Saturday, July 1, 2017

Preserve Sierra Madre: Last Tuesday's City Council Decisions on the R-3 Zoning Code Amendments

Mod: This one comes in two parts. The first e-mail went out last Tuesday before the City Council meeting, and it describes what was at stake with the Planning Commission vetted amendments to the R-3 Zoning Codes. The second email went out yesterday and describes the happy results of that meeting. There is also a look at some big issues coming up in the near future, including a Mr. Wm. Kefalas's appeal to the City Council of the Planning Commission's recent decisions on the illegally demo'd Henry A. Darling home. As you can probably surmise, he'll be bringing his at times inadvertently comedic attorneys.

Dear Mayor and City Council Members:

Our Planning Commission has made some improvements to the R-3 Zoning Code that we at Preserve Sierra Madre wholeheartedly support.  We understand that you will take up these amendments at tonight's City Council meeting.

We particularly like the idea of having some kind of design review for the R-3 Zone. While that can be done within the CUP requirements, its seems to us that its better to have it be a separate process since the CUP emphasis should be more on "use" and not "design". While Preserve Sierra Madre's emphasis has been on a concern for what happens in the R-1 Zone, we understand that what happens in the R-3 Zone can have a big impact on our city as well.

 Our Planning Commissions have worked very hard to make these improvements to the R-3 Zoning Code. We think there are very few cities that have the kind of expertise, experience and dedication that Sierra Madre has in its Planning Commission. We hope we can take full advantage of their efforts as long as these existing members are willing to serve our community.

We urge you to accept their recommendations without changes.

Thank you for your consideration.

Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre

Mod: Yesterday's PSM email. An historic survey is essential to this community.

Dear Supporters:

At Tuesday evening's meeting, our City Council unanimously approved the Planning Commission's recommendations to improve the R-3 Zoning Code. These improvements serve to advance the cause of preservation in Sierra Madre and we are grateful to both the City Council and our Planning Commissioners.

One of the last remaining major issues that we hope the City Council will consider in the near future is to have a historical survey done of all the properties in Sierra Madre. After what happened with the Henry A. Darling House located at 126 E. Mira Monte, the need to have this in place is more urgent than ever. Buyers would know in advance of buying a property as to whether the property has historical significance or not. Such a survey would prevent misunderstandings and prevent lawsuits.

As one example, the City of South Pasadena has their "historical inventory list," and realtors and buyers all know that if a property is on that list and someone intends to make exterior modifications, there will be additional scrutiny. It doesn't mean you can't make the modifications, it just means that you probably won't be able to turn a craftsman home into a glass modern. The time is now for the City Council to put this item on the agenda for further discussion and we would urge them to do so.

 Last but not least, we understand that the City Council will take up the issue of what to do about what's left of the home at 126 E. Mira Monte. The present owners submitted a request for an after-the-fact demolition permit and that was rejected by our Planning Commission. The owner has now appealed that ruling to the City Council. That hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 11th at 6:30 pm. We would urge our City Council not to undercut the decision of our Planning Commission.

Preserve Sierra Madre remains very concerned about what happened to that once majestic property with the extraordinary architectural details that were ripped out with abandon. All that remains is the timbers and a pile of rubble. We still can't fathom how the very house that was the catalyst for the City Council enacting an emergency demolition moratorium and later a permanent demolition ordinance could have been reduced to such a state.

Thank you for your support.

Steering Committee
Preserve Sierra Madre

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

31 comments:

  1. Another sad testament to lack of City Hall oversight when it comes to preserving Sierra Madre to generations to come rather city hall bending over and giving away the family jewels for a political favor or a backroom pay off to make the political merry go round keep rolling around. Stop the insanity and enact hardcore laws that protect all of Sierra Madre's buildings and properties. Lift a finger for council representatives who will control city hall and it's out of control short sightedness.

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    1. Yes enact hardcore laws that protect all of Sierra Madre's buildings and properties from their owners.

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    2. The more Sierra Madre controls development and mansionization, the higher property values get. Funny how that works.

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  2. Hopefully the City Council puts an end to Kefalas's charade for good.

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  3. The City Council had discussed and voted on having an historic survey done.
    The Preserve group can find that meeting recorded, and "feel" good about city hall being forward thinking.
    126 E. Mira Monte; hopefully will move forward with the rebuild and the city will have one less lawsuit filed against it; from a lack of oversight and concrete follow-up, from the Planning Department.
    Learning curve with any new position, I suppose.
    CUP vs USE; words.
    The Design review "wording" encompass all of the above. A lack of "word" for the changes that have been made, was a sticking point.
    Suggestions for "word" replacement would be welcomed. Protections in the ordinaces, codes and zoning, remain in place.

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    1. Sierra Madre needs to stop kissing the butts of scofflaws. Throw the book at Kefalas.

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    2. It's easier to have an opinion, than seek the truth apparently.
      So 9:44 you would prefer to see the house rot to oblivion than have the darling house rebuilt to what it was? Chop off your nose to spite your face?

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    3. Hey 10:21A donate it as a park. The least you can do.

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  4. Preserve sierra Madre has lost all credibility. They continue to spread this narrative about illegal demolition at 126 e Mira monte. The application, plans and even hearing clearly stated that all those architectural details were to be replaced. If they had a problem with it, why didn't they say anything at the public hearing. What's more mind numbing is why the commissioners approved it and then had a conniption about it.
    But the part that really makes my head spin, is why they prefer to leave the house to rot, as opposed to allow the owner to rebuild the same damn house as the plan prescribes. How does that make any sense. If you say to punish, that makes no sense either, as there is nothing to punish, even the matter of the roof rafters has been discussed ad nausium with the commissioners and their is clearly a directive to remove some of them if not all (it's not clear). Either way, how do you blame him for doing what he said he would do and what he was told to do. This whole thing is just tragic and needs to end already.

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    1. So why did the Planning Commission send Kefalas packing?

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    2. 9:28A Is that you Mr. Only Place in Town? I was at the meeting as were many others. I witnessed your rudeness as well as the rudeness of the people you brought with you. Mr. K. Lives here and should know the feeling of the people with the previous owners. He knew all along what he was going to do and that he would hold out long enough hoping the city would cave. Than goodness we have the Planning Commission we have. You might be able to blame Vincent for the debacle but not the commission.

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    3. There you go lying again. Kefalas said nothing at that meeting. Nor did anyone there to support him. What is wrong with you?

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  5. They punted to the city council. That wasn't a logical decision otherwise.

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    1. They did not give Special K his after the fact permit. Now he can do his happy feet tap dance for the City Council. Somebody cue "Mr. Bojangles."

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  6. Just like the Sierra Madre Preserve group and poster 9:43am. ; emotions are fine if educating one's self, follows.
    Stay current on city "business", remain vigilant, attend city meetings from time to time; research "business", before writting and sending out group email.
    Happy 4th of July week!

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    1. I specifically asked for butter on my sourdough toast.

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    3. 9:58A I don't understand what you're trying to say.

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    4. Wants to put you on group email list?

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    5. He's begging for spelling lessons.

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  7. If the pirates are allowed to do as they like with no fear of the law, and City Hall folds up like a cheap suit case everytime they stamp their feet, the we are going to have development anarchy. Kiss goodbye to your home equity.

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  8. Anybody see the city mamager's special email that went out yesterday. He skillfully made the case for a huge tax increase next year by showing us how big our wayer bond and Calpals obligations are.

    He scares me.

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    1. Crazy new idea coming out of City Hall. Running a tax hike campaign based on something approaching the truth. Who'd a thunk it?

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    2. Must be an act of desperation.

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  9. There is a wonderful magic here in Sierra Madre. 40 years ago, there was a group of people who came together to fight over-development, especially in the hillsides. Through the decades, different groups have formed and fought the same threats, the efforts by greedy people to make us too big for our resources. It's a marvel that the town has lasted as long as it has. It's because some residents are willing to step up and work at it, as another group steps down. Bless the latest group of dedicated people, Preserve Sierra Madre.

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    1. But they didn't stop one carter. So what did they do?

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    2. Who pray tell did stop one Carter then?

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    3. Seen any houses up there, Mr. Peepers?

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    4. Don't see any nature there either

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