Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Skilled Nursing Facility (aka Senior Assisted Living Facility) Neighborhood Meeting

There is this sudden outburst of niceness coming out of City Hall. Particularly when announcing meetings that cover sensitive topics. Apparently we no longer get together for all hands on deck rhubarbs over development issues these days. Instead we're going to have a "neighborhood meeting." Sort of a cumbaya vibe to that, with a misty Fabreze-like scent of civility hanging in the air. Rounded words that in no way suggest unhappy locals getting together to vent their suspicions about weaselly gummint types and their fast talking ways trying to slip something by us townies.

Nope. Instead we're going to have a neighborhood meeting. Just a bunch of us folks getting together to enjoy the company of their fellow citizens. All while City Hall explains how once again we are fortunate to have them working as hard as they do. The warm glowing heart at the center of our lives, and really, the only opinions that truly matter. Please, listen and learn. And who knows, maybe there will be pizza.

I need to level here. Nothing raises my suspicions as much as nice people. You just can't trust them. Car salesmen are nice. So are bank loan officers. The folks down at Human Resources are nice, even when they're handing you some walking papers. Aluminum siding salesmen are regular princes. So are life insurance agents. The guy that wanted to unload a time share on me a decade or so back? Very nice, actually. At least until he figured out that I wasn't going for it. The Navy recruiter who signed me up for 4 of the longest years of my life was extremely nice as well.

But the guy who drove past the recruiting station and screamed out, "Don't do it, you %#@*&$ idiot!" was not nice at all. His advice turned out to be rather sound, though. Or so I was to feel a few weeks later.

Yesterday's weekly e-mail blast from The City contained this momentous news:

Neighborhood Meeting Regarding A Proposed Senior Assisted Living Facility - A neighborhood meeting to receive public input for a proposed senior assisted living facility will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sierra Madre Recreation Center (Sierra Madre Room) located at 611 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. The proposed project site is a 1.84 acre property located (at) 245 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., at (the) northwest corner of Sierra Madre Boulevard and Hermosa Avenue (across the street from City Hall). The new facility will include a 58,000 square foot, two-story building that can accommodate up to 96 residents.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. at which time members of the public are invited to view the proposed plans and talk with representatives of the developer and city staff. A presentation on the proposed project will begin at 7:15 p.m. when an overview and description of the project will be provided. City staff will also outline the public hearing and environmental review processes for future additional public input.

All such niceness aside, receiving public input is required by state law in such instances, so I am not certain that the use of the word "invited" is totally in tune with what is being described here. The City is doing this meeting because they have to, and not because they wish to put in a lot of extra time and effort just so they can hear residents bad mouth their months of effort on this project.

As anyone who reads this news site is aware, the Skilled Nursing Facility has been a source of great contention in this little town of ours for a long time. Bought by developers who hoped to make a quick killing building condos back when local real estate hucksters and con artists were pushing the Downtown Specific Plan, it was later allowed to sit in a state of radical disrepair when those dreams of mixed-use multi-story glory were not realized. Much finger pointing and blame assigning was done over this mess, with (rather ironically) allies of the negligent SNF developer actually claiming that the responsibility lay with those who had fought for and won a voter initiative designed to keep Sierra Madre from being turned into a kind of Rancho Cucamonga West. Rather than the bum himself.

That said, I suspect the premise behind the City's public relations approach to this project is that we are supposed to be filled with delight. That after all this time, and through so many false starts, something is finally going to happen. And who knows, maybe this really is something to be happy about, and that the infamous eyesore on Sierra Madre Boulevard is finally going to become something we can all be proud of again.

But here is a question. Where is all the information about this project? There was a City Council presentation from the developer last March, but precious little since. Can it be that the only current data the public will receive about this "Senior Assisted Living Facility (SALF?)" is to be given out just before they're supposed to deliver their "input?" Moments after they've had their nice chat with the developer and helpful city staff? With that being the only stuff they will be able to draw upon for their input?

I'm sorry, but unless something is given to the residents of this town to study and talk over before this meeting takes place, what the City is talking about here is actually public relations and marketing. An orchestrated effort to create and promote the illusion of community support. And as such a conscious attempt to circumvent any potential community opposition to what for almost everyone in town is now an entirely unknown entity.

So, and with not a whole lot to draw upon outside of some previous disappointing experiences and an innate boundless skepticism, here are some questions that I believe need to be considered for the September 7th confab:

1) There will be beautiful renderings of the building revealed at this meeting, but will they be accurate visual depictions of just how large these structures will be? Will they be shown in comparison to other buildings in town, or stand alone without any references to judge their size by?

2) Will the drawings be in full color contrasts, muted tints, or plain black & white? B&W drawings only offer an unsatisfactory two-dimensional impression of a structure's size. If these drawings are not in vibrant 3-D appearing colors, then it must be assumed that they are hiding something.

3) Where will everyone park? A facility housing 96 invalids will require a lot of staff to help them through their days. Where will they put all of their cars? And please, no talk of buses. Nobody but the most die hard public transportation advocates take the bus to Sierra Madre. You either drive or you don't come here. Life is much too short for that.

4) How will having so large a facility in town affect traffic?

5) Is this going to be a LEED certified building? Will it be sustainable? Will it be built using green materials and standards? Will it have solar panels?

6) Will the developer be asking for fee breaks? Will the developer attempt to convince us that what he is doing is an act of beneficence, and therefore the taxpayers need to pick up the tab for his licenses and fees? Kind of like with the wine tasting room?

7) Will there be deed restrictions on the property so that it can only be used as a nursing facility? So that if this business goes belly up in a couple of years, the building won't be turned into condos?

8) Have the developers received state approval for their plans? These can take as long as 15 months.

9) How affordable will this facility be? Is it for low income people, or is it something that only the wealthiest will be able to afford? Only the first 90 days of such a stay are paid for by Medicare, but after that all costs fall upon the families. How will this facility treat its indigent patients?

10) What will the impact be on Sierra Madre's tight water supply?

11) Will there be a storm water capture on this lot? I asked someone about the concept of a storm water capture and why that is important. Here is the e-mail I received in reply:

The SNF site is about 2 acres. Average rain fall is 22.04 inches per year, or around 2 feet. An acre foot of water is the amount of water needed to cover one acre in one foot of water. An acre foot of water equals 325,851 gallons. The average suburban family with a lawn uses 0.3 acre foot/year.

In an average year 2 acre feet of rain will fall on the SNF site. This equates to 651,702 gallons of water. Will the new facility have a storm water capture system to keep all of this valuable water from going straight into the storm sewers? This water should be captured and used on the property. Many cities require new developments to have systems to capture storm water? Does Sierra Madre even have such a program?

12) Will the City require a permeable covering on the parking lot?

So that is a start. Real questions rather than just bubbly niceness. Which, if you think about it, isn't really niceness at all. That is, unless you believe that subservience is a virtue.

The East Montecito Meeting

Last night the following comment was posted on this site:

Elaine Aguilar showed up at the meeting and her exact words were, "there is a very strong possibility of a homeless shelter on East Montecito." Once again it looks like the City has made up its mind.

So much for the City listening to the desires of a community, and taking its guidance. And was Elaine even supposed to be there? We will have a lot more to say about this tomorrow.


  1. Hey Bucky, It's the 21st CenturyAugust 18, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    Put all the SNF details on the city website today, and let the citizens know what you know.

    Do you have the ethics for that?

  2. 8:31, If the city told the truth, they wouldn't be the city.

  3. Homeless Central in Sierra Madre?

    -Build it and they will come !

    It is only a short walk from the proposed shelter to Bean Town .Now that's really going to make a difference to the downtown ambience!

  4. Anyone who attends the meeting needs to ask tough questions and demand answers. No promises. Everything in writing.

  5. This meeting needs to be recorded by someone in the public so there will be an accurate record of what Bob The Builder says.

  6. I thought there was a large homeless contingent who spent their days at Beantown! Same unshaven, uber casual set lounging about day after day...

  7. Deed restriction, yes indeed.

    The developer said the 23 living suites would have a main room and several individual rooms off it. This set up could very easily be reconfigured into 24 condos / apartments if the project goes belly up.

  8. The developer from Poway made a presentation some time ago at a council meeting. Heck, there's probably a Tattler article about it. It's kind of a blur but I do remember that the parking lot is going to stay as a parking lot, and does meet the requirements.

  9. I have actually left Bean Town and not purchased anything because all the tables are taken up by the coffee-computer crowd. A cup of coffee should buy you a table for about 20 minutes. Not 3 hours.

  10. From "possible" to "accepting bids" can happen in the blink of an eye.

  11. I would much rather have this facility than Fred Wesley's 55 condo Wisteria Village.
    And of course it's expensive. Where do you live that you think Assisted Care Facilities are reasonably priced.

  12. With regards to the SNF, I have been a big proponent for this type of facility for quite some time. It is necessary for the aging Sierra Madreans to be near their family in their golden years. It is also critical because it can serve as a medical facility in the event of a major disaster. As of 2008, most medical facilities need to meet LEED standards (silver level) for sustainability. This includes water conservation efforts. And specifications that meet OSHPOD standards are generally not congruent with mixed use or apartment living. So we may hope to breath a sign of relief with that.

    With regard to the homeless shelter, this is news to me! Please someone elaborate and give specifics on how we can stop this! It is one thing to fight developers from invading the community. Making accommodations for a transient population of zero is unneccesary and will only invite and enable a transient population in the future! Let us learn from Santa Monica and their growing transient problem!

  13. The reason for putting homeless housing on Montecito is so the attendance at the Chamber's Friday Night Live events will improve.

  14. View will be gone.August 18, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Make them lower the lot to street level.
    We don't need a 58,000 sq ft Taj Mahal perched
    on an eight foot throne towering over the blvd.

    Won't be abler to see the mountains from the park.

  15. The Star News has printed a couple articles about a homeless census taking place there. Apparently the homeless population is large and the shelters there are full. I guess they'll be heading our way soon. Can we name it after Joe Mosca?

  16. You know darn well the second story rooms with a view of the mountains will cost more. At least someone will get to see our mountains even if it is not us.

  17. The residents of Sierra Madre need to fight for a better plan, again, and put the homeless shelter next to city hall.

  18. 9:22 Where have you been? Why haven't you taken the time to read the bogus housing element that cost us $50,000? The homeless component is buried in the housing element at the very back. It is called transitional / emergency housing. And it can not be stopped. Any property owner on Montecito can build it or any group can buy a lot and build it. I suggest that you and others start showing up at meetings. We are about to start the next RHNA cycle. Now is the time to start screaming for the next cycle. What's done is done. Our only hope is the people on Montecito do not turn on their neighbors because of greed.

  19. NO Homeless next to City Hall. Not next to City Hall. In the back the police station. Let the homeless check in and out at the front desk

  20. Is the shelter for the day workers?

  21. Any city elected official or staff member who says that they cannot stop homeless housing here because we have no choice needs to be fired. We pay the taxes in this town, and what we want is what counts. Anyone in a position to do so who does not fight this blight by design isn't trying and needs to be shown the door.

  22. If we build a homeless shelter in Sierra Madre then Sierra Madre will have a homeless problem. Pasadena will hire the buses to drive them here.

  23. Homeless shelter? Really?
    How many homeless reside in Sierra Madre? Other than the slightly demented gentleman who bikes into town once in a while before being promptly sent on his way by Officer Fife, I can't remember the last time I've seen a homeless person in our fair city. What need is there for a homeless shelter, and who is demanding that it be filled?

  24. Ah, the good and kindly folks of Sierra Madre speak out on helping their less fortunate brothers and sisters. Such a Christian community with all its edifices dedicated to the words of Christ.

  25. I kinda like the idea of the new Assisted Living Center setting aside 2 or 3 of their units for the homeless. If, as 9:50 am says, our single homeless man if slightly demented, then that's the place for him! After all, they are going to have a dementia unit.

  26. Interesting. BMP regs are required throughout LA County, which require stormwater retainage. The EIR should contain a comprehensive review of the impact of traffic, dependent upon the square footage of development. New infrastructure, more water, etc. etc. Amount of square footage is crucial in the project entitlement, because once it's established under any guise or use, it's there for any project that might come along later.

    Better put the screws on at the meeting.

  27. this project should get no special treatment, fee reductions, or any variances. I was told they would need several variances.

  28. Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of fixing up the SNF as much as the next guy. But if we cut this project too much slack it might set a precedent for other projects that come later. Ones that we won't like quite so much.

  29. The SNF project can't expect any help from the City's CRA, since all new projects are frozen until the courts make up their minds about disbanding or allowing the bribe money to keep the current CRAs. And, as far as the homeless shelter, I'm with 9:38. Where have all of you been? Obviously you don't follow Sierra Madre politics. MaryAnn MacGillivray has been talking about the RHNA numbers for years, and MaryAnn, Crawford, Watts and Alcorn ran their campaigns on trying to get control of the local government instead of the regional governments. Don't blame Elaine or Danny, blame Mosca and Buchanan who swept the SB375 regs under the rug and they are now coming to haunt us. Mosca failed to represent us at the SCAG meetings, and Buchanan failed to appoint MaryAnn to COG so she could have a real voice and continue our fight.
    The election in April might well seal our fate. If we can't get anyone to follow what is going on at SCAG, the RHNA sub-committee and COG, as MaryAnn is now, we will fall to the whims of Sacramento.

  30. Um, since the re-districting our assembly area includes, essentially we are now being "captured", combined, swallowed up by a bigger "phish." Pasadena ! Then we can inherit all that comes with the territory, so to speak & the homeless will just "seep" into our sleepy little town & "take" residence without the need to even build shelter. Sierra Madre will just "become' the shelter. We need a "boarder" patrol...where's my life jacket! Don't let this ship sink!!! Man the life boats...the captain's went ashore!!!

  31. shouldn't a city be responsible for it's own homeless situation?

    since we really don't have a homeless situation, why is our Council and city staff considering a homeless shelter?

    is our city in the business of recruiting homeless to come to Sierra Madre?

    maybe the homeless will support the Farmer's Market, that's Mosca's rationale

  32. who wants to bet that within a dozen years, if that long Sierra Madre will cease to exist and will be incorporated into Pasadena?

    we have been heading in that direction for the last 10 years and this Council of 4 idiots are steamrolling us into oblivion

    we were doomed when Moran was elected - how low can we go

    oh yeah, we also elected Nancy Walsh

    and reelected Joe Mosca the most blatant liar we've had on council in the last dozen years

  33. Scateboarders, latch key kids, now homeless? We need to enlarge Kirsting Ct. possibly with a fast food joint and needle exchange.

  34. Think how popular the wine tasting room would have been.

  35. Let's be frank, shall we? The reason why E. Montecito was chosen for a homeless shelter is because the City thought they could get away with it.

  36. 10:43 You would be surprised how many ways the City will help the SNF's new owners.
    Reduced fees or no fees
    Reduced parking requirements
    Everyone should read and understand Measure V
    where is height measured
    building size
    Remember if the project does not comply with Measure V then it goes to a city wide vote.
    This Powway group will claim residential when it suits them and commercial when it suits them. They are playing both sides to their advantage. If this building was commercial it would require 174 parking spaces. They are claiming it is residential so the are going to try to get away with 46 parking places or 2 for each of the 23 units. Where will the 24 hr a day staff park? Where will the doctors park? What about deliveries for food, medical supplies etc? The ambulance? Family and friends that go to visit? I'll tell you where they will park. On Sierra Madre Blvd and Hermosa.

  37. Great questions in the article and in some of the comments. All need to be asked at the meeting. Then we need to hold the developers to their words. Deed restrictions are absolutely in order.
    And that said, this will be a great boon to the residents of Sierra Madre. Not because they may have enough money to live there, but because it will be an emergency medical center if needed in a catastrophe that makes traveling south impossible.
    Just like Dr. Sami's - a deal needs to be put in place where health care givers who live in Sierra Madre, doctors and nurses, can use both medical establishments in need.
    This is the kind of development that we want. So yes, watch every move and be skeptical, but remember the problem solving that is required - not just the problems.

  38. 12:30 Major good points! You ask where will the rest of the parking needs be located? Like in Pasadena (Fed X, UPS, Food Delivery Trucks, "Emergency Vehicles", City Employes on Patrol, and more) will start to use the middle of Sierra Madre Blvd. There is already a problem on Baldwin, as Kersting Ct parking (red curb) is now used for delivery for those restaurants and shops)

  39. 9:54, it is so good of you to offer your positive attitude about a shelter.
    Put that into action - call city hall and give them your address, and tell them that you'd be happy to have the homeless shelter close to you.

  40. Here is a question nobody has asked yet. Who owns the SNF these days? Probably as good a way to gauge future intentions as any.

  41. It was another unknowable LLC, right? But now it's the Powayians who own it.

  42. The guys cleaning up the place told me that since Fish and Co could not build 3 story condos like they wanted to do, they had sold it to the guys from PowWay. It may be contingent on the city giving they Pow Wow guys their way.

  43. Why stop with a Homeless shelter.Since we want to make a lot of money,make some room for Half way houses as well.For that matter,toss in some Sec 8 hotels and the clustered ant colonies that grace Pasadena ave and at madre Metro!Single family housing is currently passe(Not Green enough)Are we up to the challenge,the future is now! Not!

  44. Po' Way could have some partners. I think we need to see who it is we're opening our town up to. Didn't we learn anything from the EVG disaster?

  45. If the City didn't "give" Mr. Fish his way so that he could build condos, why would anyone think the City would "give" Mr. Poway his way? It is the City who talked the talk and walked the walk and kept Fred Weasely's condos from being built, it was SMMRD who passed 2-30-13 that forced the City to hold firm.

    And, 2:01 pm, just why would you think there is money to be made in Homeless Shelters, Section 8 housing, and halfway houses? If builders could sell single family houses, that's what they would be building. Only McMansions are selling, thank you Real Estate moguls. Ordinary folks can't afford to buy, and most are quickly finding they can't afford to rent.

    So what's the answer? London's only the beginning if one isn't found.

  46. Maybe Maor Buchanan should try and get the state to build a prison here. And a nuclear waste dump as well. All he would have to do is tell the residents there is no choice and we have to do it. They fall for that one every time!

  47. There's some question about McMansions selling, too... just look up the road toward the top of Baldwin.

    The down economy is actually helping Sierra Madre to stand off the vultures trying to pick our bones.

    Must be a lot of money in upscale Assisted Living Centers.

  48. "homeless housing".....Think about what you comfortable middle class bores are saying here!

    I remember a great protest in which Martin Sheen participated when Santa Barbara was getting scared about "homeless" people...One bright spark held aloft a sign which read "Homeless...GO HOME"

    Tolerance Sierra may own some pricey land...does that make you a better person than one who has fallen on hard times?

  49. Are we also expected to pay for this alleged Homeless Shelter?

    Add insult to injury, while they're at it?

  50. 4:07 PM

    Giving homeless people a place to stay doesn't address the core issue. If one wants to solve homelessness and poverty in this country, one needs to start with the Banking Cartels and Multi-national Corporations that have shut down America's factories and moved the jobs to Asia and Latin America, with the help of (our?) their bought and paid for, elected officials.

    Building homeless shelters only keeps the developers wealthy, but never addresses the root causes. It seems as though you might be looking for a free place to live instead of a solution to your "situation."

  51. BRAVO 4:07!!....the crowd on this blog sports bumper stickers saying" U.S. out of North America"

  52. Interesting mix..MC Mansions and Homeless shelters nestled snugly amongst the oaks in the "Foothill "Village".It would make a great brochure for our Chamber of Commerce.

  53. 4:07 - we have kids. That makes drug addicts and psychopaths less quaint than they might be to those of you living the urbanist lifestyle.

  54. Disappointing to me that the first post today suggested the city provide immediate information on projects like the snf, and in 50 subsequent comments all I see is calls to go to the meetings at which the same important information will be withheld.

    It's time to change the game. If you agree to play by G4 rules, you're going to lose.

    New Rule Number One: All available information must be disclosed in print by the city before a meeting can be scheduled.

    You don't go to the meeting to find out what they are planning, you go to question what they are planning, after reading it.

  55. 4:52, well said; those who want the inner-city experience should move to the heart of the inner-city.

  56. I have decided that I am a Ms. Blunt fan.

  57. 4:07/4:24, your monolithic worldview is showing...

  58. I am always astonished at how easily the non-procreative assume a position of moral superiority, 4:07. What other positions do you assume?

  59. I laughed at the comment about Sierra Madreans not being "Christians" because we do not want to invite homeless into our city. First of all, not all of us are Christians, nor do we criticize those who are not. Secondly, we do not have a homeless problem in Sierra Madre. IF we had a problem, then a shelter should be considered. However, I see no reason for city taxes to be spent on an imaginary problem. And for those who want to criticize my views on homelessness, you hypocrites can meet me at the LA Mission on Skid Row. I work there every Saturday.

  60. you do not have to be a christian to read the bible and have a social conscienceAugust 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    The economy is horrible.the poor, hungry, and sick will suffer the most if the rich do not contribute to the tax burden..1 out of every 5 children goes hungry every night....

    They always have and always will be poverty and why should I do anything seems to be the rhetoric here today.....

    However, that will not always keep our village "off the hook" from having to be a part of the
    many communities who build housing for the poor.

    why is there not ONE church who does not have a soup kitchen at least one day of the week? how can the cong, st. rita's, bethany, the episcopalian's (the mighty 4) and not teach their children social justice and open a soup kitchen? Are we really afraid of looking into the actions of the Sermon of the Mount?

    Homeless people are not dirty rotten drug users who smell up Bean Town or anywhere else. C'mon everyone. Many of us are a paycheck away from homelessness.

    What WOULD Jesus say/do...?

  61. Projects such as this one have nothing to do with solving the homeless problem, instead it is all about developers partnering with elected officials to make money.

    Consider the recent "mixer" held by the San Gabriel Valley Housing and Homeless Council. It was a pleasant affair whereby City Council members, city staff and a handful of select developers were able to meet and discuss projects......all outside the view of the public.

    Oh and who formed this "Homeless Council"??? none other than our very own San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

  62. The SGVCOG only responds to grant money. They don't give a damn about anything else.

  63. "Social Justice" is just another term for MarxismAugust 18, 2011 at 7:52 PM



    Your left wing arguments are getting so indefensible, they are laughable.

  64. The state is closing mental institutions because they can't afford to pay pensions and house the mentally ill anymore. Build a homeless shelter here and you know where they'll dump them.

  65. Hey there good people..did you ever look at that monstrous-city SNf/assisted living building on west side of south Fair Oaks, just above Glendon???? It belongs to the lady that bought Sierra Madre SNF. It loooks more like a grand hotel. Don't know if the census is full to capacity, but gosh..they could always rent out rooms to the general public to make ends meet. Maybe that's what the POW!!! Wayans would do here & if they can't get assistable residents. well just lower the rent & get anybody. Hire a guard or lower our guard & have a soup kitchen & daily room rates...we could volunteer to serve meals & have one of Sami's med"l assistants be on duty for any medical needs & the cong church can tell them about brotherly love.

  66. Off topic, but it' the Tattler and we don't care, does anyone know why the Pinney House is up for sale?

  67. Don't worry Beantown smells bad enough already, plus I think he is already hiring the homeless by the looks of some of the help.

  68. Hi all...

    This is really interesting take on the concept. Assisted living facility is a place where people, mostly senior citizens, can live and receive health care and various daily living assistance. Thanks a lot for sharing with us...

  69. I'm pretty sure people are up on the concept, Assisted. Is it hot in Phoenix this time of year?

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