Measure HR rezones the Monastery property from Institutional to Hillside Residential. Hillside zoning’s biggest benefit is that it is designed to prevent overdevelopment such as “The Meadows at Bailey Canyon” tract housing plan, which calls for building 42 mostly two-story, multimillion dollar houses side by side, ten feet apart on small lots. That subdivision may squeak through because city officials have rushed to approve it. But if Measure HR passes, it will at least prevent the Monastery’s owners from selling the remaining parcel and allowing a developer to pack another 82 tract houses onto that property. Measure HR’s Hillside zoning requires new houses to be built on a minimum of two acres, so, at most, a developer could build 7 houses on the land where the developer proposes to build 42 houses. Why is voting YES on Measure HR so important? In addition to stopping both residential and institutional overdevelopment, it does a lot of important things for our community and, contrary to what you may have heard, for the Retreat Center. Most importantly, it stops high-density development in a very high-severity fire zone, which might prevent a wildfire from taking out whole neighborhoods on the south and west sides. Also, Measure HR: Protects more than 100 mature trees Allows Mater Dolorosa to continue their mission and expand beyond their current size Allows the Passionists to sell all of their land to a developer to build houses on 2-acre lots or to a land conservancy
Follows the General Plan and municipal code unlike the Specific Plan created by “The Meadows” housing project developer Stops the possibility of a development of a 270,000 square foot institution on the upper 18 acres of the property Stops the possibility of development of an additional 82 houses on the upper 18 acres of property
Reduces environmental footprint to substantially reduce water use and to stop doubling of traffic in the neighborhood.
If you’ve seen or heard the disinformation that’s been spread around about Measure HR by the “Meadows at Bailey Canyon” developer, you might think that the initiative goes against everything good and fair and decent in our community. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For starters, proponents of Measure HR support the rights of property owners. Hundreds of property owners—families with houses surrounding the Monastery property—deserve a fair shake. They’re the ones who are going to be most affected by any development on that property-- during construction and long after the developer has finished up and left town.
Also, the intent of Measure HR is to make sure any developer of the Monastery property doesn’t get special privileges and abides by the law.
Under the current “Specific Plan” that the City Council just approved, the developer can operate virtually unrestrained. In fact, their plans for “The Meadows at Bailey Canyon” subdivision call for building houses that are up to 80% larger for a given lot size than Sierra Madre’s General Plan and Municipal Code allow. The bottom line is, other property owners (you and me,) can’t do anything of the sort on our property, and there’s no reason why anyone should be entitled to special privileges-- least of all an out-of-town developer.
Second, ads and flyers paid for by the developer suggest that if Measure HR passes, the Passionists will be prevented from continuing their mission. This is patently false. The Passionists are protected by federal law that protects all religious institutions from discrimination. Under Measure HR, there will be no restrictions on the Passionists’ mission. In addition, Section 17.60.030 (A) of our municipal code clearly states, that “Churches, temples and other places of worship” are uses that are permitted in basically all zoning classifications, including the Hillside Management Zone. The purpose of this is to ensure that there is no discrimination against the free practice of religion in Sierra Madre. The Sierra Madre Municipal Codes have clearly been drafted not to run afoul of existing federal and state laws, including the Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act (“RLUIPA”). Any conclusion that the Initiative prohibits the right of a religious organization to exercise its religious freedoms is blatantly incorrect. 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. There is no reason on Earth that the city of Sierra Madre would not grant them that permit.
Due to the City Council’s failure to assert leadership and protect Sierra Madre’s long-term interests and quality of life, Measure HR is the best option. Otherwise, a slew of cookie-cutter houses will be built on that property—big houses ten feet apart and fifteen feet from the street, all crammed together in a Very-High-Severity Fire Zone. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! Sierra Madre can do better than this! Vote YES on Measure HR.