We are very appreciative of the City Council’s decisions to adopt Ordinances and a Resolution that declared a water emergency and imposed moratoria on all new water service connections (with exeptions).
So Cameron Thornton, the previous chair of the Mater Dolorosa Board of Directors, was mistaken when he replied “The short answer is, nothing” to a question asking what impact this moratorium would have on the project (of developing around 50 houses on the lower portion of the Mater Dolorosa grounds). Until the reservoirs are replenished, which could take five years, or if the City Council, against the voices of the townspeople, rescinds these decisions, the project at Mater Dolorosa does not seem viable.
The City Council did adopt Urgency Ordinance 1356U, the Water Shortage Emergencies of the California Water Code. It can “deny applications for new or additional service connections” as long as the emergency lasts and until the water supply has been replenished. Chapter 3, Section 350-359.
Click here for information on the current Ordinances and Resolutions adopted by the City Council.
One Carter/Stonegate:. As of 2011 10 lots were sold. Originally 29 lots, now 23 lots. The owner is either CETT Investments Corporation or CETT Madre, its president is Huiru Han, the previous agent was Sophia Huang, the architect is Adele Chang, their attorneys are Richard McDonald and Frank Nicholas, Carlson & Nicholas LLP .This project began in 2004; currently no houses have been built, but the plans for 610 Baldwin Court have been approved, although a review of that decision is set for November 25, 2014. One Carter has been plagued with delays, controversy, threatened lawsuits, and protest. 63 acres. At the top of Baldwin.
Stonehouse: 1935 Stonehouse Road. 13 lots, currently for sale, portions fall in the Hillside Management Zone (HMZ). Plans for houses up to 6000sf. 103 acres. In 2005 it was owned by Stonehouse Homes LLC who wanted to develop the lower 25 acres; when the City of Sierra Madre did not accept their applications, Stonehouse Homes LLC took it to litigation in 2008.
Current Developer: R. Steve Austin, Advanced Civil Group, Laguna Niguel.
Current owner: Gingko Stonehouse LLC (no website), Arcadia, agent Tiffany Yu. Principal Company Gingko Pacific Management.
See the What You Can Do page for the contacts of the owners and developers listed below.
Mater Dolorosa: owned by the Passionists of Holy Cross Province in Illinois, want to sell 20 acres to a developer who could then build up to 50 houses, which could be up to 3800sf per house. No plans have yet been filed with City Hall and this project will require a zoning change from institutional to residential.
The Passionists have a number of very powerful organizations that are working with this project or on the Board of Directors:
Joe Sanders, the 2014-15 Chair of the Mater Dolorosa Board of Directors, and a Director since 2011, was also the Senior Vice President, Operations, 2006-2013, of Charles Pankow Builders,
Cameron Thornton, who lives in Burbank, an investment advisor, Cameron Thornton Associates, Past-Chair of the Mater Dolorosa Board of Directors. The current Chair of the Board is Joe Sanders.
Jerry Pearson, who lives in Arcadia and is a landscape designer and fellow of ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects), and a senior principal (not confirmed) at Peridian International Inc., a Newport, CA landscape architecture and design firm, and (current or past) president of the Mater Dolorosa Board of Directors. He is, apparently, the landscape architect for the Mater Dolorosa project.
Laer Pearce Laer Pearce and Associates, a public relations firm.
Mater Dolorosa has not given up in trying to force this development through. Visit the Mater Dolorosa page for updates and other information.
These deer would lose a part of their habitat if this area was developed.
Concrete instead of grass.
The Planning Commission has promised to curtail the use of lot splitting, hopefully precluding the razing of houses that are compatible with the neighborhood and replacing them with large incompatible houses.
The two houses at 319 and 321 Camillo are one such egregious example. Although the house sizes are within the 35% of the lot size (319 has a lot size of 7808 sf with a 2715 sf house; 321 has a lot size of 9021 sf with a 3136 sf house) and within the setback guidelines (25' from front lot line; not less than 5' to the side lot lines; and 15' to the rear lot line), these structures do not adhere to the "purpose" of the Sierra Madre Municipal Code 17.20.010 C "to encourage architectural diversity while maintaining architectural accord with the character of the existing neighborhood."
Other possible future building projects
75 North Canon, .56 acres (24,476 sf). The listing agency, Berkshire Hathaway, notes that "the potential for lot split is quite high." This property is zoned R-1, single family, a minumum lot size of 7500, which means that it could be split into 3 properties.
150 North Sunnyside, .33 acres (14,374 sf) Century 21 "with the possibility of a lot split or subdivision." Zoned R-1, single family, a minumum lot size of 7500; if the zoning map is followed, this property can't be split.
110 Ranch Road .93 acres. This property sold in October 2014 for 1.8M; the new owners are Gina Felikian and her husband. The Felikians wanted to raze the current 2,544 sf house and build a 6,400sf plus one. According to The Sierra Madre Tattler!, former Mayor John Harabedian convinced the City Council to accept his recommendations to increase the building size for lots above 30,000 sf (this property is 40,616 sf) to 17%, which would allow the Felikians to build a 6,842 sf house.
751 Oak Crest Drive, "The Pyramid House" Sold in June 2014, 1.02 acres. Although this property is within the Hillside Management Zone, the new owners may try to subdivide or to build a huge home.
Left: before; right: after. This is not maintaining architectural accord with the character of the existing neighborhood.
Drought California has been downgraded from Exceptional Drought to D1 Moderate Drought. However, the recent rains have not relaxed the situation of Sierra Madre's water supply. A letter from Kathleen Blanchard, Sierra Madre's Energy, Environmental, and Natural Resource Board Chair to the State Water Resources Control Board states that City-wide water consumption is rising while the condition of the sole aquifer is not returning to a safe level. Read the entire letter here.