Sierra Madre Tattler: Gabe - There is this observation from Preserve Sierra Madre:
"It has also come to our attention that Mater Dolorosa has invited city officials to their property to line up support for another attempt at developing that property into one of the biggest housing projects Sierra Madre has seen in decades. We are monitoring this latest threat to the Monastery property very closely and we will alert our supporters of any news in that regard."
Can you send me any information on how these meetings were set up, invitations issued, and any other email or letters that were sent and received to make what is described above happen? Both to and from Mater Delarosa? Plus any information on what was discussed in telephone conversations or by texting, along with a review of what happened, and was said, at the property itself. That plus anything else related that may have occurred that I did not request here.
Gabe Engeland: Here is the official response under the open records act, with a brief explanation, from our Assistant City Clerk: “There are no records responsive to Mr. Crawford’s request. The invitation was made by telephone. Mr. (Jerry) Pearson (link for additional information) did not disclose the topics for discussion prior to the meeting.”
Here is the response to the items you requested in addition to the Open Records request. The Mater Dolorosa is zoned Institutional. It cannot be developed for housing or any non-institutional use without a change to the zoning and an amendment to the General Plan.
When Preserve Sierra Madre writes “It has also come to our attention that Mater Dolorosa has invited city officials to their property….”, this is true. More specifically, I am the one that brought it to the attention of Preserve Sierra Madre. I met with Matt Bryant of Preserve Sierra Madre and we discussed several topics regarding development in Sierra Madre in general--and on the topic of Mater Dolorosa and development of the property specifically, including the invitation to Mater Dolorosa from Mr. Pearson.
I relayed to Preserve Sierra Madre, the same thing I told Mater Dolorosa when we met, the Institutional Zoning prohibits residential development on the site. Any changes to zoning and the General Plan would have to be public and heard before the Planning Commission. City Staff does not control the zoning or the General Plan. Further, I explained City Staff are not advocates for the pro- or anti-development groups in Sierra Madre, and we will not take sides. Our job is to apply the City Code and other applicable laws and regulations to any proposed development or plan without bias and in an impartial manner.
In this case, residential development is prohibited in Institutional Zoning. If the Mater Dolorosa wants to develop they must do it in a way that is compatible with zoning and the General Plan, which they have a right to do, or they need to seek a change in zoning and an amendment to the General Plan in front of the Planning Commission.
Please let me know if you need any additional information.
Mod: The take away here? Watch out who you elect to the City Council next April.