Thursday, September 18, 2014

Endlessgate: The Planning Commission Goes Another Round With CETT Investments Corporation Tonight

No protective headgear
It seems like this has been going on for almost ever. The folks from CETT investments Corporation, along with their busy architect Adele Chang, plus the always warmly humorous attorney for "the developer of the Stonegate lots," Richard McDonald (link), are back with yet another iteration of what they hope to build someday at Baldwin Court. Or, as we like to think of it, Sierra Madre's "Stairway to Heaven."

There have been so many of these fabulously designed proposed plans that it has become hard to keep track anymore. Though I do know for certain that everyone will be relieved that they are holding to the "Santa Barbara Design." Even though this isn't Santa Barbara. We lack the beach.

And just so you know, "Stonegate" is what the developer has taken to calling the place we all know as One Carter. Their unexplained need to change the names of things in our community being a kind of unwelcome presumption in my opinion. Though the way things are going they should probably call it "Empty Lotsgate." It would be more accurate.

The good folks over at the Preserve Mater Dolorosa group sent out the following e-mail yesterday. I think it summarizes the situation pretty well. I am re-posting it here for those of you who are not on their mailing list.

Dear Supporters:
Attached is the agenda for tomorrow's Planning Commission Meeting scheduled for Thurday, Sept. 18th at 7:00 pm. Right towards the top is going to be a very important agenda item: The owner's of One Carter/Stonegate are applying for a Hillside Development Permit and Conditional Use Permit.

Because our Coalition is expanding its focus into over-development concerns for the entire City of Sierra Madre and not just a concern for a possible development at Mater Dolorosa, we are taking an official position of being opposed to this project as it now stands unless substantial changes are made to conform to development standards in Sierra Madre and the repeated requests of our Planning Commission.

We would urge our supporters to attend the meeting and support our Planning Commission which, thus far, has held the line in the face of the usual bullying, intimidation and threats by the developer's lawyers.

Our Planning Commission has done an exemplary job and they deserve our support and our accolades. Thank you.

Steering Committee, Coalition to Preserve Mater Dolorosa and Stop the Housing Project

The Planning Commission agenda referred to above can be accessed by clicking here.

So what exactly is afoot this evening? Assistant Planner Dereck Purificacion lays the big rhubarb out this way (link):


So there you go. The celebrated architect for the Stonegate lots, the highly regarded Adele Chang, has shrunk the basement a bit. Which wasn't really all that visible to us above ground. She also removed the "Snoopy Deck," which means that all of the other homes in the area shouldn't have to buy air raid curtains.

But are these changes adequate? Has the rest of this joint been brought into legal compliance, as requested all those many times before? Will the Planning Commission end up feeling like they are getting jerked around again? Those are the big questions that could be answered at this evening's meeting.

It all kicks off at 7PM tonight. I have to work late and won't be able to make it. But if you do go, please leave a comment or two here so that I will be able to figure out what happened when I eventually do get home. Be more than a witness. Be a Tattler.

There is also a "Special Agenda"

"Special Agendas" are what they call it when the lawyers get involved. These events are done in private, which I guess is because they're special. And lawyers get involved when there is a lawsuit afoot. After all, when it comes to attorney work product, lawsuits are to lawyers what the honeypot is to Pooh Bear. Here is what this particular pot looks like:


You know what it is. Many here are of the opinion that this indicates CETT Investments whatever is going to take it all to ugly town if they don't get their way tonight. No surprises there.

What that also may mean is this whole mess could go on for yet another couple of years. Which also means the "One Carter Curse" is nowhere near its end. That is, if it actually has an end. Some things apparently do not.

Thank you, 2004 City Council. Ten years later and you guys are still screwing things up.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

60 comments:

  1. Please indulge me, what were the names of the people on the council in 2004, don't want to vote for them again. This is such an ugly mess for our town and the hillside is ruined for ever, just ask the displaced animal life.

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    1. Rob Stockly, John Buchanan, Tanya Torres and Enid Joffey are responsible.

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    2. W'all, you got your Johnny Buchanan. Enid Joffe, of course. She was there for all of the disasters. Who else … Was Stockley in on this one? Torres as well. The only member of that ship of fools to do the right thing was George Mauer. He voted against it.

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    3. I wonder if they are still on Greg Galletley's Christmas card list. They put so much faith in him.

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    4. My guess would be "yes" 8:30. Galletly was well known for being very resilient in terms of always generating the next hustle.

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    5. All GG managed to do at 1 Carter is cut down a lot of trees.

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    6. Just out of curiosity, to any or all of those people still live in this town. They should get up and tell us what they had in mind when they greenlighted this project.

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    7. He missed the market. No, really!

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    8. To abate your curiosity 11:27 am, all four still live in town and are regularly spotted during the full moon at coven gatherings on the overgrown Doyle manse. Never turn your back - they;re out there and awaiting their opportunity to return!

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    9. John Buchanan, human resources lawyer for SoCal Edision, who would have ever thunk he'd be pro development and screw over the residents to benefit his employer

      and Rob, he's a commercial lending banker who's mantra now is "the library is closing...the library is closing"



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    10. The Library is falling! The Library is falling!

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  2. The city cannot bow over the threat of suit. Appeasement is what made the stupid lot size at Carter to begin with. It was wrong then it is wrong now. As for the "Santa Barbara " style....guess adele doesn't visit there too often. It is the cheap developer version if anything. Please come to the meeting. We all need to show we care.

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    1. If the city caves in on this, the precedent will be set, and good-by to any controls on development.

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    2. Well said !
      I have had the experience of applying for a minor variance to correct prior bad/ugly work on my old house. The 'process' the Planning Dept. impose on you is a burden that indulges of their whim, malice and obstruction. It makes me furious that the Planning Dept (at Elaine Aguillar's behest?) make the rehab process so onerous . It is no wonder that they get into the One Carter mess and I suspect that is also why they have the Hildreth dispute. The Planning Dept under Danny Castro display a contempt for taxpaying City citizens that is palpable. And you dare not complain because these people are vindictive. I just wish they would apply this 'scrutiny' to the large overdevelopment issues and actually help us.

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    3. The interesting thing is that the devlelopers of One Carter made a bad investment at the get-go. They are now trying to build homes in an area that only fools would live in. Its a dangerous firetrap to live in that winding canyon. They should write it off and move on. We all know the Law of Holes: When you're in one, stop digging.

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  3. A city government that does not defend its ordinances and building codes from predatory developers is not much of a government at all. We can see the consequences at One Carter.

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  4. I've always thought the name change to "Stonegate" was a PR effort to get rid of the bad juju.

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    Replies
    1. Wasn't very successful.

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    2. Stonergate. They're greenhouses.

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  5. 8:28, anything bad planned by people who want to destroy this town, you can bet Rob Stockley has something to do with. He is definitely one of the bad people you do not ever want on City Council or involved in anything involving the shenanigans that go on when these people get power.

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    Replies
    1. shenanigans is that like high jinks? or more like tomfoolery?

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  6. New Urban Dictionary says (among more colorful definitions not for a sensitive family blg):

    henanigan
    n. Informal


    1.

    a. A deceitful trick; an underhanded act.
    b. Remarks intended to deceive; deceit. Often used in the plural.

    2.

    a. A playful or mischievous act; a prank.
    b. Mischief; prankishness. Often used in the plural.
    Stop your shenanigans! Retighten the lids on those salt and pepper shakers!

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  7. Stand strong Planning Commission! We look to you to keep the devils from the gate! Don't be intimidated by rumors of lawsuits. Unlike past City Councils you are professionals, and determined to keep Sierra Madre free from developmental overlords! You all live here and will reap the just rewards of your diligence.

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    1. Right on 10:12. WE have your backs. Show up to the Planning Commission and support the good people who are manning the ramparts on our behalf.

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  8. As has been mentioned before, the developers bought this property for an understandably bargain-based price because the location is totally unsuited to development. They made a bad investment. People do that all the time. It is not our job to fix or ameliorate their mistake. They have to conform to the community and development standards. They should also be penalized and not rewarded for wasting the time of our Planning Commission which has other things to do and for disturbing the peace of the neighborhood. Where is the owner of the property in all this? Why do they continue to hide behind the skirt of their attorney Mr. McDonald. I bet the architect is getting paid by getting one of the lots so that's her motivation. Our Planning Commission needs to continue to hold the line on predatory development. They have done a great job so far. Let's hope they don't cave in at the end. My attitude is "Bring it on!"

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    1. It could be that a lawsuit was the aim all along.

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    2. Speaking of predators,I see from the Mater Delarosa website that Thornton is no longer Chairman of the Board. They got a new schill Sanders is his name.
      Thornton must be planning for their lawsuit.

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  9. So, adele is sitting in the front this time. Meeting has not started. Guess they're still pondering the suit. Don't see McDonald with adele. 2 other suits instead. Fairly good attendance. Not full as it should be.

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    1. Meeting didn't start until 7:25

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  10. Don't be intimidated Mater Delarosa people, this is what they always do. It's all bs.

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  11. Meeting beginning.

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  12. Spears not present.

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    1. That is a disappointment.

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  13. Mr. Gold. Asking that General plan must reinforce what citizens want.

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    Replies
    1. The Golds are such a credit to our community.

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  14. Senior center regarding adding to Hart house. Pat acorn wants a window. Wants to maintain integrity. The committee pres wants no window. The fight is on.

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  15. Member of commission asking that window be placed. Doesn't have a concern for theft. Wants commissioner buckles design. Another gentleman speaks for the window. Barbara lee, hasn't followed design carefully, wants to know if it's the northwest corner-all that's left of historical part. Storage room should remain a storage room, no future change to something else. The lady commissioner wants a window. Matt buckles says he helped with design but didn't design it. Pas hall wants window. Goldstein doesn't really care. Desai for window. Buckles says need window. Motion to approve #2. Unanimous.

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  16. Goldstein recuses. Adele be on.

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  17. Going thru revised proposal.3264sq ft including garage but not basement.

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  18. How revised is the revised proposal? Total sq foot area is smaller, but most of it came out of the basement. Who can see that?

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  19. Adele:going thru before and after pictures. Says new make house looks smaller than original. Shown with trees and without. Ariel review shows reduction in 2nd floor. Says were 4ooo some odd sq ft per settlement. Do not exceed cities requirement. There are people against mans ionization. This is not mansion. This is average size house. Feels we fit into the community. Style fits in with city. Home for families. Liked the first guy who spoke because of problems with city code.

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    1. Reject it anyway. These people have been too annoying for too long.

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    2. Chang's repeated claim that "We are allowed by the settlement agreement..." is hollow rubbish.
      Yes, they are allowed by the settlement agreement, but they are NOT GUARANTEED by the settlement agreement. Wish she'd get some new schtick.

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  20. Ms. Hunt questions southeast view. Pegs er asks if ceilings were lowered. Adele will approve lowering if allowed to build. Currently 9 ft. Public comment: margarine schuster-there are improvements, but height, mass, pad size are not good. Plan is grotesque. Sets a precedent.. Witness Camillo. If we allow it now we will fight forever. Well done!

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    1. Grotesque!
      Gotta love Schuster's images.

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  21. Speaker:2004 commission succumbed even though city attorney said no. Great speaker. Debbie Sheridan:the massing is still too big, have to live here after developers are gone.

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  22. It's not a good looking house. Maybe this is the one they think they'll win a law suit with.

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  23. Speaker:had meeting at her home with mr. Hutt and Leslie, and Caroline brown. Not enough change for them.

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    1. I think the words were that there had been "more promising elements in play than were presented at the last commission meeting." A very nice way of saying they lied.

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  24. McDonald wants approval with the comments from commission. Desai says no. Needs to se changes. Fees we've come a long way. More comfortable seeing changes. Mcdonald says he does understand still request approval, vote on it and articulate what it is the commission wants. City attorney: needs design changes, even if they agree to changes commission wants to see it. Gina-were not too far away from agreement. We need to see a concrete plan. Can't say yes without plan. We can discuss what needs to be changed and willing to come back. Take off foot an half of ceiling. Adele shaking her head no. This is controversial in sierra madre. Adele says we have been told we are close before. A commissioner stated previous plans have been wrong. Adele said everything was checked 3 times. Plans are correct. Gina told her there were still mistakes. Adele said her client still wants up or down vote. Mc Donald approve it with conditions if not chair articulate changes. Desai said he will articulate them now. On ground floor shifting of stairwell and powder room to the east, allow second floor to shift mass. Bedroom 3 truncated entrance, work on bathroom, pushes back front, bedroom 2 10 percent reduction. Master bedroom lessened 9 percent, a little reworking of master bath. Desai went thru the motions and knows it can be done.

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    1. Architect Chang most decidedly needs to give Desai a percentage of her paycheck.

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    2. Wow 9:15, you were paying much better attention than the applicants hirelings were!

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    1. Ugh is right. You have to admit it was quite humorous the way the architect and lawyer kept saying "Approve with conditions, or else...." and then completely backed up from the or else.

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  26. Chang and MacDonald hit new heights in whining and empty threats.

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  27. What obfuscating dribble that was from the applicants about reducing the ceiling heights.
    They have been told to do that at least twice before, and didn't.
    So now they will?

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  28. I'm disappointed that tonight wasn't the final vote. I believed their lawyer when he was saying now or never the last time, non-negotiable blah blah blah. Turns out it was all just posturing.

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  29. This is what you pinheads get for not allowing Maranantha to relocate to the subject site, now suffer from the China money

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    1. Mommy, what's a pinhead?

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