintenance and bus wash equipment, and storage for parts and materials. Space would be provided for driver training and dispatch, customer service, and management staff. The potential to accommodate an on-site CNG fueling station may eliminate daily refueling trips to the City Yards in Northwest Pasadena.”
    • There was a community meeting about the proposal on September 20. (Did not attend). Apparently it will go to the City’s Planning and Design Commissions next. Then the City Council.
    • Background on the site:
      • After Shakey’s went out of business, the site was purchased and briefly used as a non-permitted “adult entertainment” club named “Peppermint Garden” in 2006.
      • By 2008, after much trouble, the site was purchased by the city to settle a lawsuit from the owner.
      • It was under consideration as a possible location for a parole office and police substation in late 2008.
      • It was used as a temporary location for a fire station while Station 32 was renovated (2012-13).
      • It has probably also had other temporary uses.
  • City management of Homeless population
    • There was a community meeting titled “”Managing The Homeless Population in Your Community” on September 28 at Victory Park.
    • It was hosted by the Pasadena Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Psychiatric Evaluation (HOPE) Team and the City Prosecutor’s Office
    • It seemed to be aimed at business owners, because it was described this way:
      “Join the Pasadena Police Department’s HOPE Team and local business owners in a collaborative effort to address transient issues affecting local businesses.
      Topics will include policing issues regarding transients and laws as well as assisting business owners with implementing effective strategies in dealing with transients.”
    • A couple of people who attended the meeting provided reports on nextdoor.com. According to their reports, there were about 40 attendees and some of what they were told was:
      • “Most panhandlers are not homeless nor truly in need, and in fact often have homes, cell phones, collect SSI and other benefits, and can make up to $200/hour in some locations in Pasadena. Some will get dropped of by friend or will park around the corner to panhandle, and then drive off to a new location. It is not illegal, and is called “flying a sign” and is protected free speech.”
      • “Giving directly to the panhandlers is THE major contributor to the panhandling problem. If everyone stops handing over money, they will not find this profitable and will move to an area where people are giving them money. Take home message: STOP HANDING OVER MONEY.”
      • “Homelessness and panhandling are not crimes, per se. However, there are criminal activities that are associated with these situations. If you are reporting these activities to the police, be specific. Don’t say “I saw a homeless person,” indicate “there was an aggressive panhandler blocking my access to a store” or “there is a woman with 2 kids in 100 degree weather who has been there for the last 2 hours endangering their health” or “there is someone with a stolen shopping cart on the sidewalk” or whatever the specific criminal activity is. Be specific, and be willing to leave your name and number for follow-up.”
      • “When panhandling occurs in front of businesses, let the business owner and your City Council person know you will stop doing business there until you have free and clear access to the place of business, without being accosted for money. This will catalyze the passage of ordinances to help curb the problem.”
      • “Of those that are truly homeless and in-need, about 80% are “service resistant,” or do not want to avail themselves of the numerous services in the community. Some do eventually come around, often after years of effort by these police officers. The officers gave several examples where persistence paid off, and they were able to truly “get someone off the street.””
      • “The best way to help the homeless and to not contribute to the panhandling problem is to donate to a reputable homeless shelter, such as Union Station. Union Station is not a revolving door, and indeed requires that those that are admitted must become a part of a program to get off the street permanently. By donating to these programs (or volunteering for one of the organizations that provides services), you are helping the 20% of the truly homeless that are willing to get help now, and help some of the 80% who may eventually find their way there.”
      • “It is illegal to be in Pasadena Parks past 10 pm–if you notice any activity past these hours, let the police know. “
      • “There is a 72-hour process required to get transients off public property.”
      • “Transients can call 211 for services. The 211 number is a nationwide resource and information helpline. Check out call211.org .”
      •  The best Pasadena Police Dept number to call about problems with transients is Dispatch (626-744-4241); please provide details, your name and callback number.
  • Paloma Street speed limit to be lowered to 25
    • Paloma Street’s speed limit is going to be lowered to 25 mph.
    • The City Council will vote on it at its meeting on Monday October 17.
    • City transportation staff discovered Paloma is classified by the state as a local street. As a “local street”, an engineering study is not required in order to set it’s speed limit to something lower then 55 mph.
    • Studies done previously had shown the limit on Paloma should be 30, so that is what it has been.
    • As a local street, it becomes 25 mph by default.
    • It is not clear from the staff report to the Council whether state law would allow the City to designate a higher limit for a “local street.” It also doesn’t say anything about how a street comes to be designated as local or not.
  • Urban Wildlife Community Meeting October 18
    • “Living with Urban Wildlife” Community Meeting
    • “Dealing with Coyotes, Bobcats and Bears in your backyard”
    • Sponsored by Assemblymember Chris Holden in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Councilmember Victor Gordo, Vice Mayor Gene Masuda, and Councilmember Margaret McAustin
    • “Be Aware-Fish and Wildlife experts encourage neighbors to work together to live safely with our wildlife. Find out how in this free public forum.”
    • Pasadena Humane Society, City of Pasadena Department of Public Works and City of Pasadena Police will be available to answer questions.
    • Tuesday October 18th, 6:30pm
      Longfellow Elementary School Auditorium
      1065 East Washington Blvd., Pasadena.
    • RSVP by October 14, 2016 to (626) 351-1917 or [email protected]
      It’s beyond that date now, but check anyway if you are interested
  • Utility Underground Program at Community meeting on November 17
    • As previously reported, the city is considering terminating the program under which electrical, telephone, and cable wires are put underground instead of on poles.
    • There will be presentations, and presumably question/answer, at each City Council Member’s district community meeting, which are occurring from near the end of October through the third week of November.
    • For our council district, which is district 4, the meeting apparently is scheduled for Thursday November 17. Time and place have not yet been announced. Presumably there will also be other topics and the usual raffle at that meeting.
  • City budget facing looming crises
    • Do to unfunded pension liabilities, Pasadena is forecasting budget deficits starting next year and increasing each year into the future unless the budget can be cut and/or revenues increased.
    • Over half of general revenues are spent on police and fire.
    • This report to the City Council explains where the city stands and some cuts and revenue sources being considered.
    • One of the cuts being considered is eliminating Neighborhood Connections to save money.
      • Its function is perceived to have been largely overtaken by online networking, such as NextDoor.com
      • The only service we have directly used in the past ten years is duplication of our annual printed newsletter.
      • Indirectly, in maintaining a list of Neighborhood Associations and the contact information for them, they have facilitated distribution of information for other city entities.
      • While the Police Department’s Community Relations unit has made some effort to communicate using NextDoor and Nixle, other city entities have not.
  • Used Book Sale Oct 22 @ Hastings Branch Library
    • Saturday October 22, 10 am – 2 pm
    • Hastings Branch Library, north entrance side
    • Books, and sometimes DVDs, that have been donated or removed from circulation.
    • Best selection early; buck a bag later.
    • Proceeds support Hastings Branch programs and purchases.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from crimemapping.com: (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Mon Sept 19, 12:05 pm, 3300 block E Orange Grove Blvd, Strong Armed Robbery
        (This may have been incident at library where a transient tried to steal the bicycle of a homeless guy. Victim saw it happening, ran out of the library to stop it, and they got into a fight).
      • Tues Oct 11, 8:26 am, 3200 block La Tierra St, Residential Burglary
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • New born kittens dumped next to park entrance
      • Three new born kittens were dumped on Wednesday October 12 near the park’s pedestrian entrance on Avocado Ave.
      • Only a couple days old. They were bedded down in a rather nice suitcase.
      • Could easily have not been noticed and soon died of heat, cold, starvation, coyotes, …
      • What happened to the mother? Deliberately removed from mother cat? Found while mother was away getting food and assumed to have abandoned them? Mother dumped with them and ran from that very exposed location? The answer is only known to whoever dumped them.
      • Their rescuer contacted the Humane Society, but they admitted they would likely be quickly euthanized if turned in. (It takes a lot of round-the-clock human attention to foster motherless newborns until they are weaned. There are plenty of kittens and cats already ready and waiting to be adopted. Kittens with a lactating mother are more likely kept, and the mother might be used to foster additional kittens).
      • The kitten’s rescuer quickly learned how to feed and care for them and had them checked by a vet. They are in good shape, eating and growing well so far.
      • Another neighbor and her employees have generously taken on looking after them during workdays at their small business office so the rescuer can go to work.
      • Just a reminder that the Humane Society offers low cost spay and neuter for pets, and has a no cost Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) program for stray/feral cats that are being fed but are not human friendly enough to be a pet. With the TNR program, you make an appointment to bring the cat there during a designated week. They will assist you with getting a trap, if needed. During that week you attempt to capture the cat. If you manage to get it, you bring it to the Humane Society first thing in the morning. They give it a checkup and vaccines and spay/neuter it (unless they discover it already has been). They will also “tip” an ear so it is readily identifiable as having already been neutered. You pick it up at the end of the day and return it to where it is used to living. It will live out its life without adding to the overpopulation problem, will be calmer and fight less, and may even become a pet.

Next meeting is November 12, 2016, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:40 pm