However, there really is a Planning Commission meeting tonight, and an agenda plus Development Services Department staff reports for this event can be found if you dig deeply enough. Happily we did manage to unearth them and can share some of what we found here. It is quite an important meeting as many of you are aware, one that we're hoping many of the residents concerned about preserving Sierra Madre as we have always known it will want to attend.
Building McMansions at Stonehouse, and as large as 6,000 square feet no less, being seen by many as not in line with what has best typified Sierra Madre for the last century or so. We are not, after all, Arcadia. Nor should we ever want to plan to become them.
The Planning Commission agenda shows this as being the final of three main events listed for tonight. Here is how the Stonehouse matter is described:
STONEHOUSE RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISION – PRE-APPLICATION REVIEW 1935 Stonehouse Road - Applicant: R. Steve Austin
The Planning Commission is hosting a Workshop/Neighborhood Meeting to discuss plans for a proposed 13 lot residential subdivision (13 new dwellings) at 1935 Stonehouse Road. A Settlement Proposal Plan originally proposed the creation of 19 lots (19 dwelling units), and the applicant anticipates proposing a revised plan of 13 lots (13 dwellings), including a revision to the maximum permissible gross floor areas. The City of Sierra Madre would like to receive input from neighbors and the community regarding the anticipated revised proposal. The purpose of the meeting is for preliminary discussions only. No action will be taken at this time. This meeting is strictly for information purposes only. Public input will also be taken at future meetings.
As you can see, and despite the lack of the usual noticing on the City's website, you are invited to attend the meeting and share your opinions on this matter. Preliminary discussion or not. Coupled as it is with the similar One Carter and Mater Dolorosa proposed and possibly gated McMansion developments, you can see that this really is quite a game changer for this town.
Yesterday a commenter laid out what is at stake tonight. Here is what was said.
Tomorrow night at the Planning Commission the Stonehouse developers will introduce their plan for 13 new houses. The change they are asking for from the settlement agreement is that they want garages not to be counted in the total square feet of the houses - meaning the houses can be bigger than agreed to in the settlement agreement.
Some of the houses are required to have 3 or 4 car garages, so that's a lot of room. How big does the community want those houses to be?
This is just an informational meeting - ya know, community workshop and all that - so no decisions will be made. But it's a good time to chime in by attending or emailing or calling - the size they are suggesting exceeds the agreed upon limit.
Here is how that move is broken down in the Staff Report (link):
There is also this. If the developer plans on reducing the amount of McMansions to be built at Stonehouse from 19 to 13, does that necessarily mean the remaining ones should be allowed to be even larger than already planned?
My guess is that the developer, R."Stevie" Austin, knows that his somewhat slick moves here are a potential deal breaker, and he wants to test the waters and see what he can get away with.
How the developer might have gotten that impression is problematic. After all, one of the City's prime duties in this case would be to enforce existing agreements and laws. They could have just said no.
I guess that job now falls upon us. The meeting begins at 7PM.