Father Higgins: As was suggested to us by several Council members, we are now meeting with Sierra Madre business and civic groups and city residents to seek their input on our preliminary concepts for the vacant 20-acre parcel on the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center property. The feedback we are receiving during these meetings will help us to refine our planning concepts, and at the conclusion of this outreach effort, we would like to share what we have learned with members of the Planning Commission and City Council. We look forward to those meetings.
We have recently become aware of continued misrepresentation of our early planning concepts. The below email addressed to you is one such example. What is of particular concern with this email is the fact we share many of the goals of the Preserve Sierra Madre group with respect to responsible development that protects the uniqueness of Sierra Madre. Like most in this city, we also want to preserve the look and feel of Sierra Madre, and feel this can be done with a responsible approach that ensures that the new neighborhood would be an organic extension of existing Sierra Madre neighborhoods. We agree with Preserve Sierra Madre that our development must “preserve the village-like character of our town.”
We are not opposed to the alternative open space preservation concepts proposed by some of the Preserve Sierra Madre group. We have not yet seen an offer from them, however, that is feasible and that provides a verified source of immediate funds which acknowledges the market value of our property to meet the goals established by Holy Cross Province. We recently responded to the group and are awaiting their reply.
We want to continue our joint efforts with the Preserve Sierra Madre group but are also mindful of the larger community in Sierra Madre. We have called Sierra Madre home for over 90 years and are grateful to this town, to you, and to our many friends that stretch from Michillinda to Vista avenues. We are committed to reaching out to the entire community.
Please feel free to call me with any questions or to clarify anything you may hear about our plans. We have witnessed misstatements and exaggerations about our proposal and are committed to ensuring that our Sierra Madre neighbors and our elected representatives have accurate information on which to form their opinions.
Thank you for your consideration, and please let me know if you have any questions or would like any additional information.
Sincerely, Father Michael Higgins
Mod: The e-mail from Preserve Sierra Madre that has caused Father Higgins so much annoyance is the following:
Mod: As you may recall, the main impetus for the topic referred to in the PSM mass e-mail, and posted about here on the Sierra Madre Tattler (link), was this rather exasperating notice.
Rounding up interested groups within a community, people who stand to profit from an enterprise such as this one, is pretty much how business gets done. The Realtors here have some political influence locally, and getting them lined up behind a project involving the construction of fifty or so 3,990 square foot jumbo wickiups that will sell for about $1.2 million each would have some advantages. We are talking around $60 million big ones cash total once all of these cribs are sold. Obviously the real estate community would profit greatly through commissions, which is something I am confident will be pointed out by an authorized Mater Dolorosa representative at that meeting on the 23rd.
Anyway, and as long as we are on the topic of "misrepresentation," let's take a look at two possible examples from this e-mail Father Higgins has been circulating lately.
Mod: As I am sure many readers here will easily recall, "Preserve Sierra Madre" was not the original name of this group. Here is what they called themselves previously:
Mod: To suggest that those backing the mega-housing scheme at Mater Dolorosa share the same goals and values as an organization founded upon the ideal of stopping just that very project is really quite a stretch.
Another potential "misrepresentation" can be found here:
Mod: What follows is a possibly relevant article that ran in the Pasadena Star News in April of 2014.
Mod: Here is the link to that article. Now this is not to say there isn't a more recent offer under consideration, but if that is the case I have yet to hear anything about it.
Have you heard?