Thursday, May 1, 2014
Something That Any Potential Developer of the Mater Dolorosa Properties May Wish to Carefully Consider
It has now been just about nine years since one of the most inept City Councils this city ever hatched made one of its worst decisions. That being to allow a woefully under-financed and incompetent developer to destroy one of the last true wilderness areas within the borders of Sierra Madre. Done without coming anywhere near to achieving the stated aim of building houses there.
Now, almost nine years later, there has still not been one house built at One Carter. Not a single solitary structure has gone up on that site. None. Hundreds of old growth trees were cut, a pristine wilderness area repeatedly bulldozed and scraped to the point where nearly nothing will grow there, and millions upon millions of dollars were squandered on lawsuits and nonsense, and lost forever. Yet still nothing has ever been built there.
One Carter stands as quiet testimony to perhaps the single worst decision ever made by a body of elected officials in the history of this town.
This decision by the 2004 City Council was made despite the opposition of the hundreds of Sierra Madre residents that packed City Hall meeting after meeting to show their opposition to allowing a so-called developer the right to build on the One Carter site. Something the developer in question proved himself incapable of doing. Beyond tree removal nothing was ever accomplished.
And nothing has been accomplished there since, though some have tried. Little was ever approved for One Carter, and not much is getting approved now.
The current developer has repeatedly seen his various designs and plans shot down by the Planning Commission. Nothing that would produce the kinds of profits necessary to justify building on those very expensive lots ever gets approved, and nothing that our City's zoning laws would allow make the effort financially worthwhile.
As is usually the case in Sierra Madre, the people were right, and their elected officials wrong. A strange dynamic that has never been fully explained. We have a history of electing the wrong people, and then fighting them tooth and nail once they're in office.
What any potential developers of the Mater Dolorosa site must realize is that they will face an extraordinary amount of opposition from the people living in this town. They might get our current City Council to betray its constituents. It wouldn't be the first time. I can easily count three votes on the sellout side.
These Councilmembers would basically be the same people who supported raising utility taxes here, a dubious effort that has now failed twice. So why would such people pass up on the development impact fees a Mater Dolorosa development would bring? After all, they do have important political constituents that need to have their $36,000 a year health care plans funded.
But there is no guarantee the process that follows will lead to any kind of success. And the same community forces that have left One Carter the flyblown ecological disaster the 2004 City Council gave us will be brought to bear on anything attempted at Mater Dolorosa.
At the very least it will cost you years of precious time and millions of dollars to get your plans approved. That is, if they are ever approved at all. We're not making any promises here.
You'd really be much better off investing your money elsewhere.
Posted by The Moderator at 5:00 AM