|Carter Castles take it on the chin|
The architect presently known as Adele Chang was in the hizzy to present three only modestly modified versions of what she had attempted to get approved a few times before. Yesterday evening was her last chance to get the Big 3 McMansions credentialed and on their way to fulfilling the hopes and desires of the poor slobs that had paid vast sums of dough for lots on this hillside of the developmentally damned. Yet rather than incorporate what she had previously been patiently told by the Planning Commission, Adele chose instead to once again merely rearrange the big bulk dreams of her demanding clients.
Obviously Adele was between a rock and a hard place, and because her clients apparently are utterly incapable of curbing their enthusiasm for things that just don't make it in Sierra Madre, she had no choice but to push for basically the same oversized McMansions and then accept the loss. Work can be like that some days.
What did not help Adele's cause was the number of eloquent and very well informed Sierra Madreans who turned out to voice their opposition to the McMansionization of our town. Often these speakers were questioned by the Planning Commission on their views, with the effect being that they were more like expert witnesses than folks off the street speaking their minds during public comment. It was pretty impressive.
The vote on the first two Carter Castles was 6 against and zero for, with a 4 to 2 vote on the last water warthog. Or, if you like it in one big tally, 16 to 2. A big win for Sierra Madre, and a profound defeat for Adele Chang and McMansion Nation.
One thing that stood out in a big way last night was the effect that the City's water restrictions were having on the residents of this town. And while these restrictions could have had little influence on how the Planning Commission was to rule on Adele's big houses, they were clearly on the minds of everyone there.
The Letter from downtown had gone out Wednesday, and from what I could see last evening the effect might not have been the one intended by the City Council when it initiated this action. Though the mandated water use cutback overall is between on average 10% and 20% a year, during peak summertime usage the actual percentage could in effect be as high as 50% of what had been used during the previous summer. The result being, as one gentleman known for his advanced gardening expertise put it, a "death sentence" for everything that grows in his yard.
Somehow I think we're going to hear about this from unhappy residents at next week's City Council meeting as well. This is also something that could have an effect on the City's stated goal of raising water rates again later this year. The soon to be levied fines already being an increase of sorts.
The times could be getting very interesting in Sierra Madre again.
Fay Angus on Gray Water Recycling Systems
(Mod: A number of people in this town have been pushing the recycling of water in Sierra Madre for years. None any harder than Fay. Quite obviously the time for such a thing is now. Here is what she had to say to the Planning Commission last night.)
I would like to reinforce the comments by Marguerite Shuster and Caroline Brown that the Planning Commission ask that all new development in Sierra Madre install gray water units to capture water from washing machines, bathroom showers and sinks, etc, with this water to be used for landscape watering. Please note that gray water does not include water from toilets or kitchen sink drains which may have food particles. That is considered black water.
The City has sent out letters to residents mandating that they cut back their water use as much as 20%. Until our water shortage crisis is resolved, it should be mandated that ALL DEVELOPMENT BE PLACED ON HOLD, including that mansions on tonight's agenda. Also that the plans under consideration for these mansions be mandated to include a gray water recycling system that is approved by the City.
At Tuesday's Council meeting, I will address the need for recycling gray water and that top priority be given to placing on the agenda a report on residential gray water recycling units that would be approved by the city. There are many systems available at manageable cost. One in particular runs $850 for a settling kit, plus $750 for a distribution system, making the overall cost $1,600 plus installation costs. Once the City has approved whichever ones they deem suitable, residents would be able to purchase and have the system installed for use in their landscaping watering.
A new home in San Dimas was built with its own gray water recycling system. Currently I am trying to get in touch with the owners to find out more about the details on which system they used.
The City needs to implement an ordinance in its building code mandating that all new construction, including the ALF, have gray water recycling systems. Arcadia is actively searching out ways to hook up to the purple recycled water pipeline that comes down Rosemead from the Whittier Narrows Recycling plant in El Monte in order to irrigate the Arboretum, Golf Course, Parks, Race Track and school playing fields. Water from this plant irrigates a beautiful huge park, soccer and baseball fields, a golf course, the school's athletic fields, Rose Hills Memorial Park and the extension line servicing the Edison and Panda headquarters on Rosemead.
Is gray water safe for children to play on? Absolutely safe, or it would not be in use at the aforementioned facilities. Texas, parts of Florida and other states have massive water recycling systems.
I've been in touch with administration officials at our recycling plants, who are very helpful. If you have any questions I may be able to give you some answers.