May 19 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail reminders


5 members


Susan brought lemon cake


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:30 am

  • Space Bank development hearing summary
    • The proposed 550 apartment unit development of the Space Bank property, 3200 E Foothill Blvd, was considered at a public hearing before the Planning Commission on May 9.
    • Here is our previously reported information about the project:
    • The City Hall Council Chambers audience area was absolutely packed for this hearing. Lots of standing-room-only and sitting on the floor around the perimeter.
    • City Planning Staff started with a fairly brief presentation which basically followed their Staff Report, stating the recommendation approvals to the City Council being requested of the Planning Commission. (The Staff Report is no longer posted on the City’s website. If you want to see it, send an e-mail and we’ll forward it to you). The environmental documents are online here:
    • Public comment followed. There were about 30 speakers, some of which had additional people stand with them in support of their comments.
      • A large percentage of the audience were guys from the electrical, pipe fitter, sheet metal, and iron worker unions. In their public comments they basically said the project would be unsafe and terrible unless the developer makes an agreement to only use labor union labor.
      • There were also representatives from outfits with other names/stated missions, but may be linked with the labor unions. Wanted requirements for local hire, hiring transitional workers, hiring vets, …
      • A lawyer and an organization called CREED LA attacked the SCEA document; said a regular EIR should be required. (Read the comments and responses submitted to draft SCEA to get full details).
      • There were several folks who have small businesses they run from the current Space Bank facility who will have to find somewhere else. They were opposed. Next to the freeway in East Pasadena is appropriate for industrial, not residential, and the current East Pasadena Specific Plan is correct in reserving such areas for non-residential use. Forcing service businesses such as those who repair houses out of the City so they have to travel long distances from the east to service clients here. Claim to support artisans, but places for those that need larger or industrial spaces are being shut down. There has been no dialogue of helping the current users of the site find somewhere to go.
      • There were several Pasadena residents who spoke in opposition and several who spoke in favor.
      • One proponent said he wanted a “vibrant”, “exuberant”, “destination” community in East Pasadena.
      • Another proponent said there is a lack of housing for working class families like his.
      • Another proponent said it will affect traffic, but it is a good design for the site and the housing is needed. Just make sure all the mitigation measures are enforced.
      • An opponent spoke of the problems of living next to a freeway. Air and noise pollution. Expects lawsuits against the city down the line as residents of such places blame the city for health problems. Also said it would put too much pressure on nearby neighborhoods.
      • An opponent spoke of too much development, whole reason moved to Pasadena 25 years ago is threatened.
      • An opponent spoke of the effect on traffic, which is already backed up so badly every day.
      • An opponent spoke about it exasperating the water shortage. Claimed this project would increase the population of Pasadena by 1% and be too much strain on the water supply. Requested putting project on hold until have better control of water resources.
      • An opponent said part of the property should be reserved for expanding the westbound on-ramp to the 210.
      • The Chamber of Commerce head, Paul Little, spoke in favor saying it was a good project and the housing is needed.
      • A Pasadena Heritage representative spoke in favor. Generally Pasadena Heritage does not favor planned developments, but in this case they think it is appropriate given the lower density, greater open space, and history mitigation plan. Requested the history mediation also include recording the stories of individuals who worked on the site, that those stories be included in the interpretive program, and the information also be housed at the Pasadena Public Library.
    • The project development team’s presentation followed with
      • The landscape architect gave a fairly brief all-is-wonderful presentation of the site plan.
      • The lawyer responded to some of the negative public comments.
        • Water Supply Assessment in the environmental doc (SCEA) says it is sufficient.
        • The southern Kinneloa driveway was redesigned to allow ingress by northbound traffic.
        • The developer will be contributing to signal upgrades
        • The site cleanup has been under study for over 10 years. The project cannot proceed unless the cleanup is successful.
        • Regarding freeway adjacency
          • Units are oriented toward the north, away from the freeway
          • There will be “abundant” landscaping
          • Windows will be sealed and non-operable
          • MERV 13 filter systems are required
          • SCEA is robust
    • After the public comment period was closed, at 8:08 pm, there were some questions and a bit of discussion by the five Commissioners present. (The Chair was not present due to conflict of interest and two other members were excused from being present). Some points made include:
      • Acoustical study of noise showed levels would be within normal expected levels
      • Any resident would have access to any of the private public spaces, even if in a different building then their own
      • Applicant not proposing to reduce the residential impact fee, so the proposed condition about public space would not apply
      • If the project exceeds the traffic impact caps in the table, the developer must implement a targeted complete streets plan
      • The projected daily trips are within allowed percentage thresholds for nearby intersections except for at Walnut/Kinneloa. Sierra Madre Villa/Foothill is currently rated E (just above F) and is expected to continue to be rated E.
      • Condition on accessory site west of Kinneloa is no trip generation. If that needed to be modified, applicant would need to seek an amendment to the Planned Development.
      • A Commissioner who said he is a lawyer who has dealt with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) over many years said more then once that he “would not wish DTSC on anybody”. He said he does not believe DTSC would allow the site to be unsafe, and that its oversight will result in “good, unimpeachable, clearance”. Said he has no problem with project from an environmental standpoint.
      • One Commissioner went on about conditions for pedestrian scale, physical permeability of site, clarifying conditions requiring transit passes. Wanted sidewalk width requirement to be increased to what the applicant is proposing.
      • One Commissioner did say that the current East Pasadena Specific Plan called out for jobs and employment centers. Was given a response that the General Plan is the newer, 3 year old, vision vs the Specific Plan’s 20 year old. Trying to meet state mandates for housing while protecting single family neighborhoods.
    • The vote by the Planning Commission was 4 to 1 in favor of recommending the Planning Staff’s recommendation, with a few additional mitigation measures, to the City Council. None of the Commissioners seemed eager to take the vote. Did not hear the Commissioner who voted against explicitly express a reason, but could not always tell which Commissioner was speaking or voting.
    • The Commissioner who made the motion they voted on prefaced it by saying the Commission had limited purview and some issues (alluding to the labor union elephant in the room) were best addressed by the City Council.
  • East Pasadena Specific Plan workshop summary
    • A “workshop” was held to gather information from the Community about its desires for the East Pasadena Specific Plan area on May 17. This was the first in a series of eight, one for each Specific Plan.
    • As people arrived, they were asked to sign in, get a first name tag, assigned a color code, and asked to consider writing on a board three things they like about East Pasadena, and put colored stickers on a map for places they live, work, and/or play in East Pasadena.
    • The meeting was advertised as starting at 6 pm, but the introductory presentation did not take place until considerably later.
    • The Mayor was there to observe and greeted a few people. Do not know how long he stayed. Councilmember Masuda arrived at some point and participated in a discussion work group as a member of the community.
    • Anita Cerna of the planning department gave a reasonably brief overview of the three year update process.
      • After this series of meetings, the planning staff and consultants will go off and work on draft proposals until sometime in 2019 when those will be presented to the community for discussion at another series of meetings.
      • Then they will go off and revise and make more complete draft proposals to present to the Planning Commission and City Council in 2020.
    • Woody <something>, one of a group of consultants hired by the City, then presented an overview of the East Pasadena Specific Plan area.
    • The audience was then asked to split up to work table discussion groups based on the color code they were assigned. Each table had a discussion leader who was either a planning staff member or consultant, an assistant consultant to take notes on a easel mounted pad of paper, a large laminated map of the East Pasadena Specific Plan area that could be drawn on or have colored notes and stickers stuck on. Participants were asked to weigh-in on various subjects such as where they thought was suitable for housing, what was needed to keep commercial areas active, how to improve access and usage of the Gold Line station, what were priorities for quality of life. This phase lasted about an hour.
    • Each group then had to choose a participant to summarize their discussion to the whole.
    • We’ll see an about a year how well this all gets translated into recommendations.
    • The Lamanda Park Specific Plan, which includes the Avon property, will be the last workshop meeting, on July 26, 6 pm. Put it on your calendar.
  • Mansionization regulations at Planning Commission May 23
    • The Planning Commission will get an informational presentation on May 23 of potential regulations and design guidelines the Planning Staff is considering to limit “mansionization” in single family residential areas that are not part of the already special hillside, historic, or Lower Hastings zoning districts.
    • Until the end of May, you can access the associated documents on the Planning Commission’s agenda webpage:
    • The Planning Commission is being asked to discuss the subject and provide recommendations for the Staff to consider before drafting final recommendations that will be brought back to the Commission and then the City Council.
    • It is probably easier to influence the discussion earlier then later. If you particularly like or have issues with some of the proposals, you are urged to either attend the meeting to express them or write an e-mail to the Planning Commission via their listed staff representative Jessica Sweeney: [email protected]
  • Traffic signals on Orange Grove at Sunnyslope and Craig
    • According to an announcement from Councilmember Masuda’s office, budget allocations for the design of new traffic signals at two intersections on Orange Grove have been approved (pending final budget approval) for fiscal year 2019 (July 2018-June 2019) by the City Council.
      • One at Sunnyslope Ave for $65,000 in Measure M funds
      • One at Craig Ave for $60,000 in Measure M funds
    • Note that this is just for design. Installation is probably in the hundreds of thousands each and will await budget allocation in the future.
  • Eaton Canyon Golf Course threatened
    • LA County and the City of Pasadena are reported to be discussing the County transferring their portion of the golf course to the City. Presumably the County is looking to save money.
    • The Mayor reportedly said that usage would be restricted to open space.
    • But it seems it would not continue to be a golf course.
    • Golfers report on NextDoor that the current operator since last September has been making real progress in improving a course that was poorly maintained and operated by the previous operator and thus lost a lot of money.
    • An argument is made that operating it as a golf course with some revenues is less costly to taxpayers then having to maintain it as park space.
    • Golf course supporters also point out that security for that operation provides security to the adjacent neighborhood by preventing vagrant/homeless from setting up camp there.
    • Others point out that it was a public natural park prior to becoming a golf course and that maintaining the golf course requires a large amount of expensive water.
    • If you have thoughts about this, consider sending them to the City Manager, Mayor, Councilmember Masuda, and County Supervisor Barger.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month in our neighborhood, from (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Sunday April 29, 5:26 pm, 3200 block E Foothill Blvd, Residential Burglary
      • Thursday May 17, 12:10 pm, 3100 block Las Lunas St, Residential Burglary (see below)
    • The burglary on Las Lunas St took place within the one hour the residents were not home between 11 am and 12 noon. Entry was made through the rear of the residence. Two mid-sized dogs were not a deterrent. A white SUV may have been involved.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

Next meeting is June 16, 2018 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:50 pm