Friday, July 3, 2009

One Carter: Sierra Madre's Luxury Death Trap?

That One Carter remains on the wild frontier of development here in the San Gabriel Valley is a matter of little doubt to those of us who have lived in Sierra Madre for a while. We've seen the floods, and the fires, and know what the potential is for earthquake damage when one of those inevitably shows up as well. And all of these things will happen again, and much sooner than any of us might wish.

But now because of the failed nature of the development projects there, a concerted effort seems to be in the process to move the 29 so-called "luxury lots" to unsuspecting out of town customers. One reason for this being the prices are so absurdly high and we know the real value of these things. But also because the potential for natural disaster up on the hillside seems so obvious to those who have witnessed and understand the dangers. 

So in the spirit of making sure that all are aware of what the potential hazards are here, plus taking into account all the usual legal requirements the developers need to fulfill, here is the draft of a letter being prepared for the benefit of the party now in the process of attempting to sell the lots at One Carter Luxury Estates.

To: (*** involved parties ***)
Fr: Concerned Sierra Madre Residents
Re: 1 Carter Ave. lot sales / California State Disclosure Statements
Mr./Ms. xxxxx,

Regarding the lots that you have listed for sale, you will be required to make the following disclosures:

1 - This property has been designated by FEMA a Special Flooding Hazard Area.

2 - This property has been designated, Pursuant to Sections 51178/51179 Govt. Code: Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

3 - This property is designated,Pursuant to Section 4125 - Public Resources Code - Section 4291: A Wildland Area That May Contain Substantial Forest Fire Risks and Hazards. 

4 - This property is designated, Pursuant to section 2622 of the Public Resources Code as An Earthquake Fault Zone.

5 - This property is designated, Pursuant to section 2696 of the Public Resources Code as a Seismic Hazard Zone.

6 - Et cetera
A) there was a murder on this property with the victim having been shot multiple times and left for dead on the site. 
B) The One Carter area is also believed by some to be an ancient burial ground of the Tongva/Gabrielino Indian Tribe. Representatives of the Tribe attended the One Carter hearings to protest development of this site. 
C) Also the upper reaches of the west and east ridge of the central canyon west of the barn/cottage were burned over in the April 2008 wildfire.

One other thing: Lest we forget, it was this City Council (see link) that enabled what would eventually become the One Carter we see today. That they did not take into account that those eventually buying properties up there would find themselves in harm's way seems both inconceivable and highly irresponsible to many living in Sierra Madre today.

It's our duty to make sure everybody knows all there is to know about the One Carter Estates properties. After all, we are The Tattler!


  1. As has been said on this site many times before, it's
    always about money with this bunch. That was what
    carried the most weight when this unfortunate call
    was made on One Carter in 2005.

  2. It has often been referred to as "The Triangle of Death" fire, flood, earthquake.
    This is interesting about the Tongva and Gabrielino Indians. I've heard about this for years from people up in the canyon who have researched it.
    I'm not sure if the realtors will ever disclose this, but we should make sure they do.
    And as for the murder.....I think there is a law that requires them to disclose that information to prospective buyers. If not, it's one more thing we should make sure they do so.
    Certain prospective buyers of those homes, if they are ever built, will be very interested in that information.
    How the HELL could FOB STOCKLY, ENID JOFFE, JOHN BUCNANAN and TONJA TORRES given the green light to DORN PLATZ to develop the property as they planned to? The entire planning commission reviewed the project and turned it down. They LISTENED to the DOZENS of EXPERT residents who gave DOZENS if not HUNDREDS of valid reasons not to approve, and voted unanimously to reject the Dorn Platz project.
    Again, JOHN BUCHANAN, ROB STOCKLY, ENID JOFFE, TONJA TORRES disregarded the advice of experts and the wishes of the majority of residents and okayed this project!
    John Buchanan....member of the Edison attorneys dealing with employee relations, I believe he always reminds us. Tonja Torres, another 3rd rate attorney who last I heard works out of her home. Rob Stockly, a former bank employee and Enid Joffe, a former social worker turned solar panel sales business. These are the "experts" who made this horrible decision.
    Let's not make the same mistake again with Stonehouse or our downtown.

  3. During the recent fire, would lives been lost trying to protect Maranantha High School if it had been built? I hope not.

  4. A professional sign must be made and posted on private property near the 1 Carter site containing the above information. The sellers will probably inform the buyers in very small print at the close of escrow. They buyers will sign the papers but not understand what they signed. I'LL CONTRIBUTE TO THE SIGN

  5. What's with that map? Why aren't any of the homes on north Baldwin & Carter shown? Little developer magic, just wipe out the neighborhood?

  6. Thanks 8:20.

    You must be one of the "honest" realtors in town.
    Believe it or not people, there are a few of them on Sierra Madre, only a few, but they are honest and up front with the folks.

    This is a great idea......and I'll sure try to push it, count Old Kentucky in for a contribution.

    Thanks again for posting that 8:20.

  7. Pasta,
    they weren't just going to build a High School up there, oh no, they had much bigger plans.

  8. Anon @8:20, small print at the close of Escrow? You're not suggesting that some realtors would slip things by buyers, are you? Caveat emptor y'all.

  9. The night the council voted for this, the audience was stunned. There was a painful realization that the many reasonable arguments against the development and for better alternatives (fewer houses in the flat land portion for example), had not been heard. The majority of the council was not able to grasp the intelligent solutions put forth by the residents.
    Let's remember George Mauer voted "no." In fact, he said it would be a "black day for Sierra Madre" to agree to Greg Galletly's plan.

  10. The damage that was done to Sierra Madre by that city council was immense. If there is to be any monument to the harm they've caused this community, it should be One Carter. That Stockly could even think of running for office again is a clear sign that he lacks even the intellect for reflection.

  11. You need to remember all those council members who did that were beholding to Bart TITAN Doyle.
    All of them.

  12. I agree Mr. Finewine.
    At the time, the city attorney announced, more than once, that he was confident the city would win any of the lawsuits the developer/s had filed - including the absurd Religious Land Use one from Maranatha. That council majority didn't listen to the attorney, and instead focused on losing a lawsuit for unfair "taking." Such an expensive attorney, you would think they'd pay attention to him.

  13. Has anybody calculated the bill to present to that shenanigan council? Stonehouse, One Carter, the failed DSP & consequent need for the Measure V election, city hall staff expenses up by what percent, audit failures, total consultant fees....and total legal fees because they didn't stand their ground and fight developers at the beginning of the Carter mess, but sent out the news that we were ripe for the taking...anybody want to guesstimate what the council of 2004 cost us?

  14. Ah yes, the ubiquitous Mr. Doyle. I hear he is keeping Joe Mosca's brain frozen in his freezer, having replaced it with the cerebellum of a mynah bird.

  15. But Mr. FW, Mynah birds are true to their own natures.

  16. Anonymous III @ 9:19 ...Great post, and an important question. And perhaps we could break that down into subcategories. How much Sierra Madre lost when Stockly was mayor, Joffe, etc. Their incompetence and venality practically killed this town.

  17. Have they sold any lots yet?

  18. Annonymous III

    Don't forget the legal costs Zimmerman and Watts had to pay for due to bogus and mean spirited law suits by Beth Buck and Glenn Lambdin!
    Measure V costs the city plenty, and it cost all of us who supported it plenty in time, money and energy. We have only Joe Mosca to thank for that.
    We can't blame that on the 2004 council.
    Joe ran on the platform of stopping the DSP, he did just the opposite as soon as he was elected and forced Zimmerman and Watts to stop the DSP with a city vote. The city council of Mosca, Buchanan and Joffe could have saved the city a ton of money, had they gone along with what the PEOPLE wanted.....but it was more important to them and the Downtown Investor's Club to do what pleased the BIA (BART the TITAN and Karma Bell)
    It was more important to please Judy Webb Martin and the CAR than the people of Sierra Madre.

  19. Old Kentucky, yes we can blame that 2004 council for necessitating Measure V. The DSP took a while to hatch. Joe was a relay developer supporter, as you so accurately describe.

  20. Just a thought..There have been over the years alleged "sightings" by the adjacent Canyon Residents.This area,contrary to rumors,was not used for burial but for ceremonial purposes.At least the the spectral "sightings"are in a festive mood.

  21. Maxine,
    I've heard all these stories as well, they've been around for decades.
    They may be festive in the Canyon, but at One Carter which was verified by tribal members may be different.
    The hideous murder is what bothers me. Hopefully, for any future residents at One Carter they didn't bother the Indian spirit energy.....I wouldn't count on it....... :0 !

  22. Right on Maxine! Thanks for pointing out the facts. Just one of many baseless claims made by these posters corrected.

  23. To poster at 11:10 (Judy Webb realtor)?

    Sir Eric's article isn't "baseless" and the sign will be put up so folks can read the real truth about the "triangle of death, if I can do anything about it.

  24. Hilarious! The only thing the dirts can even attempt to refute are ghosts? Bwaaahhh!

  25. That's correct 11:26

    For whatever reason One Carter sits on the "triangle of death" (fire, flood, earthquake) matters not, fact is it's real, it can be proven. It is not non-linear.
    It remains in the paradigm of science.

  26. I noticed that the sign at One Carter lists the name Robert Ho as the agent. Does this mean that there will be Ho Houses built there?

  27. What is clear about the site is that it would have been used by earlier peoples for sure - why? WATER. just like Stoneouse. Underground springs at both sites.

  28. Why would the City approve the building of McMansions on top of a water supply?

  29. Both sites. Underground springs.

  30. Great. Just what we need. Lawn fertilizer and God knows whatever else seeping into our water supply.

  31. You can count on it, 11:51. Pesticide soup. How else can the Mansions have mansiony landscaping?

  32. Why haven't we heard more about this water situation?

  33. Classic Dirt Think: Posting govt initiated warnings on properties is bad. Selling dangerous property to unwitting out of area people is good.

    These people have the ethical balance of sewer rats.

  34. Yep, either that or DIRTy rats, BK.

  35. Old Kentucky @ 12:27

    You should ask Rick and Margie Simpson, or any other RPSM "Steering Committee" member, such as Caroline Brown and Pat Birdsall. They were the ones that brought in Tim Brick, the MWD Board member representing the City of Pasadena to "consult" them.

    BTW: Has anyone ever gotten a proper accounting from the RPSM Steering Committee, for the 10's of Thousands of dollars that were contributed?

  36. The Carter water was discussed during the Carter hearings. But of course the council ignored it. Kind of inconvenient to their desire to build there. The Stonehouse water has been brought up more than once at public comment.

    1:39, interesting question. I wonder how much of that donated money went to pay the lawyer who advised RPSM that they were going to lose no matter what...

  37. Whether a sign goes up or not, the fire hazard, earthquake hazard and flooding zone all have to be disclosed on the Transfer Disclosure Statement shown to prospective buyers. A number of homes in California (especially recent construction) have been built in one of those areas, but three!! That's pretty extreme. The murder should be disclosed as a death but that could apply only to residential property and this is raw land. The Indian and wildlife issues were very significant to the development process and were "covered" in CEQA. I use quotes because the environmental impact report on that property was inadequate. And speaking of RPSM, no they never pursued any kind of litigation to stop the project after an admittedly inadequate EIR. Instead the RPSM leadership merely went to the city, cut a deal that benefited its leadership and then dropped the opposition to the project. There's some "leadership" for you!! Which reminds me, has anyone ever checked with the Secretary of State or even the City Clerk to see if they filed their disclosure statements? If they were a political action committee (and I'm betting they were), perhaps they filed a statement showing who contributed and how they spent the $$.

    I'm jes sayin

  38. Anon @ 1:44

    The lawyer was also a member of the RPSM "Steering Committee." His last name is Barron(?) I believe. His wife Patty, was one of the people that went up before the City Council a few months ago, along with the Simpsons and Compeans, demanding a significant reduction in permitting fees for the installation of solar power collectors. I guess they're still in business with Enid Joffe.

    Anyway, it seems as though the "Steering Committee" members were the beneficiaries of most of the money that was donated. Meantime, they sat on their hands and let the One Carter Development get approved.

  39. Bingo Doc Staccato and Anon 3:56!

    The RPSM Steering Committee really conned a lot of people in town, and are still running around conning people. Let's see, they pretend to be "Historical Preservationists," "Environmentalists," and "Political Activists." Some of them are even masquerading around as all three.

    The sad part is, that several of them are still getting away with it. I wouldn't be surprised if one or more were whispering in Sir Eric's ear once in a while.

    Oh Well! Good Luck anyway Sierra Madre.

  40. Anon @3:56, I think most people in town hate what happened up at Carter & I do too. But I watched a lot of those who fought against the development, including the Barrons - Patty wore a pink castle on her hip one night. Her husband made some very powerful speeches. I don't think everyone in RPSM was no good. They led the opposition to the developer, and it turned out that they failed. Probably a combination of factors.
    If you want to talk about dropping the ball, how about Forrest Harding? He's the guy who got a very nice deal - no houses by his property. I think that email is still floating around. Anybody got it?

  41. ex-RPSM supporterJuly 3, 2009 at 4:09 PM


    One Carter Settlement Agreement

    As you probably know, the City Council voted 4-1 to approve the One Carter settlement agreement (with 33 pages of conditions). The Council's rationale centered on the following issues:
    The entire property, even the area in the Hillside Management Zone, is zoned for residential development.
    If the application were denied, Sierra Madre would certainly be sued and a court would then decide on the tract map and the conditions for construction. Local control of the project could be lost.
    The most environmentally sensitive section (in the southeast portion of the property) was preserved as were 30 additional hillside acres. An application that began with 40 houses was reduced to 29.
    Most of the houses will be built in the valley area. Construction on the ridges and the slopes will be limited.
    Protected and unprotected trees on the ridges and slopes will be saved and grading will be minimized.
    There will be substantial saving to the city of legal costs associated with Maranatha litigation.
    The conditions for approval, the required permits, and other mandated approvals for actual construction will protect the city and limit what can be built on the property.
    A profound "thank you" and a look to the future
    We profoundly thank each and everyone of the nearly 2,000 citizens of our community who supported RPSM throughout our six-year campaign to defend our community’s village character and to protect its hillsides. The time that you invested, the depth of your understanding of the issues, and the sophistication of your public statements were extraordinary. It was an shining example of the very best of public participation in city government.
    We can all take pride in our accomplishments. We defeated a much more harmful plan for a hillside high school and we were instrumental in getting this project reduced from 40 to 29 home sites.
    We ask for your continued support in our commitment to aggressively monitor compliance with each and every condition for approval by any developer that seeks to actually construct homes on this property. We also will be active in the construction permit/approval process that must be held prior to construction on this property. We will shift our focus from the entire property to efforts to require very strict lot-by-lot environmental sensitivity and control.
    During five years of hearings, we all have learned that our hillside ordinance, tree ordinance, zoning regulations, and our general plan need to be tightened to preserve what remains of our hillsides. We urge you to join with us in supporting and assisting the City Council in strengthening Sierra Madre's protective ordinances.
    And we will stand ready to lead an effort to purchase this property for open space in the event that this project turns out to not to be an economically viable development. Who knows what the future may bring.
    The City Council, Planning Commission, and City Staff have earned our respect
    While many folks in our community were disappointed by the final decision on the Settlement Agreement, we would like to thank our elected and appointed representatives as well as our city staff for their earnest efforts to balance our citizens' preference for open space against this applicant's legally defensible property rights. They were all under enormous pressure. Agree with their decisions, or not, we recognize that all of their actions represented a sincere pursuit of the best possible outcome for the welfare of our city and its residents. They deserve our thanks and our respect.
    Warm regards,

  42. I wonder if Enid Joffe's friends, like the Goldbergs, had or have a financial interest in One Carter.

  43. Anon 4:09.....That's a good reminder of the hypocrisy of RPSM and its Board members, but Forrest Harding isn't still running around pretending to be a preservationist.

    As a matter of fact, after he got the concession he wanted from the City and Galletly, he's been almost non-existent in Sierra Madre politics.

  44. Wow. What an incredible load of horses*** that was. If One Carter is what represents preservation to these people then I guess they will be serving barbeque at their vegetarian picnic.

  45. That email was so destructive. What it did was confuse & upset most people who read it, and that meant valuable time was wasted in getting support for the referendum together.
    That referendum, which would have stopped the development cold, at least for a while, failed by just a small margin, right? I heard it was 100 signatures short, but I don't know for sure.
    Forrest's email caused just enough exhausted giving up to let the scraping & raping proceed.

  46. Anon @ 4:19 I wouldn't be surprised, considering how close she was and still is with the former RPSM steering committee members. Seems like Enid Joffe had a lot of conflicts of interest while she was on the City Council.

    I wonder what the statute of limitations are for that sort of thing. Sure would be nice to see at least one Dirt in jail.

  47. I nominate Rob Stockly for that honor, for failing to recuse himself from the Carter vote while working for a bank that had a deal with the developer.

  48. Sir Eric......a Bart Doyle troll has attacked your board....Forrest Harding, the pompous ass even uses his own name......needs to be run off.

    Forrest Harding!
    You are a fraud and a scoundrel, how dare you post on this board after what you did to the people of Sierra Madre.
    You support all the dirts, I've seen their political signs in your yard. Same thing goes for Rick and Margie Simpson.

    And to Anon. @1:39
    What the hell are you asking me to ask the "steering committee"???????
    I have nothing to do with those people. They don't speak to me and I don't speak to them.

  49. Someone asked where all the thousands in donations the bogus RPSM commttee got?
    It probably went to finance the campaigns of Enid Joffe, John Buchanan, Tonja Torres and Ron Brandley.
    I know a woman name of Chris Davis who used to live in the canyon and now lives out of State....donated $10,000 to Forrest Harding after the city council passed the deal to Dorn Platz, Chris was naive, she thought Forrest was a hero trying to save the mountain and the wild life.....she wanted him to pursue the fight to keep the property from being destroyed.
    A local attorney most of us know and love tried to get an injunction to stop the development.
    Forrest Harding and the Simpsons and their pals sabotaged the attempt.
    Chris Davis never had a chance....she never know about the fight the Friends of Sierra Madre tried to attempt.
    I have no idea if Forrest ever returned her money, I heard he did not.
    Shameful and probably criminal.
    I remember Chris Davis and she would have never given these criminals a dime had she known the truth.
    But old Forrest and the Simpsons really fooled everyone or so they think.
    We remember you Forrest and we all hate you.

  50. Researchers!
    Read Dr. Stacatto's post.
    Let's do it. Let's check on the sons of b*****s.
    Your books better be in order dirtbags!

  51. Now that the consequences of the "Preserve Sierre Madre" capitulation are plain for all to see, their words are as empty as their heads. Begone, sump.

  52. The only group of citizens who ever got anything done was SMRRD-SIERRA MADRE RESIDENTS FOR RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT led by Kurt Zimmerman, Don Watts and Kevin Dunn and the majority of voters.
    We stopped the GIANT developers, the BIA and the GREEDY realtors, the CAR.

  53. You said it 5:25....The ONLY Group!!! The First, The Last and "The Only Group of citizens who ever got anything done." And ever will.

    That's because they were smart enough to keep the mole that undermined every other group in town OUT of the day-to-day management of the organization. :-)

  54. This is THE source for NHD in So.Cal, no one was murdered at 1 Carter, the body was dumped their, and whose private property will this sign be posted on? jes askin..

  55. N.umb H.eaded D.irt

    And all they seem to want to talk about here is ghosties.

  56. I recall very distinctly that the email was not the only thing. When the referendum was circulated, Forrest told everybody NOT to support it. That referendum would have scuttled the settlement agreement with Galletly & Co. because it would have effectly stopped the statute the City agreed to enact. But while many people were interested in supporting this, Forrest Harding used his stature with the community to better his own situation--No houses in his backyard. The Simpsons were right alongside Forrest in his pact with the City. He agreed with the City to drop the objections if the City agreed not to place houses in his area. Of course, he didn't bother to mention that. The others simply followed his leadership in refusing to support the referendum. Oh, well, too late now.

  57. Natural Hazard Disclosure, required in all SFR transactions.

  58. Anon @ 5:25, you wrote "The only group of citizens who ever got anything done was SMRRD." That was a wonderful and hard fought victory to really preserve our town. (That word "preserve" is so misused, it has to have qualifiers!!! Really preserve, actually preserve, truly preserve - not preserve by developing beyond all recognition preserve.)
    But! The reason the town was here to be once again rescued was because of a long line of citizens who have contributed to the common good of Sierra Madre. One of my favorites is someone or some people I don't even know, those who insisted that we never allow traffic lights.
    We have a town because of ongoing efforts by good people to protect their homes.

  59. These comments are all over the place!
    Sir Eric, one of the things these responses suggest is that One Carter is a sore topic to many, and a bad mistake by a few.
    What a loss.

  60. I'm enjoying reading Forrests rationale for supporting the settlement. Fallacy no. 1: A court would decide the lots and configuration.

    That is not how it works. If there is a challenge to the City's decision, it is sent back to the city. Of course, the longer it drags on for the developer, the less money he stands to make. So delay inevitably harms the developer. If it had been delayed or with less density than the 20 lots you're so proud of, wouldn't that have been better.

    And as for residential zoning, there were 3 lots up there and no actual requirement to subdivide them. If the City had said No to the plans, there came a point in time when there was a very very real potential for that property to be purchased as open space park property. There was money in the wings that could have been cultivated had there been a willing seller. How better to make Galletly into a willing seller than tell him that he can't build his grandiose development?

    Now the City is stuck with subdivided land that is going to be a legal tangle from hell to revert to acreage -- which still is the best option given the current situation.

    May I respectfully suggest that you never play poker? You'd lose your shirt because you can't tell when you're winning.

  61. The problem with Forrest (and so many of his ilk) is they will do all they can to harm the community and line the pockets of those they are beholden to, yet at the same time want to be seen as persons of high moral purpose.

    How different is he from Joe and John in that regard?

  62. The One Carter debacle was the most shameful development schemes ever perpertrated against the residents of Sierra Madre, fully supported by the likes of Enid Joffe, Glenn Lambdin, Rob Stockley, Tanya Torres, Bart Doyle, John Buchanan, and so many other development-minded profit mongerers lurking in the political background (like some of the major players in RPSM). It was a well-orchestrated movement which did not count on the major opposition it would face in this town, but it won anyway (helps to have a corrupt city council and planning commission in place to do the dirty work). This will remain a black mark on Sierra Madre's recent history until somehow the developers are forced to do the right thing, if that's even possible anymore.

    As for the mole in SMRRD, at least one was unfortunately NOT excluded from the group and she worked her black magic (pun actually intended) for many months, divulging personal information to the dirts and subjecting the core members of the group to harrassment, badgering, terrorism and vandalism of personal property, from computers to cars. She's now in hock to the tune of over $40,000 for other dirty deeds she committed following the passage of Measure V, which is at least some proof that her karma is catching up with her and maybe the only vindication some of her victims will see.

  63. I grew up here along with who feel a sense of Sadness everytime I see One CARTER DEVELOPMENT.
    AND THEY SAY ONLY "NATIVE AMERICANS" HAVE A STAKE IN THIS, I am a native American and Sierra Madrean as well.


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