In the Waiting For The EIR article, we noted that the EIR was originally expected on October 1, 2020. Several subsequent release dates have been given in the interim. To find out more about its release date and the review process, we posed two questions to the City Manager. His responses follow:
Has the City seen the draft EIR and if so, when can we expect its release in order to prepare our questions and comments? The City has not reviewed the draft EIR. It is anticipated that staff will receive a copy of the EIR for review in mid May 2021, with a public release date in June 2021. After the staff publishes the ‘Notice of Availability of the Draft EIR,’ public comment is accepted for 60 days. To facilitate this, Staff organizes a public hearing to receive comments on the Draft EIR. At the end of the 60 day period, staff ensures that the Final EIR includes responses to all public comments and makes revisions as needed. They then prepare the Staff Report, Resolution and Ordinance for Planning Commission Review. The Planning Commission then holds public hearing(s) to recommend whether to certify the Final EIR, amend the General Plan, amend the Zoning Code, adopt the Specific Plan and approve the Development Agreement. Their recommendations then go the City Council which will then hold Public hearing(s) on the Planning Commission’s recommendations. There is no doubt that the Planning Commission plays an important role in the review of this 42 unit housing development at the Monastery. It is unfortunate that under the guise of bureaucratic efficiency, City Council has reduced the number of planning Commission members from 7 to 5. The residents of Sierra Madre hold their Planning Commission in high regard and feel that the larger representation of seven Planning Commissioners better serves the planning needs of Sierra Madre. The Planning Commission is the resident’s voice and seven members bring a more diverse level of expertise and experience, while sharing the demanding workload that the Monastery project will require in the coming months.
As we have read in the Los Angeles Times, Star News and various websites, there have been recent studies showing that there is the beginning of another severe drought in the Western States, particularly Arizona, Nevada and Northern California. Because Sierra Madre relies on ground water as well as the water from the MWD, and the fact that the subject of water conservation has increased in the past few months, will consideration and/or revision be made to the EIR that will address this situation? The project, if approved, would be required to be constructed with no new water demand for Sierra Madre. The NetZero requirement of constructions means the project would have to offset all of its anticipated water use by pre-purchasing all of the expected water demand on the property and providing it to the City.
Preserve Sierra Madre is a voice on behalf of our residents and continues to reach out to the City regarding the Monastery project as well as other planning projects that are being considered.