February 11, 2017 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


7 members


Susan brought delicious brownies


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:25 am

  • Annual Election of Officers at March meeting
    • Our meeting on March 11 is time for the annual election of officers.
    • Who is willing to be an officer? Current officers have agreed to serve again if no one else steps up.
    • Officer positions are:
      • President – chair meetings; officially represent the association to external parties
      • Vice President – support and act in place of President or Secretary as needed
      • Secretary – publicize meetings; record and distribute meeting minutes; maintain contact list
      • Treasurer – receive, keep safe, track, report on, and disburse Association funds.
    • So far the Association has avoided collecting any funds and doing the IRS paperwork that would make doing so legal.
    • The Secretary position has been vacant in almost all years, including this year.
  • Annual Newsletter in late February
    • Newsletter needs to be written, printed, distributed by the first week in March.
    • This timing is dictated by requirement to publicize the annual election of officers. It is the annual attempt to reach neighborhood residents who are new and/or haven’t signed up for e-mail.
    • Have not gotten a response from Neighborhood Connections as to whether they duplicate Neighborhood newsletters anymore. (That city office has been severely cut back and may be axed).
    • Sharon has volunteered not only to edit again, but to get it duplicated by her employer if needed.
    • Anyone out there want to submit an article related to our neighborhood and suitable to an annual publication? Have historic pictures? Need to submit within the next few days for possible inclusion this year. Send an e-mail.
    • Topics that will be covered include annual election of officers, Space Bank site development, Avon site potential development.
    • Will need volunteers again for distribution throughout the neighborhood in late February. Choose your block, or multiple blocks. It’s a great way to see the neighborhood more closely and sometimes meet neighbors. Send an e-mail if you’re willing to volunteer.
  • EIR contract let for 550 unit development on Space Bank site
    • On January 23, the City Council approved a contract for the consultant who will prepare the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed 550 unit development on the property currently owned by Space Bank. (South side of Foothill between Kaiser on the east and Kinneloa Ave on the west).
    • For background on this project, see previous meeting reports.
    • The contract is with Rincon Consultants for an “amount not to exceed $197,226”. This amount is to include all technical studies. The developer has to reimburse the City for the costs.
    • The city staff report about the contract says that this project is “potentially eligible to prepare a Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA) or Limited-Analysis EIR for a Transit Priority Project (TPP)”.
      These are “streamlined” options for EIRs that the state legislature created so that projects can get through the environmental review process more quickly.
    • The staff report says the first phase of work by Rincon Consultants will be to do technical studies which will determine what level of streamlining of the environmental documentation can be done. The second phase would be preparation of the document.
    • We have been told in the past that we should expect the environmental consultant to hold a Community Meeting near the beginning of the environmental review process. We have not heard anything yet.
    • Completely separately, and without attribution of the information source, we were told that the owner of the Space Bank property since he purchased it from the Navy almost 40 years ago, Mr Bob Oltman, has been cleared by the now former state Attorney General of any responsibility for contamination on the site, but that the state Bureau of Toxic Substances has not finished its investigation.
    • If anyone has questions for, or wishes to have a meeting with representatives of the developer, Trammell Crow, their public relations contact is is eager to facilitate. Send a note to eewna.
  • Avon property sold to Home Depot development group
    • The Avon property is just west of the freeway overpass on the south side of Foothill and extends all the way to Walnut Street on the south and Daisy on the west (except for the gas station and mini-mart on the corner).
    • Council member Gene Masuda sent out a note on January 26 saying that he was informed by Pasadena staff that the Home Depot development group has in fact purchased the Avon property.
    • So watch for announcements of meetings about it.
    • The City Council has to approve whatever is eventually proposed, so community input can make a difference.
    • Our December meeting summary reported on what we know about the possible development plans for the Avon site by its purchaser.
  • Panda Inn development project
    • According to an e-mail from the office of Council member Masuda, the owners of the Panda Inn are working on a proposal for their property. This includes the next door high rise “Gateway Towers” and the parking area behind it, which they bought in 2015.
    • They are reportedly in preliminary consultation with City planning staff to “demolish existing Panda Inn restaurant, construct new restaurant and 2 new residential buildings with 258 units and 4 levels of parking at the Panda Inn Building”.
    • This project on top of the Space Bank project would essentially use up the residential unit allotment for the East Pasadena Specific Plan area for the next 30 years. Except that city staff has been making the point recently that the City Council could choose to convert some of the massive amount of non-residential space allowed, essentially making the limits a total fiction.
  • Halstead development project
    • Plans for a six story 19-unit multi-family residential project at 170 N. Halstead St have been working their way through the system for a long time. This is off the east side of Halstead, behind the fire station.
    • On November 22, 2016 it was on the Design Commission agenda for Concept Design review approval.
    • Apparently it will have some affordable housing because it appears to have been exempted from some environmental review on that basis.
  • Foothill Blvd work from Rosemead to Michillinda
    • An estimated five months of work will begin “in the next few weeks” on Foothill Blvd from Rosemead Blvd to Michillinda Ave.
    • They will be resurfacing the pavement and upgrading the median islands, curb ramps, and traffic signals.
    • Work will occur between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm.
    • One lane of traffic may be blocked in each direction, and also at times on Rosemead and/or Michillinda. No street parking.
    • The work is being done by a contractor to L.A. County Public Works.
    • Along that stretch, the Pasadena City boundary line runs through the middle of the median islands, with Pasadena on the north side and unincorporated county on the south.
    • In 2013, the City authorized the project. It has paid the County an estimated $470,000 cost share for the portion of the work inside Pasadena. “This funding is from a one-time 2011 windstorm damage reimbursement from Federal Highway Administration.”
  • Short Term Rental (AirBNB) potential regulation meeting Feb 16
    • “The City is preparing an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals (such as AirBNB) due to he recent growth of this activity and potential impacts that short-term rentals may have on established neighborhoods.”
    • Thursday February 16
      Pasadena Senior Center
      85 E. Holly Street 91103
    • “Open House” format, stop by anytime between 6 pm and 8 pm
    • “The purpose of this meeting is to share draft regulations with the community and receive feedback prior to presenting a final draft ordinance.”
    • “Based on comments received from the community, staff will refine the draft regulations for presentation to the Planning Commission”.
    • Questions should be directed to Guille Nuñez, Management Analyst IV. (626) 744-7634 [email protected]
    • For a report on a previous Community Meeting on this topic, see eewna.org/meeting-summaries/december-10-2016-neighborhood-meeting-summary/#STRs
  • State law changes to zoning rules
    • Last September, State legislation was passed that took effect January 1 of this year which invalidated all local zoning related to second units unless they conform with new state requirements. The new requirements aim to allow 2nd units on almost every residential parcel by eliminating many requirements localities have used to essentially prevent them, such as parking, setbacks, and requiring a separate building.
    • “Second units” are also sometimes called “granny flats”. The new state law dictates that they now be called “Accessory Dwelling Units”. A dwelling unit is defined as providing complete independent living facilities including provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
    • On January 30, 2017 the City Council made changes to the current City zoning code specifically to comply with the new State requirements so as to retain some local control.
    • The planning department had already started studying possible changes to allow more second units to be built and that effort will go forward. At the January 30 meeting the City Council ordered them to come back with a proposal by June 30. They are to conduct public meeting outreach and take proposals to the Planning Commission before then.
    • As a result of the new state laws, the City’s zoning code has now been changed so that:
      • An accessory dwelling unit is allowed on any single family zoned lot if it is contained entirely within an existing legal single family residence or accessory structure, has an independent exterior access, and sufficient side and rear setbacks for fire safety.
      • There is no parking requirement for the vast majority of the City. In the few locations that are not exempt, only a single space can be required, and it does not need to be covered.
      • If a garage is converted to create the unit, the replacement parking for the primary residence does not need to covered.
      • If an existing garage is converted, no setback can be required except what is necessary for fire safety.
      • Trailers and prefabricated buildings are no longer prohibited for use as detached units. (But they would have to be put on a foundation and hooked to the sewer system and conform to other fire safety and sanitation codes required of all inhabited dwellings).
      • Pasadena rules that limited the number of second units in an area or created within a time frame have been eliminated.
    • City Council members indicated a desire to get the many illegal garage conversions and other unpermitted units to become legal. It was pointed out to them that the code requirements for inhabited areas are much higher then those for garages, patios, garden sheds, … And getting a permit for a unit within an existing older house would likely require a lot of upgrades to conform to newer codes. Bringing most of these existing never permitted uses up to current code would be quite expensive. It is probably unrealistic to think that many newly legal units will be low cost and serve low income inhabitants. It is even possible that the process will result in less actual lower cost housing availability.
    • Nobody at the Council meeting asked about or mentioned the huge fee, over twenty thousand dollars, the City charges for adding a bedroom in new or existing housing. The fee is supposed to go to adding parks and recreation, on the basis that adding a bedroom means more people needing those facilities. The fee is relatively minimal for “affordable” housing, but getting that designation probably would require agreeing to a special covenant and tenant selection.
    • There is a strong push being made to the Council to allow new detached accessory dwelling structures on almost every single family lot. Currently the city still prevents newly constructed separate buildings for second units unless the lot is at least 15,000 sq ft and not in a hillside or landmark district. Those restrictions eliminate all but a very few lots. Commenters at the meeting were pushing for any lot 5000 square feet or larger, which would allow it on almost every lot. The City’s ordinance also still has a lot of other restrictions on new detached units that may be eliminated or changed such as restricting the detached unit’s size to 800 square feet, single story, behind the primary residence, minimum separation distance, and property line setbacks the same as the main residence.
    • Separate from the new rules regarding accessory dwelling units, on January 30 the Council approved zoning code changes to conform to state laws requiring that residential care, transitional housing, and supportive housing uses be allowed anywhere any kind of residential use is allowed. This means that any such facility/program can be located in any single family home as long as six or fewer clients are housed there. No extra parking can be required for these uses.
  • Free mulch and compost 2017 schedule
    • The City’s Public Works department continues this program of providing free mulch to residents for another year.
    • In addition, they are now also distributing free compost delivered by Athens Services.
    • Program details are available here: cityofpasadena.net/PublicWorks/MulchRecycling/
    • At Victory Park, mulch is usually delivered between 7 and 7:30 am on the designated day. Last year they were bringing in additional loads later in the morning, so you no longer have to be an early bird to get some.
    • Quality varies tremendously from mulch load to load and even within a load. This is not commercial grade evenly chipped wood. It’s the rough ground loads from city crews trimming trees throughout the city. There are often moldering leaves and/or bits of trash in it. Loads early in the year tend to have fewer leaves mixed in. There may also be undesirable weed seeds, insects, fungi. If you are picky, you will have to pick through, keep checking until a load you like happens, or give up and get mulch elsewhere. (Some tree trimmers with grinders will give you mulch if you ask).
    • Cannot speak to quality of compost. No experience with it.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from crimemapping.com: (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Wed Feb 8, 4:20 pm, 400 block Vineyard Pl, ADW Assault
    • That incident on Vineyard is what resulted in the helicopter and lots of police the next evening when they came to take the assaulter into custody.
    • Nothing else reported in our neighborhood. Many petty thefts and vehicle break-ins reported in Lower Hastings and along Rosemead Blvd. But the Metro station and Hastings shopping areas were unusually lacking in reported incidents.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • houses to be built north side of Sierra Madre Blvd
      • Last year, there was a special re-zoning from Open Space to residential for a big parcel at 3105 Sierra Madre Blvd.
      • This would be the only residential on that side of the street west of New York Drive. Everything around it is zoned open space. Flood control to the west and north, Edison land/nursery to the east.
      • Now there is a Hearing Officer agenda item for February 15 to subdivide the big parcel into three single family residence lots.
      • Based on some verbiage in the conditions of approval about locating sewer connections, development plans have already been submitted.
      • cityofpasadena.net/planning/meetings/posts/HearingOfficerposts/2017/02152017/vtpm_74302_sr.pdf
    • March 7 County special election
      • There is a county wide election on March 7.
      • You should have received a sample ballot for it recently.
      • City Council District Council member and Pasadena Unified School District director contests are also being held, but our respective district representatives were elected two years ago and have at least another two to go. (Future municipal and school district elections are likely to be moved to the same dates as the general elections in even numbered years).
      • The only item on our ballot is a County measure to impose an additional 1/4 cent sales tax to pay for homelessness services in LA County. This requires a super majority yes vote to pass.
      • You can find more information about the County measure and/or register to vote until February 21 at lavote.net
      • You can vote early at the County Registrar’s office in Norwalk starting February 27.
      • You can vote early at Pasadena’s Jackie Robinson Community Center on Saturday March 4 and Sunday March 5 from 8 am to 4 pm.
      • You can apply to vote by mail until February 28.
      • Polls are open on election day, March 7, from 7 am to 8 pm. This time the polling place is likely the Victory Park gym for all of us.

Next meeting is March 11, 2017 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 1:08 pm