December 21, 2019 Neighborhood Meeting Summary

Preparation
E-mail reminders

Attendees
3 members and 1 guest

Acknowledgments
Susan provided home made brownies

Meeting

The meeting began about 11:25 am

Plan for Pickleball Courts at Viña Vieja Park

  • A Community meeting was held on December 5 in a meeting room at Victory Park to present a preliminary plan and discuss desired design for a pickleball courts facility to be added to Viña Vieja park in the area south of the dog park.
  • There appeared to be only two people present from the immediately surrounding neighborhoods (though perhaps there were others who did not say anything), but the room was certainly packed with pickleball advocates.
  • City Staff present included Hayden Melbourn, P.E., a Principal Engineer, a Jeff Coon (sp?, something to do with landscape), and a Kris Markarian, P.E., City Engineer.
  • Councilmember Gene Masuda was in the audience observing. May have also recognized one of the candidates for his seat.
  • The City hired a consultant, David Volz Design, last February to work on the project. His preliminary concept design was presented at the meeting.
  • Here is an excerpt of the presentation materials: Pickleball_prelim-design_191205.pdf
  • The concept design would use about 1 1/2 acres of land for pickleball. 12 courts would be spread out on City owned land for about 591 feet along the wash, just to the west of the existing oak trees. A few shaded spaces and some picnic tables would be included. Benches that would allow spectators to watch would be on the east side of some courts. The courts were described as being tournament dimensions, which provides a lot more running area around each playing space then is typically available in recreational facilities.
  • Because of the slope of the land, but the need for level playing surfaces, there would need to be step downs in elevation as move from north to south.
  • Because so much land would be paved over, significant attention must be paid to capturing and treating water run-off.
  • The oak trees on the west side must be protected and are potentially a great shade asset. Their root zones must be respected, in terms of not disturbing, not covering, and not dramatically changing how much water they get.
  • A restroom is probably required by regulations due to the distance to the existing park restroom, but one is not included in the presented concept design. There is an anticipation that it would not be constructed initially due to costs. Audience members told the planners they should include the location for one as part of the design regardless of whether it is built initially.
  • In the presented concept design, parking would be to the east, partially on City land and partially on Edison land. It contemplates 60 spaces for pickleball: 4 per court (48), plus 12. Additionally, the current turnaround in Vina Vieja park would be converted into 11 parking spaces to help with the lack of dog park parking. A new turnaround would be built under the Edison wires to the south of the pickleball parking area.
  • All vehicle access would be via Orange Grove Blvd, and all access through the existing park. One of the audience members advocated for opening access from Alameda Street or through PCC. Neighborhood representatives told the assembly that opening access via Alameda would be the one thing that would probably get the neighborhood riled up against the project. 
  • Lighting. The courts would be lighted. They claim the newest LED lighting fixtures result in great light on the courts with almost no spillover. That seen from a distance, such as our neighborhood, one would only see a bit of light hitting the pole just below the light fixture and light on the ground. It was mentioned that Altadena Tennis Club (whatever that is) has such lights, and also someplace in Monrovia. Walking paths and parking will have to have separate lighting.
  • Concern was raised about other effects of changing the park’s charter to allow lighting:
    • Once there is lighting for pickleball, there will have to be lighting for parking, and then the dog park folks will want to light and keep that area open at night also. Maybe the playground also.
    • That lighting will be left on all night “for security”, so the adjacent neighborhoods will lose the relative quiet dark ambiance we’ve had even after the park shuts down.
    • City staff stated that the new protocol is to have night lighting on motion sensors so lights will only brighten up when there is activity, which should be seen so it can be addressed. (Have not observed anything but bright all the time with the new lights at the library).
  • Some pickleball advocates at the meeting requested designers work to get more shade into the plan. Requests were also made for storage space for equipment such as brooms for sweeping the courts off, for water spigots to allow easier cleaning of court surfaces (apparently an issue elsewhere), for courts to be constructed so water doesn’t pond on them, for extra high fencing, for no more than 4′ fencing, for tree shade, for not having trees dropping stuff, for cover for shade and keeping the rain off.
  • Question was raised whether it is necessary to have tournament dimensions for the courts. If the extra space was reduced there would be more room for social spaces or even more courts.
  • Question was raised more than once (although did not seem to be understood by designer Mr Volz) as to why the design leaves the southern part of the City parcel both unused and access potentially blocked from future use. 
  • Social pickleball users were interested in having more courts immediately adjacent to each other because it results in easier socializing during play.
  • Generally the pickleball advocates seem to just be looking for a place to engage in low-key social playing, in a sport known for bringing together people of all ages and capabilities for socialization as well as exercise. A few vocal people seemed to be focused on supporting formal competition and want a facility capable of hosting regional tournaments.
  • Tournament advocates want
    • A lot more parking, even if just dirt areas opened up for tournaments. 
    • A covered area with electricity for their computers and score boards.
    • Tournament regulation size courts.
  • At one point, Mike Alvidrez, who has the title “Ambassador” of the USA Pickleball Association, spoke to the pickleball advocates and said he felt the “pickleball community” needs to have a discussion among themselves about what they want and what is feasible. He seemed to be trying to tamp down the emphasis on support for tournaments, knowing the reality of the extra costs involved, and that the majority just wants a place to go to play and socialize.
  • There have been some discussions with Edison about leasing portions of their land for access and parking.
    • One thing that was learned is that Edison now has a rule forbidding parking under the “drip line” of their high voltage wires. A road beneath is ok, but not parking. 
    • A self-described “pickleball architect” in attendance was concerned that the concept design appeared to show parking beneath the wires, in which case that design is not feasible. There was disagreement about where the wires actually run. He was advocating a design much closer to the very preliminary idea previously presented, with parking adjacent to the dog park and the 3 across courts filling the City land to the south of that.
    • Another idea was put the parking south of the courts to prevent the pickleball parking from being so easily used up by dog park users.
  • Planning process going forward was not described well, but included
    • revising the concept drawing
    • presenting it to the Parks and Recreation Commission, aiming for February
    • environmental study, with an expected negative declaration, could take about 6 months
    • Conditional Use Permit could take a couple months more
    • City Council has to sign off and also has to allocate funding for construction
  • Pickleball advocates were not happy to hear how long it might take. They want something right away and most seem to have no understanding of the costs, complications, and legal requirements involved.
  • The City’s Principal Engineer strongly encouraged submission of questions and comments to: [email protected]

City Council and Mayor Election in March

  • The primary City election for Mayor and four City Council seats will be March 3rd, at the same time as the General Election for state and country offices.
  • The nomination period for candidates to obtain required signatures and file to run has closed.
  • Our neighborhood will be voting for Mayor and for the District 4 Councilmember.
  • For more information about the City election process, visit the City Clerk’s elections web page:
    www.cityofpasadena.net/city-clerk/elections-2020/
  • Pasadena Now, an online daily Pasadena news site, is managing a list of public candidate forums and debates:
    pasadenanow.com/main/pasadena-march-2020-election-forum-and-debate-calendar/
  • There are four candidates for Mayor: 
    • Terry Tornek, Mayor since 2015, District 7 Councilmember 2009-2015, previously a City Planner and then a real estate developer
    • Victor Gordo, District 5 City Councilmember since 2001, and “a lawyer for Laborers’ International Union North America 777, where he serves as the group’s secretary and treasurer”
    • Jason Hardin, “marketing entrepreneur and former senior commissioner for Pasadena who resigned in 2016 after he was found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge”
    • Major Williams, “co-founder of a Pasadena-based art school”
  • For our District 4 Council seat
    • Gene Masuda, District 4 Councilmember since 2011, retired business owner, and former president of his neighborhood’s association
    • Joe Baghdadlian, auto body shop owner (Symes Collision Center and Joe’s Auto Body Collision Center) and community volunteer. Issues include over development, traffic, schools, crime.
    • Charlotte Bland, “a territory manager for Xerox, facilitating sales for the printer company”. Her press release says “results-oriented business professional, devoted wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a concerned District 4 neighbor, Ms. Bland says she’s running on a platform of healthy communities, healthy families, smart growth and environmental justice.”
    • Kevin Wheeler, a lifelong east Pasadena resident, neighborhood Realtor, adjunct faculty at Azusa Pacific University teaching scientific writing. Main issue is stopping high density housing and big city traffic in east Pasadena.
  • District 1 incumbent Tyron Hampton is running unopposed.
  • District 2 Council member Margaret McAustin is retiring. Four candidates are running for her seat: Felicia Williams, Tricia Keane, Kevin Litwin, and Bo Patatian.
  • District 6 incumbent Steve Madison has two challengers: Tamerlin Godley and Ryan Bell.

Mayflower Celebration at Hastings Library on January 9

  • Thursday January 9th
    4 – 6 pm
  • In celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America, this event will feature descendants in historical costume sharing stories about clothing, food, and surviving the trip in 1620. 
  • “There will be stories, crafts, refreshments, photo ops, and more”.
  • “Costumes are encouraged for all ages!”
  • (The Rose Court changed their scheduling this year, so it isn’t possible to have that event this January. Maybe next December)

Mosquito abatement

  • The San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District reminds us that we aren’t seeing many mosquitoes now, but their eggs are just waiting for a few days of 70 degree weather to hatch and grow.
  • Now is the easiest time to disrupt their cycle, because the adults aren’t flying around laying new eggs. 
  • So empty everything that collects water and scrub/rub anywhere that could have been a water line.
  • Don’t let those barbecues, fire pits, and the like collect and hold water. Store them indoors, turn upside down, or cover.
  • Watch out for tarps or other things that cause water to puddle/pond.
  • Empty those gutter diverters after rains. Trapped leaves and accordion bends make for nice wet breeding areas.
  • Potted plants out for fresh water? Make sure to empty any pot saucers after.
  • Tires or other junk laying around, possibly collecting water? Trash or store safely.
  • Those aggressive new mosquitoes can breed in less than a tablespoon of water.

Local Crime Summary

  • For the last month in our neighborhood, from crimemapping.com: (the time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
    • Mon Nov 18, 9:51 am, 3200 block Hermanos St, Petty Theft
    • Sat Nov 23, 6:19 am, 3200 block La Tierra St, Vehicle Break-in/Theft
    • Tues Nov 26, 1:37 pm, Alameda St & Avocado Av, Burglary
  • Residential burglaries and petty thefts seem to have been more numerous in many nearby neighborhoods.

anything else attendees wish to discuss

Next EEWNA meeting is January 18, 2020 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

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