Mountain Views News, Combined edition

Combined Edition

Inside this Week:

Sierra Madre:

Sierra Madre:
Walking SM … The Social Side
Letter to the Editor

SM Community Calendar:
SM Calendar of Events

Pasadena – Altadena:

Local City News:
Arcadia Police Blotter

Around The San Gabriel Valley:
Chef Peter Dills
Table for Two
All Things
Covid 19: Local Statistics

Support Your Local Businesses:

Just for Best Friends:
Happy Tails
SGV Humane Society

Education & Youth:
Christopher Nyerges

The Good Life:
Family Matters
Out to Pastor
Senior Happenings

Opinion … Left/Right/or in the Middle:
Stuart Tolchin On …
The Funnies

Support Your Local Newspaper:
Newspaper Fun!

F. Y. I. :

Jeff Brown
Deanne Davis
Peter Dills
Marc Garlett
Susan Henderson
Chris Leclerc
Christopher Nyerges
Rev. James Snyder
Stuart Tolchin

Recent Issues:
Issue 17
Issue 16
Issue 15
Issue 14
Issue 13
Issue 12
Issue 11
Issue 10
Issue 9
Issue 8
Issue 7

MVNews Archive:  Page 1

MVNews this week:  Page 1


VOLUME 14 NO. 18

 SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2020 


source: CoreLogic, Freddie Mac, BankrateTHEWEBB-MARTIN GROUPJan Greteman #01943630Judy Webb-Martin #00541631 
Katie Orth #00942500Who We Are:
Residents & business owners 
of Sierra Madre selling real estate 
since 1975 & proudly giving back 
to the community.
Your Story. Your Home. Your Team.
Together Stronger.
We offer over 90 years 
of trusted experience. 
Please reach out to us for any 
of your real estate needs.
451 Camillo Road | Sierra Madre 91024690 Oak Crest Drive | Sierra Madre 91024Represented the Buyer4 beds | 4 baths | 3,742 sqft3 beds | 2 baths | 1,641 sqft | Sold for $1,060,000The way we are working 
may have changed,
but our commitment 
to you is still the same.
SOLDRepresented the Seller
By Kevin McGuire - MVNews

Sierra Madre residents may have 
thought this chapter ended years 
ago when a drought-stricken 
town tabled the idea of 42 single-
family houses being built on 20 
acres owned by the Congregation 
of the Passion, Mater Dolorosa 
Community (The Monastery). 
But, not too long after drought 
restrictions were eased, and 
Spring was in the air, the proposed 
construction plan resurfaced, 
causing anxiety for some and 
excitement of the possibilities for 

On Tuesday night, City Council met 
remotely, (still following stay-at-
home guidelines set for COVID-19), 
to consider a resolution approving 
a Memorandum Of Understanding 
(MOU) between the City and the 
Congregation of the Passion. 

The property, which resides at 
700 Sunnyside Avenue, currently 
operates a 90-guest retreat center. 
Back in 2014, early in discussions 
of the idea, Retreat Director 
Michael Higgins stated that money 
raised from the 42 single-family 
homes will benefit aging priests 
and brothers at The Monastery, 
including help for any health-
related care they may need. 

Homeowners near the property, 
many who have lived in Sierra 
Madre for 20 years or more, voiced 
concerns about building on this 
land. Folks have grown to love the 
open space running along Bailey 
Canyon Wilderness Park and the 
scenic view which complements 
the mountains out many back 
windows. Several signed off on 
a Citizen’s Letters opposing the 
construction project and sent 
them to the Mayor and Council 

The History

So how did this all begin? The 
Passionists of Holy Cross Province 
have owned the property since 
1924 and dedicated The Monastery 
in 1932. 

Prior to 1997, this property was 
considered “residential single 
family.” After 1997, some of the 
zoning on the property was changed 
from residential to institutional. 
This allowed up to 20 acres to be 
used for low-density residential 
and recreational facilities. 

In 2016, the zone was amended 
to allow for the reuse of large, 
institutional properties. Such as 
a hospital, communal residential, 
assisted living, a multi-use field 
or a school. But this zoning does 
not allow for single-family homes. 
This means that before this project 
moves forward, City Council must 
amend the General Plan, Land-
Use Maps, Zoning Plans and the 
Zoning Code to accommodate the 
intended land use.

Back in 2017, a citizen coalition 
offered to buy the 20 acres in 
question for $10 million and were 
declined. They wanted to preserve 
the land as open space. The 
Passionists felt development of the 
land was a better option financially 
and for their priests and brothers. 

But the project came to a standstill, 
as did many in Sierra Madre, as 
water-usage amounts needed to 
start construction would be over 
the limited amounts set as a result 
of drought conditions. 

The Community Weighs In

Mayor Capoccia asked those 
calling during the public comment 
portion to stick to comments about 
the MOU and not to use the time 
to voice their disapproval of the 
construction project. Despite many 
oppositions, the general feeling is 
that something will be built there...
eventually. City Manager Gabe 
Engeland noted that the Passionists 
“have the right to develop on their 
property today.” The discussion is 
not whether there will or will not 
be development,” he said. “It is 
when and how it will be developed.” 
Engeland stated that no properties 
would be build up against current 
homes and that the community will 
have at least seven more chances 
to weigh in with comments and 
questions as progress moves 

Community members sent in 
e-mails and called in during the 
public comment section of the 
meeting. Concerns that were 
expressed during public comment 
included, preservation of Sierra 
Madre and open space, increased 
traffic, environmental impacts, and 
the need for transparency from 
City Council moving forward. 

There were some inquiries about 
public discussions being affected 
by COVID-19 restrictions. Are 
workshops and public forums 
done online really “public?” One 
Sierra Madre resident accused City 
Council of playing recorded calls 
from persons in favor of the MOU, 
many of whom live outside Sierra 
Madre. Mayor John Capoccia 
and another caller disputed the 
accusation affirming that calls 
were broadcast live. The mayor 
also welcomed calls from outside 
Sierra Madre, many of which were 
from persons affiliated with The 

The majority of calls were indeed 
from persons in favor of approving 
the MOU. Most see it as a good 
starting point for further discussion 
of this project. The MOU met 
unanimous approval from City 
Council. There will be plenty of 
planning, permits, procedures and 
public comment to come and it will 
be sometime before any ground 
is broken. As for transparency, 
information on this project can be 
found at
transparency and 


75 N Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024

(626) 355-0045

Kevin McGuire - MVNews

The Sierra Madre Council 
unanimously approved a final 
design construction of the 
Kersting Court refresh project 
and has authorized staff to seek 
bids to start construction. 

The Council met remotely 
Tuesday and were given a 
presentation of the final design 
proposal by Community Services 
Manager, Rebecca Silva-Barrón 
with Director of Public Works 
Chris Cimino also available to 
answer questions.

Back in November 2019, City 
Staff and the Community Services 
Commission (CSC) partnered 
with LRM Associates on 
landscape design ideas including 
colors and materials to be used in 
the makeover. The improvements 
are to include retaining the raised 
platforms, raised crosswalks, 
improvements meeting
Americans with Disabilities Act 
guidelines, replace irrigation, add 
landscape features and electrical 
lighting upgrades. Several brick 
stamped crosswalk designs have 
been discussed included colors of 
driftwood and nutmeg for some of 
the aspects. 

In addition, as part of the Arts in 
Public Places program, the plan 
includes possibly adding artistic 
features including 3x3 ft. inlaid 
plaques representing some of 
the history of Sierra Madre, such 
as the school bell tower, school 
house, first red trolley, Mount 
Wilson Trail Race, and the town’s 
role in film making. No final 
decision has been made on the 
content or placement locations for 
the plaques. 

Though many necessary upgrades 
will take place at Kersting Court, 
the plan is to preserve some of 
the current elements that the 
community embraces such as 
the pepper tree, bell tower, flag 
pole, seating and landscaping. 
There will still be a pedestrian-
friendly area and gathering place 
as well. The CSC’s goal is to keep 
environmental sustainability 
in mind as well as keeping a 
pedestrian and business-friendly 
atmosphere at Kersting Court.

Total cost for the project is 
expected to exceed $431,000 
and no time has been set for 
completion of the project.

If you would like to see a breakdown 
of costs and a sketching of the 
design plan, you can view at www. Just go to the 
City Council Staff Reports for April 28. 



COVID STATS BY CITY..........................PAGE 7

A FARM IN SIERRA MADRE.............. ...Page 2

PASADENA NEWS ................................Page 5



EDUCATION & YOUTH..........................Page 8

SENIOR.COMMUNICATIONS...............Page 11

OPINION...............................................Page 12

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website:

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Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.604.4548