Meeting began approx 7:25 pm.
Applicant offered a revised proposal.
Members of the PC offered input:
-Lower the ceiling heights
-Reduce bedrooms by 10%.
-Shift the staircase
Frequently, members of the PC said, "You are close" (to approval).
While the commissioners were speaking, however, private discussions were being whispered between McDonald, Chang, and a third man sitting in the audience. (I do not know him … he might have been the project manager.)
After the PC members spoke, Chang approached the podium. "We've been to so many hearings … I'm getting kind of tired of it."
McDonald requested that the PC approve the project with conditions or vote on it. He asked that they articulate the points so they have those to consider.
The city attorney suggested fleshing out the concepts here, and getting a thumbs up or down. McDonald and the Asian man walked out to the foyer. McDonald came back alone. Later, the manager?) came back into the chambers. More whispering took place between him, McDonald, and Chang in the audience. McDonald requested a continuance, as well as a list (of specific concerns/suggestions).
The Planning Commission voted in favor of continuing the project at the October 2 mtg. Applicant will bring new drawings.
Ex-commissioner John Vandevelde took up to 10 minutes of public comment time to discuss, in detail, inconsistencies in zoning codes and definitions. Maybe legitimate areas that need to be addressed, but not really swift to bring them up there and then. In fact, Adele Chang referenced it to her advantage.
Barry Gold - great. The general plan needs to reinforce goals and guidelines to save our city from the developers who want to build "the largest houses they can on the smallest lots they can to make the most money they can." The PC being on top of the GP will save a cherished way of life for all of those who will live here for time to come.
Adele Chang: We’re hardly asking for anything compared to what “we are allowed under the settlement agreement” Repeated and emphasized"we are allowed" She did not bring up the fact that there is, under the settlement agreement, no guarantee.
The architect talked about her slide show of big houses in Sierra Madre, the one she made when the commissioners suggested that she drive around to look at the diversity of homes in town. She wished that she’d brought it with her so that the commissioners who hadn’t seen it could see it. Each of those big houses were on equally big lots. False comparison doesn’t even begin to say what a hustle that was. Deliberate misrepresentation is more like it.
Used Vandevelde's comments about inconsistencies to her advantage. Who didn’t see that coming?
Commissioner Pevsner asked her if she had lowered the ceiling heights (as had been suggested previously) “No, I didn’t. My client is still concerned with marketability” She then went on to suggest that she could probably convince the client to lower ceiling heights, if the PC would approve the project with conditions of approval. That was the theme for the next hour. Or two.
Marguerite Shuster was once again the best representative Sierra Madre could hope for.
Commissioner Pevsner asked to talk to the resident who had discussed things with the applicant’s lawyer. The resident said that “There were more promising elements in play than were presented at the following meeting.” In other words, the developers went back on their words.
Each commissioner said there was still too much bulk and mass, and that the ceiling heights need to be lowered. Frierman-Hunt suggested taking a foot off the 2nd story height and 6 inches of the first story height, for an overall lowering of 1 and 1/2 feet.
Chair Desai had numerous suggestions for reconfiguring the second story that would “keep in the program" the applicant wants but reduce bulk (reduce the Master suite by 10%, one bedroom by 10%, 1 bath by 10% - and adjust some placement downstairs to do that.)
Later Chang asked if she could add square footage downstairs if she reduced upstairs, and Desai said you don’t have to - in his reworking he reduced upstairs and added nothing downstairs.
Chang flipped and said “I’m getting tired, maybe you guys like doing this, but vote up with conditions, or down." Later she said, “I am asking for an up or down vote” But that was the biggest fib of all. She and MacDonald huffed and puffed and then rolled over.
The commissioners would not vote to approve with conditions because they all said they had to see the plans before they could do that. The city attorney said the commission needed to see what it would look like.
The commissioners went into great detail on their suggestions.
Somebody put it brilliantly: people were coming here and destroying our town, one lot at a time, maybe not intending to, but destroying it anyway.
Continued to next PC meeting, October 2.
Adele Chang when she first went to the podium - "I'm getting kinda tired of it." Referring to the PC meetings.
Adele Chang: Our plans are now correct. Gina noted except for one thing.The plan still says there is a 6 ft retaining wall on one page and not on the other.
A One Carter neighbor, referring to the tour that Adele said she made. Adele said she found a lot of big home in Sierra Madre. The speaker disagreed with the assumption, and said those were big homes on big lots. What you want to do is build a very big house on a small lot.
Deb Sheridan: Allowed doesn't mean guaranteed.
Kevin Paschall: Adele you said these are hard lots to build on. We did not force you to buy them.
Adele is now calling it a Spanish Colonial, no longer Santa Barbara … she must have read The Tattler.
Livable sellable space is 3,886.
- McDonald wants approval with the comments from commission. Desai says no. Needs to see 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 - we're 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.
(Mod: Thanks again to all who wrote in!)