Despite on-going efforts and tens of thousands of dollars aggressively being spent by the out-of-town developer, New Urban West, to confuse and misinform us, there are many Sierra Madre residents who want to know the truth so they can vote in the best interests of the community they love.
Rather than let the facts speak for themselves and let the light shine on the Meadows tract housing development - so we can actually see what it looks like – Sierra Madre is being bombarded with multiple, costly mailers designed to confuse voters and muck up a sincere effort for residents to learn the truth and vote accordingly.
When you don’t have the facts on your side and hide behind shiny mailings, it looks like you are too ashamed to show the community what your project looks like and instead try to divert their attention by flooding their homes with slick graphics, falsehoods and improbable outcomes.
New Urban West thinks it best to hide behind a veiled smokescreen of marketing designed to trick and fool you into believing that tract housing is best for us.
Let’s take a breather from all this nonsense and restate the facts about what is allowed and what is not allowed under Measure HR. Measure HR is simple. It changes the present zoning for the 35-acre Monastery parcel from Institutional to Hillside Residential. It means that institutional development, i.e., schools, retirement centers, hospitals, etc., is no longer permitted; residential homes on two acres each is permitted. Now, to dispel some of the gross misrepresentations pushed by the developer:
FACT ONE: Under Measure HR, nobody can build 68 mansions on the Monastery parcel. Measure HR allows for one home up to 6500 square feet on a two acre lot. This means that in place of the 42 tract homes to be built under the Specific Plan, just 7 homes could be built on these 17 acres. If the entire 35 Acres was sold, only 15 to 16 houses of a maximum size of 6,500 square feet could be built under Hillside zoning. Under the current Institutional zoning, a developer can build a 270,000 square-foot institution such as a school or residential housing unit in addition to “The Meadows” project of 42 houses. If the city were to grant them a new specific plan in addition to the one that has already been approved for the bottom tract, a developer could build an additional 82 houses. There have been all kinds of extreme hypotheticals bandied about to spread confusion, including crazed lot-splitting and ADUs run amok; but, realistically, we’re talking about the prospect of the developer’s 124 tract houses under their Specific Plan versus 15 or 16 houses on the 35-acre parcel under Hillside Residential zoning.
FACT TWO: Ads and flyers paid for by the developer state that, under Hillside zoning, the Passionists will be prevented from continuing their mission. This is totally false. The Passionists are protected by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLIUPA) as well as Section 17.60.030 (A) of our municipal code that clearly states “Churches, temples and other places of worship” are uses that are permitted in the Hillside
Management Zone. As a result, there is no restriction on the Passionists’ mission. Just like everybody else in town, they will need a building permit if they want to make additions or build new buildings—that’s all. The only difference under Hillside zoning is that the Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center will be designated as a non-conforming use, which means they will need a different type of permit. There is no reason on God’s green Earth that the city of Sierra Madre would not grant them that permit.
FACT THREE: The developer falsely claims that Hillside zoning circumvents Sierra Madre’s existing checks and balances. Nothing could be further from the truth……from a developer whose Specific Plan disregards our carefully written General Plan and zoning ordinances. If we citizens allow them to get away with it, their houses will be up to 80% larger on a given lot size than the city’s General Plan and building codes allow. The bottom line is, other property owners—the people who actually live here—like you and me, can’t build over-sized houses on little lots even if we want to, but New Urban West of Santa Monica can and will if we don’t stop them, setting a dangerous precedent for future projects.
For quick and easy comparison, the comparison below shows what can be built under current Institutional zoning and under Measure HR Hillside zoning.
Current Institutional Zoning
(with Specific Plan for “Meadows
at Bailey Canyon” Housing Project) Measure HR Hillside Zoning
9 houses on 2 acres or 1 house on 2 acres
Entire 35 acres (not including roads)
42 houses PLUS 270,000 square foot institution
OR 124 houses (42 +82 on upper parcel) or 17 houses
Don’t be fooled by the endless stream of confusing, misguided, inaccurate, false information coming your way. The real citizen groups opposed to this project don’t have the $143,000 that the developer has funneled so far into pushing this project. The real citizen groups have only the facts on their side and would like to issue the following simple challenge to the developer:
If you stop telling lies about the project, we’ll stop telling the truth about the project.
Vote YES On Measure HR