Let's be clear
1. The purpose of ”The Meadows” development is to make ~$100 Million Dollars to be split by the Passionist Fathers of Chicago and their developer New Urban West (NUW) of Santa Monica. The money goes to Chicago and Santa Monica. The impacts to Sierra Madre remain with us forever. That is what this is all about. MONEY.
2. The “Neighbors for Fairness” group is funded by these outside groups. Additionally, NUW has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to marketers and PR firms to spin their project in a positive light in glossy brochures and full page ads. Preserve Sierra Madre and the proponents of Measure HR are fully funded by residents that live in Sierra Madre who will be negatively impacted by the Project.
3. The Meadows project violates significant parts of the Sierra Madre General Plan, the “constitution” of Sierra Madre which was carefully crafted over 5 years by many fellow citizens to preserve the look and feel of our town. The 42 homes NUW would build will be massed in a way previously unseen in Sierra Madre. It will be a dense housing project unlike any other area in town, with their own special rules superseding the General Plan.
4. The purpose of Measure HR is zone the Mater Dolorosa property per the Hillside Residential code which applies to every other hillside area in Sierra Madre, and is part of the General Plan. The Hillside code requires minimum 2 acre lots. Thus in the 17 acre area planned for development, Measure HR would allow 7 to 8 homes, not 42 (or 68).
5. The “Neighbors for Fairness” and the City Attorney have claimed Measure HR would allow the developer to build 68 large homes on the property. This mistake by the City Attorney was proven in court to be FALSE, yet NUW and some on the City Council continue to use this as a scare tactic. The 68 home number could only happen with the destruction of the Retreat Center, building on the unbuildable northern slope, and assuming each lot would have 2 homes built on it. The Passionists are only proposing to develop the lower 17 acres of their property. On these 17 acres it is 42 homes vs. 7-8. 68 just doesn’t add up.
6. The Retreat Center building would be included in the zone, yet it is bigger than the Hillside zoning allows, so it must be designated a “nonconforming use”. HR also says it can’t be enlarged, but if the Passionists desired, it can be renovated consistent with the Hillside rules. There is no such plan at this time, but if they want to build another building, like a chapel next to the Retreat Center, they just have to follow the law (Hillside Zoning) like the rest of us.
7. The “Neighbors for Fairness” was devised to focus on the belief that HR prohibits such improvements, and so claim it violates the Passionists religious freedom. This is a ruse. HR proponents have no intent to limit their ability to practice their faith. We simply want them to follow the General Plan. The developers and their mouthpiece “neighbors for fairness” are using this claim as well as the “68 houses” to scare you; NUW’s real fear is not being able to make millions of dollars.
8. Impacts on our water will be permanent. NUW claims the project will have “zero impact water” but they have failed to provide a viable plan. They have fallen back on a plan to repair existing pipes, a short term solution. There is no viable plan in NUW’s proposal that results in “zero impact water”. Millions of gallons of water will be used during construction and the new homes will require thousands of gallons a day for perpetuity. Meanwhile we must limit our lawn watering and pay excess fees for extra tens of units a month, as we are in the midst of the worst drought in 1,200 years!
9. Among other impacts, the Meadows will permanently impose 4-500 new car trips a day (plus all the construction trucks) on neighboring streets including GrandView and on parking downtown. Wear and tear, street improvements, fire, emergency and police services, will all be permanent costs to the city.
Preserve Sierra Madre is not about blocking progress or the property rights of our neighbors. We are about keeping development consistent with the look and feel of this city we all love. To do so, we all must follow the same rules.
VOTE YES ON MEASURE HR