It was an incredible sight, and also testimony to the great organizational abilities of Preserve Sierra Madre and its inspirational leader, Matt Bryant. Who, by the way, is a Realtor.
|Part of yesterday's big turnout at the Monastery|
So here is what I am getting at. The fight to save Sierra Madre from predatory development, and in particular the Mater Dolorosa Monastery, is being led by Realtors. Who, together with folks from other equally fine professions, organized an effective and well run protest opposed to that now not-so-secret meeting at the monastery for … Realtors.
Except very few Realtors showed up at the Monastery's cheese party. Like maybe 8 at the very most. Out of the 100 or so who were sent invitations by the wannabe Monastery real estate developers.
There were far more Realtors protesting at the Monastery Gates than there were eating room temperature brie and plotting destructive development with Jerry Pearson and Father Higgins up at the big house. And even some of those that did go expressed strong disapproval of slash and burn development at Mater Dolorosa.
Unlike with some of the development controversies of the past (the Downtown Specific Plan and Measure V come to mind), this time many of the agents for good were real estate people. Like Matt Bryant and Mike Paris. And some others, too. Like (Saints preserve me) Judy Webb Martin. Credit where credit is due.
More on that in a minute.
But here is the deal. We will now no longer tolerate gainsaying Realtors on this site. Yesterday was a turning point for this community. While there are still some bad actors out there, by and large yesterday's extraordinary and historic demonstration at the Monastery Gates was led by some of the finest (and smartest) members of this community. Some of whom just happen to work in the real estate profession.
Much love and respect to our friends in that community from The Sierra Madre Tattler. Yesterday some Realtors just might have saved this community from one of the worst land use schemes since the One Carter debacle of 2004.
We need to show some gratitude and say thanks.
|Three time Sierra Madre Mayor and Preserve Sierra Madre leader Clem Bartoli speaks out.|
While 150 stood at the Monastery Gates, we had our spy on the inside of the Jerry Pearson/Father Higgins cheese and community heirloom destruction party.
(Mod: Here is what our man on the inside - who is a Realtor - has to share with us.)
Cameron Thornton (developer manqué who is also on the Mater Dolorosa board of directors), gave a history of the place. When it was bought, etc. 88 acres.
Joe Sanders - also on Board of Dir. - Said they plan to donate 45 acres behind the Monastery to some conservancy group. They can't sell it for development because it's a designated protected area. So they'll try and make it seem like an act of generosity.
20 acres would be developed - 40 to 50 houses. Leaves 15 acres for the Monastery. They will continue to have retreats, etc. (That leaves 8 acres unaccounted for.)
|An Audi heads to the Cheese Party|
Three hot button issues that they will push as being good for the city:
1. Money in the form of development impact fees and new property taxes.
2. Increase in revenue from utilities.
3. (These are the words on the slide show) No net new water usage-acquifer recharge. Judy Webb-Martin challenged this - and Pearson said a bunch of senseless nonsense.
Mr. Sanders then said that water was a state problem. People in Sierra Madre per person use more water than San Francisco. When we cut our water back there will be enough water for 50 new homes. Maybe we should start using more. I think I'll start watering my lawn again.
Mr. Pearson spoke about how they have tried many ideas to get the city more money. One being a parcel tax on the citizens of Sierra Madre to support the monastery. They realized that would never pass by the 2/3 's needed. Only way out of the problem for the city is through development fees.
Mr. Pearson then said with the passage of the General Plan they will conform to the poliicies set forth and will build to code. They will have drought resistant plants, water systems in place to save water. Houses will go for 1million to 1.5 million but nothing is written in stone. Lots will be 11,000 to 15,000 square feet.
Judy Webb-Martin is against the building project and wanted to knows what they were up to. They also handed out a paper that they wanted everyone to sign. It is a Support for Mater Dolorosa. There were 7 realtors including myself and Judy Webb-Martin.
Some have said Jerry Pearson is a good guy. However, he strikes me as being a first class (deleted). Nobody should put anything past him.
I will now to describe the area for the houses:
If you are facing the Monastery, to the left will be three streets. Each will be a cul-du-sac, with a certain amount per home. To the right, across the road there will be three streets. Houses will line both sides of the street.
No mention of egress at Carter/Grove. Doesn't mean it won't happen. They will need that to bring in trucks. Unless they want to dust-asphyxiate the people on Sunnyside. No mention if they are looking at two stories. I didn't do the math because it's not my forte to see how many houses of 11,000 or 15,000 sf can be built on 20 acres. My guess is they will pack in as many as they can get away with.
NUW didn't feel the city was ready to have this kind of development and because they had other jobs in the offing that they needed to tend to, they turned to those. But, they said with a little time they would be more than happy to make their proposals.
Also, there will be footage around the perimeter that people can walk along. It will not be a gated community, everyone will be free to drive around, etc.
Mod: You just might want to fill one of these out yourself, and then send it to the City Council. Be creative and have fun.