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Preserve Mater Dolorosa

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

The housing project at the Monastery is now moving forward to the next stage.

That project was initially stopped in 2013 by the efforts of the Stop the Monastery Coalition and then the water meter moratorium.

Now that the water meter moratorium has been lifted, the Passionists at Mater Dolorosa have partnered with a developer, New Urban West, for a housing development of approximately 40 homes. A formal plan has not yet been submitted for approval. Until that happens the details of the project will not be known.

On April 28, 2020, the City Council voted to approve the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the City and Mater Dolorosa to start a procedural process for how the development will move forward, starting with public forums, Planning Commission reviews and ultimately approval - if the project withstands the scrutiny of the community and the City.

The property is zoned for institutional use, such as a school or hospital or care home. However, Mater Dolorosa wants a residential development as that would be more lucrative. The zoning would have to be changed to allow for a residential development. That gives the City – and the public – some leverage over the scope and shape of the proposed housing development. Mater Dolorosa is also offering to create a small park, upgrade Bailey Canyon Park and to donate some unusable hillside to the City.

Along the MOU road, there will be room for changes and compromises. The development will have to pass a number of tests, including an Environmental Impact Report.

Preserve Sierra Madre's formal position on this project is that we are not in favor of the project and we are not against the project. We simply don't know the details yet to make that determination. Once we know the details, we will push for changes.

We do intend to scrutinize the project every step of the way because, as one of the largest housing projects Sierra Madre has seen in decades, it can have a very large impact on the immediate neighbors as well as the surrounding community. In addition, there will be a specific plan for that project, the details of which can override the protections found in Sierra Madre's general plan. So, the details of this project are going to be very, very important.

Our hope is that Mater Dolorosa and New Urban West will put forth a project that meets the concerns of the neighbors and the community at large.

At the end of the process, if the project clears all environmental hurdles, it will be up to the City to approve or reject the residential development. If it rejects the final residential scheme, it would then be open to Mater Dolorosa to appeal – or to submit a plan for an institutional development.

More details can be found here >

Mater Dolorosa FAQs here

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