Thursday, October 11, 2012

The ALF: What A 60,000 Square Foot Building Might Actually Look Like

I received a postcard yesterday urging me to cast a "Yes" vote on the Kensington. As I have stated before, I am on the fence about this one and have yet to make up my mind exactly how I plan to vote. But I have been giving it all some thought, which is what we as citizens in the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Sierra Madre are supposed to do. Or at least so the theory goes.

As I looked over this glossy and quite attractive card it occurred to me that the "architectural perspectives" of this 60,000 square proposed structure often shown to us are quite pleasantly small and in keeping with what we might wish to see in our downtown area.

I have duplicated here one of the iterations of the Kensington provided to us by the developer. It is an earlier representation, and not the current post card version of what is to be built here should Measure ALF carry. The storefronts insisted upon by some folks aren't present, but it is fairly typical of what has been shown to us by the developer over the course of this process. As they so often say. It kind of looks like a ranch estate of some sort. Perhaps something that might fit comfortably onto a lot just down the street from you.

Pictured below are a couple of representations of 60,000 square foot structures that can be found on the Google Images site. I picked these two at random in order to provide another architectural perspective of what a 60,000 square foot building could look like. There are others available on Google Images should you wish to see more. Notice how much larger they appear to be than the Kensington pictures.
I suppose that what we have been seeing depends on how the ALF has been represented by those wishing to create a perspective that you, the intended audience, can feel comfortable with. It is their dime, after all. There is a lot that can be done with pictures, and even a 60,000 square foot project can be made to look somewhat petite.

But with all of this in mind, is what we have been shown on such things as yesterday's nicely produced post card truly representative of what this building is going to look like once it is built? Or is it actually an attempt to make it seem not quite so large? An issue the developer would likely, and wisely given the intended audience, wish to avoid.

When I have discussed the Kensington with people who are far more familiar with architectural design than I will ever be, that is what comes up the most. People have no idea just how large a building this is going to be, and that there could be some significant buyer's remorse here in town once it gets built.

The written descriptions we have been offered do not give us much real clarity on the size issue either. On Bill Coburn's Sierra Madre News.Net website there is a February 2012 article entitled "Proposed Kensington Assisted Living Facility Project" (click here) that discusses the issue of building size.

The facility design involves a two-story, "H" shaped building envelope totaling approximately 58,000 gross square feet and offering up to 75 resident suites, administrative offices, and resident common areas for dining, living and socializing. Other spaces and facilities will be provided for fitness, physical therapy, wellness activities, along with staff offices, commercial kitchen and commercial laundry. Common use gardens, patios and sitting areas will also be incorporated throughout the facility.

The project sits on 1.84 acres of land, at the corner of Hermosa Ave. and Sierra Madre Blvd., directly across from City Hall, the Police Department and the Fire Station. The project site is made up of two contiguous parcels, the southernmost of which covers about 2/3s of the site, and is zoned commercial, and the northernmost of which is zoned R-3 and covers the remaining 1/3 of the property. The Specific Plan proposes site-specific changes to the General Plan and to Zoning Codes to allow the use of the property for use as an Assisted Living Facility.

As you can clearly see, there is not a lot to go on here, either. Again, not much has been shared on the size and neighborhood perspective issue, though Bill's mastery of antiseptic language is clearly intact. Exactly what kind of impression this building will make upon our downtown area once it is built remains unclear.

One more thought before we call this one finished. Back during the so-called process leading up to Measure ALF being placed on the ballot there was an awful lot of concern given to Measure V. With much of the conversation being about whether we would be getting to vote on the Kensington. The suspicion being that our friends at City Hall, along with the Mayor, were going to use this project as an opportunity to settle some old grudges and beat us out of our right to vote on over-sized downtown projects such as this one. And yes, I was one of those who was very concerned about this.

But lately I have been having some second thoughts. Can it be that maybe we spent a little too much time talking about the vote, and not quite as much on what exactly it is that we will be voting on? Maybe just a little too much about the poke and not enough about the pig?

And rather than concentrating on what exactly this quite possibly humongous pile is going to look like, or exactly how large a presence it is going to have there amongst all of our quaint little shops and businesses, we instead were content to refight the battles of 2007.

Fortunately for us we still do have that vote, and while we might not have properly participated in the kinds of conversation we needed to have back during the planning process, we certainly still have the opportunity and time to have it now.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

96 comments:

  1. Not enough water, and how much profit will SCE make to keep this thing cool? I'm voting no.

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  2. Looks good, when do we start?

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  3. The post card lies!

    Where are the mountain views in the background?

    Where are the backs of the homes that are along Monticito to the north?

    Where is the real perspective?

    It you were around when some condos were built along the south side of the first block of east Laurel you would have seen a similar artist rendition: pretty, just can't waint to move in, nowhere near the real perspective on size and overlording that really pounded the neighborhood.

    I will never forgt the astonishment expressed by one of the Planning Commisioners at the time: "We approved this?!"

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  4. You are right on about being so concerned about the poke and not the pig. I publicly stated that I thought it was a good project, namely because I was so tired of hearing about "that eyesore," especially when campaigning for Don and MaryAnn, who got blamed by some (ridiculous, I know). I don't believe for a minute that "our Sierra Madre seniors" will be able to live out their days there - they won't be able to afford it.
    Billy Shields was honorable in calling for the Measure V vote, which was my main concern. That said - this project is too big, will use too many of our precious resources. I'm leaning toward voting No.

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  5. The project is not perfect. After all, the last thing this town needs is more aging hippie boomers. But it's good enough. And after we replace the police department we'll have enough extra cash to import Perrier to shower with. Let's not be nihilists. Let's vote yes.

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    1. I am not a nihilist, and I resent the insinuation. I am a Groucho Marxist. Whatever it is, I'm against it.

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    2. 75 toilets (1.6gal) flushing twice a day...240gal/day, 1,680gal/week, 6,720gal/month.
      Thats not taking into account showers,cooking,washing clothes and sprinklers. Thought we are running out of water... Three NO votes from our household! Billy and his K group can stick it where the sun don't shine!

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    3. BS, 7:17, we need more hippie boomers!

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    4. Yes, the toilets will take a lot, but the worse by far is the industrial laundry. The linens require constant washing.

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    5. Outsource the laundry! No water and no payroll taxes for the laundress.

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  6. Can any if the readers provide an example of an acceptable looking structure that already exists on the main streets? Taylor's is ugly. City hall to me is borderline ugly. The big church at the north end of Baldwin has some architectural merit but looks way out if scale and context. The rec. center looks cheap. Can any new non-residential structure meet popular opinion?

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    1. I believe the answer to your query is "no". Why? Because there is nothing architecturally acceptable on Sierra Madre Blvd if it were to be build new today. Downtown is ugly. Ugly beyond trying to salvage or recreate. Nothing smaller than the planned ALF would pencil out to meet the developers' financial requirements. If the "No's" win, the project will go away and we will wait some unknown period of time to have another unsuitable project appear - most likely condos.

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    2. I think Beantown looks nice. It has a funky bohemian feel that is very kicked back and relaxing.

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    3. Is our town in a beauty contest?

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    4. We are an acquired taste. Unfortunately there are a lot of people trying to acquire it.

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    5. One of the reasons we bought here was the lack of pretentiousness. Another was the water. Are both at risk?

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    6. 8:07- by all means, yes.

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    7. paint whatever it is bright purple. i tell you, it brightens up even the drabbest of greys.

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    8. The SNF would make a grand Halloween event site for kids.

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  7. If anyone is fooled by these renderings as to what the project will actually look like is one of the 47 percent group that will never get it. These projects would never fit on the site at SNF. There to large and to tall. Reminds me of the rendering posted as the replacement for Howies. A developer would never spend the millions to do this. Pure propaganda to stop the project.

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    1. "There to large and to tall."

      Damn. They're winning the pre- dementia vote.

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    2. This isn't the real "Steve". An imposter. Too negative. The real "Steve" is peppy, Really, internet sunshine. This is a coat tailer "Steve". Don't be fooled.

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    3. Copycat Steves? That is worse than running out of water!

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  8. I have this theory about Measure ALF. Most people from Sierra Madre going to the polls are not going to know what it is. There are so many ballot propositions and tax begging questions that people are going to get lost. They just won't vote on it. It will be kind of like judges. A small determined minority, and from either side, can carry this thing.

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  9. Did you notice that on the Kensington pictures there are trees blocking the view of where the building ends? It is done on both sides.

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  10. Steve (the one and only)October 11, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    Ok Miss smarty pants 7:46 let me correct my grammar for you. The project is much to large in scale for the SNF site. Does that sit better with your perfect little ears? And 7:50 thanks for the compliment about being peppy. Im the real Steve, always have been, and there has never been any imposters that I have seen. Steve or Steve L.
    Build the ALF 3 stories, craftsman style or California mission architecture and get on with this project.

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    1. "Ok Miss smarty pants 7:46 let me correct my grammar for you. The project is much to large ..."

      Try again.

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    2. 8:08, Ms. Pants was referring to the use of the preposition "to" for the adverb "too," and you have delusions of grandeur if you think the name 'Steve' on a thread of comments is in your sole possession.

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    3. 8:12 is childish. I actually agree with Steve.

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    4. wearing my heart on my steveOctober 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      that way it looks like disney's california adventure: nice, new..... and vacant.

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  11. Throughout the hearings, residents got up and talked about inadequate parking, excessive consumption of water, and loss of mountain views.

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  12. Almost everyone I know is voting NO.
    Look, we are running dangerously low on water, not as bad as Bruce claims. There is an alternative to call in our credits from Arcadia.
    The people who are voting yes on this ALF, they know this, however, like the DSP, they are gambling, not the same situation, but gambling none the less.
    They are banking that we'll have a big rainy season and fill up the water supply again. I hope we do, but we just because we want that to happen, doesn't mean it will.
    They are also gambling about the economy. What if this project goes the way of One Carter?
    It's just not a good time to do this project. It really isn't.
    Again, I hope we do have a big rain season, I hope the economy improves enough to make this thing fly.....but hope isn't enough and there are very serious consequences if the drought continues and the economy contiues to implode.

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    1. Why isn't the city council proposing a WATER COMMISSION?????.....that is what we need here in town. The last thing we need is a "green commission".
      I notice all the city council members are promoting YES on the ALF....while I respect two of the new members......I don't think you guys are correct on this issue. I sure hope you make up for this by demanding we get a Water Commission and not a Green Commission.
      If you guys are in favor of small government, and against this insane development scheme....you will really think about this one.

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    2. The Green Commission is just another Buchanan ploy to push transit village development. The man is bonkers.

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    3. I think the economic consideration is a valid one.

      As far as I am concerned, regardless of which presidential candidate gets elected, the economy IS going to tank after the first of the year.

      Therefore, if this project gets built, we could be looking at an empty, 60,000 square foot building for years to come, dead trees, weeds and all.

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  13. In the first set of Kensington drawings, the mountains do not exist - they disappeared.
    In the drawings Dorn Platz made of the Stonehouse and Carter project, the neighborhoods around them did not exist - just blank spaces. Developer myopia?

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  14. Steve (the one and only)October 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    Timing is everything in the world of development. One Carter failed not because of an incompetent developer but because of the citizens of Sierra Madre who got in the way of the process of entitlement approvals. By the time construction began the economy went south coupled with legal troubles etc. If One Carter would have been approved timely and began construction we would have a beautiful neighborhood up there much like the neighborhood that was built on the Anokia (Baldwin) site below. The citizens are now left with an eye soar to look at up there. The same thing is going to happen at the SNF. The opposition could cause this project to go away. Then we will have to wait for another to come along. Who knows how long that will be. With the prospects of the economy and the fiscal cliff we are facing, it could be a decade or more. Or with the pent up demands of our economy and the possibility of a business friendly administration we may get a project that suits the desires of the people of SM. Its a gamble. In the meantime, I dont want to hear complaining of the blight of our main street if this project doesnt get built. Be careful what you ask for.

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    1. Though it is clearly impossible to penetrate the self-validating fog around the brain of the poster at 8:39, it must be said that the plan for the Carter property was so bad that a pro-development Planning Commission rejected it. The lots are oddly shaped, too small, too expensive, and the only ones that have sold were the premier view lots, the ones that will be the greatest eyesores for the town. They were bought on the first week they were available, by flippers. The developer was a failure in every possible way, and the 4 people who agreed to go into business with him were failures as stewards of the town.

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    2. Ah, yes. Anokia. A gated, guarded community for the very special, and affluent. Their children do not attend public school and their groceries are delivered. Just what Sierra Madre is all about. Private policing, 24-hour surveillance. Right there next to the 210. Did the fortunate inhabitants check their air quality before they bought into the grand scheme?

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    3. Doesn't an 8,000 sq. ft. house on a 15,000 sq. ft. lot in a natural debris basin that also happens to be in a known fire zone sound like a great investment?

      I notice the development interests (Steve included) like to blame Sierra Madre residents for the failure of the developers bad real estate schemes.

      It's residents fault that the developers missed their window of opportunity at the height of the economic bubble to profit at the expense of existing residents and business owners.

      When they suggest that the project would have turned out "beautifully", they were not referring to aesthetics, they were referring to their unrealized yet fantasized about, profits.

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    1. Someone forgot to go to anger management this week.

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  16. What is an "eye soar?" Does it have something to do with flights of the imagination?

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  17. to, two, too---their, there, they're

    lots of ways for the spelling/syntax/grammar challanged private and public school graduate to get messed up with.

    some of us grew up on the Katsenjammer Kids (I am too lazy to go look up the actual spelling) and that funny take on English spelling and grammar.

    not punctuating the first word of these sentences is deliberate here.

    my spelling is so bad (in five languages) that I have an English spellling gadget next to me at this very momment.

    and I bought a book years ago when my son was in elementary school: "Spel is a Four Letter Word."

    never start a sentence with a conjunction.

    then there is the observation made in the introduction to the book, entitled: "English, The Mother Tongue and How it Got That Way!" regarding the word "fly," pointing out that any language that uses the same word spel(l)ed the same way for an insect, a means of air travel and the opening to a man's pants, is bound to get itself in trouble.

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    1. The Italian word for "fly" is Mosca.

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    2. eats, shoots, and leaves

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    3. A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

      "Why?" asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

      "Well, I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
      The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

      "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

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  18. ya man give him a break. He's just waking up from a night of smoking weed.

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    1. Good point. Perhaps Steve suffers from herbal dementia.

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    2. doesn't that come from an herbal colonic?

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  20. I have it on my 2011 calendar Mr. Fly's last city Council meeting and I can share that with the Tattler readership so we can proclaim and celebrate a full flyfree year, unless, that it, we have to recall the sighting of Mr. Fly in Kirsting Court since that glorious day last November.

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    1. Maybe Mayor Moran can declare 2013 as Mosca-Free Year.

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    2. Sierra Madre can be declared a "No Fly Zone."

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    3. Maybe the Venus Fly Trap can be declared our official plant.

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  21. The ALF is huge, a water hog, and it doesn't fit in Sierra Madre. The only reason Shields and his partners are here is because they can get a good deal on that land, they figured we were an easy sell, and they will make millions on the place. It's just business.

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  22. Suggested name change..The Kensington to The Boondoggle!Where is all that frenzied hand wringing over our diminished water supply gone?Conveniently forgotten?This doesn't pass the smell test!

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    1. For those who thought City Council and City Management were trying to sabotage the Kensington project, perhaps Bruce's announcement was designed to do just that. The issue most likely to unite the residents against the ALF is a lack of water. And so what is happening here? The Tattlers are going b**s*** over how much water the assisted living residents will use toileting and showering and itsn't that reason enough to vote "NO" on Measure ALF? The marketplace will ultimately decide whether the project is a go, or even successful. If the plug gets pulled on Billy Shields we'll win at every stage. After demolition? We can seed with grass and enjoy the park. After erection? We have a lovely new combined library, medical office, and candle shop. All with Mr. Fish and Mr. Shields paying the property property taxes on the white elephant.

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    2. All I can say is thank God for the Tattler. Otherwise we would never be heard in this city. They never want to hear what we have to say. They just want to work around us.

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  23. The developer -Billy Shields is lying to us just like City Hall L I E S to us.

    The picture on the mailer is WRONG. It shows the 60,000 sq ft building at ground level. This monstrosity will be perched about 4 feet above Sierra Madre Blvd. The result will be the top of the building will be about 34 feets above the street.

    Where would you stand besides the top of the Congregational Church to get that view?

    The City never asked Shields to make the project smaller.

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    1. One bit smaller would not be acceptable as a money maker.
      They're not in this for their health ya know.
      Shields announced early and loud that 95 residents was their non-negotiable lowest number.

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    2. Gee,That's a surprise.

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    3. And of course our concern city was sympathetic.One has to be impressed how in lock step our city is with those who wish to remake our community along the lines of say,Monrovia.They don't really care what is built as long as it covers our three square miles.

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  24. Go to Google Maps and crank in the address: 8332 Huntington Drive San Gabriel, CA 91775
    Click on the picture in the upper left hand corner, it will give you the street view. You can navigate down Huntington Drive (arrows on the white street line) and turn the corner at Sunnyslope to get a better feel for what the massing would be like for ALF. Except this isn't elevated by 4 feet like the actual site is. It's actually smaller. You'll notice that there's no parking here, either. (Go down Sunnyslope and then turn and look into the driveway)

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    1. Wow. An old people factory.

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    2. This facility is Assisted Living, 1 and 2 bedroom, Alzheimer's and Dementia care as well, starts at 4K/mo (services extra), doesn't take Medicare/Medicaid. So nobody drives, it has shuttle services and "outings". It's not someplace that people actually live in like they do at home.

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  25. Don't build it. Let's let it sit empty for 6 more years and then put condos there, instead.

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    1. I always thought a skateboard park would be great for that site. It is across from the PD, it is large enough for some good runs, plus it would be something for the least served members of our community, teenagers. Maybe the current property owners would like to donate it.

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    2. That's a good one!Ha Ha.

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    3. I know for a fact that the owners of that property care deeply about Sierra Madre and want to give us something that will do our community a lot of good.

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    4. Sometimes an empty lot is better.



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    5. We already have one of those. It is called Goldberg Park.

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    6. Please 2:42 pm, enllighten the rest of us. Who are the owners of that property? The owners who care so deeply that they closed the skilled nursing facility and left the property to settle into decay and blight in the middle of Sierra Madre? Is it not Emile Fish the notorious liquidator of medical sites across the county? Could it be that the Kensington folks have actually purchased the site? Or are we cared deeply about by individuals who prefer to remain unknown to the rest of us simple folk? Out with it! Who owns the dirt!

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    7. well, ok, cool. build another health care facility- this time call it "assisted living" sans kitchenettes...... in fact...... call it whatever the hell you want so that it slips by the voters who are stupid anyway- and THEN, when it goes belly up in a few years like the last one did, lets just have some real fun and rethink it as sierra madre's own Herbertstraße- you know, just like the one by the police station in st. pauli. that would be rad.

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  26. So...what happens if one day, the owners of Kensington decide to get out of the Assisted Living Facility business and can't find new owners? What the hell do you do with a building like that?

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    1. Not a problem..don't build it damn thing to begin with.

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  27. stupid question 5:52. The assisted living business isnt going anywhere soon. Your question is like saying what happens if the sun doesnt come up tomorrow what are we going to do. Like I said in my earlier posts there are people in this town who dont want any growth building or change period. They want to keep it like it was the 1955 years. What this town will end up with and I can guarantee this, is an eye sore on our blvd directly across from city hall to remain for years to come if Kennsington goes away. SMEAC here in town I went to the founding meetings. Afte looking around at the morons and goons that attended the SMEAC meetings, I wanted no part of that group.

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    1. 8:20 ~ Wasn't that building a hospital or clinic before it was shut down. I guess there is no longer a need for health care. But since you can obviously see into the future, perhaps you should put down a nice pick 6 bet at the Oak Tree Meet. That building will serve only one purpose. Not a stupid question... but a stupid answer, jerk!

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    2. Steve has anger issues.

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    3. Who could resist your arguments 8:20, when you show such gracious appreciation of others?

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    4. The business of elder care is going to go through the roof, the sheer number of baby boomers retiring and the percentage requiring care of this nature will go up tremendously, having a facility like this shows to the rest of the country we are a forward thinking community that cares for our elder countrymen, and women...it's not always about you.

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    5. At $75,000 per annum they are going to have to go to the rest of the country to recruit residents. Obviously precious few of them are going to come from Sierra Madre. This is 1% care.

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    6. 10:49, that's part of the hustle - we're doing this for the elderly out of love and respect.
      Not so. They are only doing it for the money, and as soon as one of their residents gets too sick, or reaches certain levels of requiring assistance, they have to go someplace else. They are no longer welcome to live there. There's a guaranteed quick turn over for the majority of their 'clients.' There is no skilled nursing at this site. The elders would be much, much better off at a place that offers at least assisted and skilled nursing. That way, they don't have the trauma of moving in illness and advancing age to a whole new place, with new caretakers.

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  28. I find it intersting how the bloggers here are so critical of developers making a profit. Duh. What do you think? Do you think developers and contractors work for free? Of course they make a profit. Why be in business if there wasnt any money in it. Im sure some of you are lawyers and doctors or business people yourselves. Look at yourselves would you do what you do for free. Theres not as much money in development as you may think.

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    1. Does that meet we can build a nuclear power plant here? If it makes money, then there can't be any reason not to, right?

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    2. i like the brothel idea better, but hey, radiation is cool, too.

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    3. I'm not against profits. Make some in my business myself. But I do not make it a practice to lie and wheedle, to trick and disguise my real intentions. Those devious strategies are at the heart of the development/realty business.

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  29. Big lie told at 8:20 p.m. about going to the founding meetings of SMEAC, then badmouthing the founding members. Who on earth could that be? Organized in 1970 or thereabouts, SMEAC started recycling in SM and supported one of the first efforts to prevent overbuilding on the hillsides at Chantry Flat gate.

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    1. SMEAC is a great organization.
      I wish they were more political - for example, joined in the fight for Stonehouse and Carter.
      But the poster who tried to insult them is obviously incapable of recognizing good people when s/he sees them.

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  31. I would rather look at the unsightly mess on SMBlvd, after all we have had to put up with it for a looooong time now, haven't we, then give Billy Shields money to over build in our lovely small town.

    Think about it. They will use up water to build it. To use it, To keep it going. It will be a gargantuan mess out of balance with the rest of the street.

    We are always in fear of no water. So no more building in Sierra Madre Period.
    No on Bruce the Bully and Kensington.

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  32. That building will only be good for one thing... 75 toilets... must be a hell of a drain system...

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  33. This will be a hog of a building. Wrong project. We are voting NO.

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