Thursday, March 6, 2014

The One Cratergate McMansions Process Grinds On

Do you want fries with that?
As I am sure you are aware, the Planning Commission had previously rejected Adele Chang's crass and vast 5.5 bathroom water hog McMansions at a place the people who actually live in Sierra Madre call One Carter. City Staff preferring Stonegate.

Me? I've taken to calling the unhappy site One Cratergate. But whatever name you choose to hang upon it, the very unnecessary process surrounding that place just grinds on and on. Yet another instance where our city's elected officials either neglected to honor their legal and moral obligations to the people of this town, or decided to go for the money instead.

Tonight the Planning Commission will conduct what is being called a "workshop" to discuss some of the flagrant design flaws with the architect of the currently proposed three McMansions for One Cratergate. With many more just like them in waiting in the wings should these be approved.

This workshop is the result of the denial of these projects by the Planning Commission, the applicant’s appeal to the City Council, and the council deciding to send the projects back to the commission rather than doing anything too meaningful about it themselves.

The residents of Sierra Madre have done a great job identifying the legally based protections that are in place here for hillside locales like One Carter. All the City Council really needed to do was implement the protections that already exist in our city's laws by backing up the Planning Commission's decision on this McMansion situation. But for whatever unexplained reasons they chose not to do that.

I take little pleasure in saying this, but the real law in Sierra Madre is, as always, money. City Hall wants the development impact fees building McMansions at One Carter would bring. That number being somewhere in the $1.1 million range, or $43,000 in impact fees per each of the 27 planned homes. There are currently pensions and especially city employee retirement health benefit packages to fund, which we the taxpayers are now paying some of the highest rates in the state to provide. All because those people who supposedly work for us need to feather their nests, and our City Council lacks the integrity or will to oppose them.

This is what is really guiding a lot of the decisions being made downtown these days. From water rate increases, to the 25% utility tax increases on the ballot for April, to the many fees associated with development and life in general here, it is all about financially propping up what has become a very expensive city government. And rather than protect the unique character of our village, we're being sold out instead for cash.

It really is a lousy deal for those who actually live in this town.

Can the Planning Commission make a negative finding on "Stonegate" and actually see it get backed up by the City Council? After all, this CETT - Adele Chang McMansion situation has been going on for longer than Noah Green has lived in town. A final decision is going to have to be made some day.

And even if the Planning Commission again does the people's business properly and honors our hillside regulations and ordinances, is there any guarantee that their decision will be respected once these McMansions are appealed back to the City Council for the inevitable next round?

After all, had the City Council wanted to, all they would have needed to do the last time these projects were before them was to just say "No." Because that is what the Planning Commission had decided.

Instead the City Council created this unnecessary process, some of which plays out tonight. Which to me indicates that they are actually in favor building these McMansions at One Carter. You know, because of the money that would bring in.

Quite possibly the City Council's loyalties are with this city's employee organizations, and not the citizenry. They just don't want anyone to think that is actually the case. So on and on (and on) it all goes.

The Planning Commission meeting is tonight at 7. A lot of people are going to attend.

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72 comments:

  1. Hi youse guys! I was busy yesterday so didn't get to see the Noah photo with the doll. It looks like a baby in a display next to a clothing rack with the same cute pjs on the model as on the hangars. Very high end. Baby clothing models only (see background). So where might this be? And maybe Noah is an expecting father out shopping. But I digress. The green card from Noah Green...you can go back over the candidate's literature for the last 20-25 years and read the same thing. Nothing new there.

    EVERYBODY get to the Planning Commission tonight. Make this architect comply with the General Plan and the specifics created for the Stonegate mess!

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    Replies
    1. The developer and architect know what is required. Adele's well wore Guideline are proof of that. The problem is greed on the part of the developer.

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  2. Changing the character of our "village" will not happen overnight. It will happen piecemeal. However, if we stay on the same path and fastforward about 20 years, our little town would be unrecognizable to us. One Carter should never have happened but now that's it upon us, it will set the standard for everything else that happens. The folks up there at the Monastery are considering their project to transform Sierra Madre. You can bet they and their developers are watching the One Carter situation very closely. The fact is that there are forces within the city government that want money regardless of where it comes from or how it impact on the residents. If they had their druthers, you would have unmitigated development, parking meters and all the same stuff you see in most other cities. New 'emergencies" always get artifically created to justify the need for more revenue. One Carter is symtomatic of deeper, underlying problems. We must hold the line at all costs. Control or stop One Carter and then move on to the next battleground for the soul of Sierra Madre over at the Monastery.

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  3. Misrepresentation on a job application or a resume is a serious offense. Can't that get you fired, Mr. Green? Your post card lists you as having lived in Sierra Madre for several years. Were you renting before you bought your Woodland property June 2012? Why does this matter? Because it matters? Yesterday some post asked why it matters? Well, you seriously need some connection with the town you want to represent and than only comes with investing time in the community. Save the fluff. Not interested!

    Yes, get to the Planning Commission meeting tonight!

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  4. What is more important to you? Maintaining Sierra Madre's unique character, or making certain the state leading retirement health benefits of city employees are properly funded?

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    1. That is the question for our times 7:07. The cities that don't make the right decision on that issue are the ones that eventually go bankrupt because there is never enough money to fund the greed. Before they get to that point however, the qualitiy of life for the residents living within that city takes a nosedive. Detroit is a case in point. But it always starts out with little things here and there that are never enough by themselves to "break the camel's back". Its the aggregate of these bad decisions over many years of caving in to the public employee unions that eventually destroy a city and a way of life for the residents. The only safeguard is a good city council and a vigilent citizenry.

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  5. As long as we employ Elaine Agulair are dollar problems will continue. She is the classic carpet bagger. Elaine will continue to increase the fleece to our village until retirement where we get to pay her for life. The Village needs to be replaces with McMansions and High Density Housing downtown to pay for her pension, including the high pensions of the other employees that she / we are force to pay to keep her fleecing a live and well. We are the smaller version of the City of Bell. How long will it take for the District Attorney to get involved?

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  6. Maybe it's time the city go into survival mode, make all employees "at will" and change their status to "contractors."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is necessary. It removes the pressure the city feels to cave in to any developer with money.

      Delete
    2. John "I used to be Mayor" B.March 6, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      No, we can't do that! We're a full service city!

      Delete
    3. Joshie "I used to be Mayor and I'm smarter than you!: M.March 6, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      We're a full service city! It's only a latte a day!

      Delete
    4. The residents are already in survival mode. Why not the city?

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    5. City Hall is a lot like a hothouse. Exotic flowers grow there that wouldn't survive in the wild.

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    6. We have to be a full-service city, or else we won't be independent! We'd be like La Canada or Duarte or Lakewood or any contract city.

      Wait, I guess my mailer was wrong. Those are all independent cities.

      Did I tell you I'm an attorney? That means I'm very smart.

      Delete
  7. I think that rather than building McMansions they should build McMuffins. Small is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about the first suburb of tiny houses?

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    2. Muffin Tops = result of too much massing.

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    3. Whatever Adele builds, it is going to be with cheese. Though her slogan, "Special orders DO upset us," is controversial.

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    4. Tell Adele this ain't Burger King. She doesn't get it her way.

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    5. Wait'll the first big fire hits Stonegate. Those big barns will be flame broiled.

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    6. Adele is just the hired gun. And last time, it was the lawyer who did all the talking. It will be interesting to see who got the job for tonight.

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    7. Ah yes, the lawyer. Dr. Sues.

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  8. If the planning commission turns them down, again, they can appeal, again? Ai yi yi, is there no end?

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    Replies
    1. Eventually the city council will have to make the call, and they will side with the McMansionizers. All they care about is the money. Especially Harabedian. The L.A. County municipal employee unions own him.

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    2. Yes. Johnny does need to have his political career.

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  9. Due to the emergency of Sierra Madre's water problems can we change the fee's for these new homes? Can we pass a ruling that states all fees collected go directly to the cities water infrastructure. Nothing for payroll or pensions, period. This we can start working on right now, lets head them off at the pass general.

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  10. Just have a look at the insert that came with the last issue of the Mountain Views. That's all you need to see to know where this is all heading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never look at that paper. What's in the insert?

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  11. Single generation homes do not require five bedrooms. Multi-generational home require at least 5 bedrooms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Are birth certificates required for purchase?

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    2. 10:07 Wake up and look around. That is Adele's modern family>

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  12. Joshie "I used to be Mayor and I'm smarter than you!: M.March 6, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    2.16 MILLION hits.
    Nobody reads The Tattler, I mean the blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't read it, though I have looked at the pictures.

      Delete
    2. If Measure UUT fails the blog will have to be closed down.

      Delete
    3. Blog, what blog?

      Delete
  13. $2,500 reward offered in Sierra Madre pharmacy burglary
    Article up on the Pasadena Star News site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our cops won't solve this crime.

      Delete
    2. This happened in early January. Whoever did it is long gone.

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    3. Didn't the pharmacy have an alarm? If the answer is no, then DUH!

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    4. Maybe they need to get a dog.

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  14. The Planning Commission will turn this down. The City Council will have to approve or deny it and if they deny it they know for sure the applicants will sue. I would really not like to be a pair of undies on any of the two-year-long-barely-experienced City Council members nor the newly elected three.

    This is a time with some of the most important decisions to be made: UUT (it won't pass and they will have to reconfigure); how to trim the budget; SMPD or LASD; how to capture and store more ground water/storm water (should it rain ever again); etc., and we will have the most inexperienced City Council in our history, notwithstanding some of the skills sets that the candidates possess.

    The burden is huge: busy work days for the working citizen City Council members (even retired City Council members have a life to live beyond city business) and massive staff reports to read so much of what transpires is based on what the City Manager puts forward that she instructs her staff to research and convey. And this city manager....oy vei!

    And by the way, this is the first time that not a single incumbent ran for reelection in the history of Sierra Madre! Hum?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A whole lot of cutting and running going on around here. I don't care what excuse is used. The proverbial sinking ship?

      Delete
    2. Chris Koerber had a very legitimate reason, Moran a semi-legitimate reason, and Nancy? No reason at all, but I'm delighted she chose not to run.

      Delete
  15. Vote NO on Measure UUT. Without our money city hall is no different from anybody else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Friends don't let friends vote YES on the UUT.

      VOTE NO

      Delete
  16. Does anyone know when the Kiwanis and League of Women Voters candidate forums are? Also, is the Woman's Club doing a meet the candidate night?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kiwanis is on the 18th of March. A call in to the League of Women Voters has not received a reply. Women's Club usually does theirs during the day, but as far as I know, they have not set a date.

      Delete
  17. Update: We are still awaiting Bill Coburn's endorsement of Gene Goss. However, Neil the Pig has not changed his mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neil and Gene are sty guys. Of course they're down.

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  18. Vote No on the UUT!!?!?
    Let's stop the corruption!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Support city employees for the rest of their lives while you work until you drop so that you can pay the taxes to do it. Vote Yes on Measure UUT!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Stand Up to this greedy little minority!
    There are more of us than them!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Awesome. I am having another night of KGEM magic. The Planning Commission meeting is on their website, but the TV is showing an old City Council meeting. And now the web broadcast has gone down. Super de dooper work guys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It wasn't on yet because the meeting hadn't started. I am not sure that is KGEM's fault. It is on now.

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  22. It's Adele time! More crappy reconfigurations of the same old McMansions.

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  23. Good to see Adele is still talking down to the Planning Commission. That approach has worked so well for her over the last two years.

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  24. Adele hasn't made the McMansion any smaller. She has just attempted to disguise it.

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  25. It is not a cottage, Adele. It is one hell of a big barn.

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  26. She looks like Cruella DeVille.

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  27. I think the members of the Planning Commission will be sending a Bromance Bouquet of roses to Johnny Harabedian for hooking them up with another round of romantic evenings with Adele.

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  28. It's a whole new approach. Showing pictures of quaint French cottages and claiming her new designs for three car garage McMansions are somehow the same.

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  29. Adele designs French cottages that look like an entire city block. Is Napoleon moving to Sierra Madre?

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  30. You've missed the point. Adele is a comedian. This is her bit.

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  31. John Hutt just told the PC that Adele's French cottages look like minimum security prisons.

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  32. He is good. Lose the fake facades. Quit pretending these houses came from France.

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  33. Hutt is right. Adele and Dr Sues are just setting up a lawsuit.

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    Replies
    1. John Hutt was awesome!

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  34. Teryl Willis is right. CETT may or may not have financial difficulties, bit that is not the fault of the city. It is their fault.

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

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    1. That's a cruel thing to wish on anyone.

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  36. The planning commission did another good job.
    They make me proud of our city.

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