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Save the Planning Commission

The Sierra Madre City Council meeting is this Tuesday, May 25 at 4:00 pm in Memorial Park. It is crucial that you attend, and voice your viewpoint and concerns. If you cannot attend in person, please watch on Channel 3 or your computer, and send a comment to Publiccomment@cityofsierramadre by 3:00 pm on Tuesday.

The structure of all Commissions is being discussed including the Planning Commission. The former City Council voted to move design review standards of any proposed new housing or remodels that exceed our zoning laws from the purview of the Planning Commission to the Planning Staff. Mayor Pro Tem Arizmendi promised to revisit this in May and now as Mayor, agendized this important issue.

Returning this design review function to the Planning Commission is of major importance because:

  • Planning Commission is the voice of the people. All Commissioners are residents of our community and aware of resident’s concerns.

  • All Planning Commission meetings are held in public with prior notice to allow public overview, comment, and present a transparent process.

  • The current Planning Staff review process is not transparent and does not allow for the residents to voice their concerns and viewpoints of matters that can have a major impact on the city.

  • Planning Commission brings a diverse level of expertise – including an architect, doctor, former firefighter, businessperson, and lawyer/developer.

  • The City Attorney affirms that keeping the design review standards with the Planning Commission will not violate California State laws.

  • Having a broader public presentation of the design review findings of the Planning Staff in discussions with the Planning Commission, public participation, and input from the applicant leads to an overall better product.

  • The former City Council reduced the Planning Commission from seven members to five which seriously reduced the level of design review expertise.

  • We are asking the City Council to restore the Planning Commission and its expertise to the previous seven member composition and restore the task of providing a transparent broad oversight of the design review standards. This is more pressing in light of the major housing development pending with the City.

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