Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 19, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page B:3

Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 19, 2022 MORE ON THE MEADOWS..... B3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 19, 2022 MORE ON THE MEADOWS..... B3 

A constant theme and overriding concern of 
ours for the past year is the lack of two-way 
communication from the City Council. Despite 
our many attempts to promote a dialogue – it 
falls repeatedly on deaf ears. We have asked 
for a town hall meeting to openly discuss the 
proposed Meadows housing development to 
no avail. Instead, there will be Joint Meeting 
of the City Council and Planning Commission 
with the project developer, New Urban West, 
who will view the meeting as ‘another’ successful 
‘outreach’. We residents are allowed to ask 
questions, but only once, and only to the Planning 
Commissioners and/or City Council, not 
the developer. Is it any wonder we at Preserve 
Sierra Madre feel no one is listening to us, or if 
they are listening, they are not hearing us? 

Two weeks ago, we wrote that our 24 page rebuttal 
to the Draft EIR for the 42 unit housing 
development on the Monastery project was inexplicably 
not included. Two emails received 
the day after the deadline of October 4 were included 
- But our 24 page report was missing? 
Really? Director of Development Vincent Gonzalez 
eventually got back to us with an explanation….
It was an “oversight.” We were advised 
that the company responsible for the Draft EIR, 
Dudek, would issue an Addendum with the 
missing comments and responses, but we have 
no word on when that will be. As a result, we 
printed up ten copies and gave them to each 
City Council member and Planning Commissioner 
so that they would have them before the 
Joint Meeting. 

Left: An aerial view 
of the Retreat 
Center Property 
which includes the 
actual Monastery 
(lower building) that 
was demolished after 
being damaged by an 

Below isa more 
recent aerial view of 
the property and surrounding 

Photos courtesy of the 
Retreat Center from 
MVNews Archives 

When city officials don’t listen and don’t pay 
attention to the concerns of the citizens who 
elected them, there are other options for those 
willing to protect and preserve Sierra Madre. 
One is to give the citizens an opportunity to 
voice their opinion at the ballot box. The Protect 
Sierra Madre group has filed an Initiative 
to place an Ordinance on the Ballot in this 
year’s election to be voted on by all registered 
voters of Sierra Madre. As proposed, it would 
change the zoning of the Monastery parcel (Mater 
Dolorosa) and any subdivisions of it, from 
Institutional to Hillside Residential Zone. The 
“Monastery” parcel is the only large property 
abutting the mountains that is not protected by 
Open Space or Hillside Residential zoning. The 
Hillside designation would prevent the owner 
and developer from building a densely packed 
tract housing development or an oversized institutional 

Over the years, our elected officials, after five 
years of hard work from many citizens, enacted 
significant General Plan changes and ordinances 
to protect what makes Sierra Madre special - 
the Environment, the wildlife, tree canopies, the 
Hillsides, and the Monastery parcel. The Monastery 
parcel had been in the original General 
Plan as institutional, which did not change in 
the update. 

If the property is zoned Hillside, any building 
would be limited to fewer homes, larger lots, 
more open space, vegetation and trees. Habitat 
will be protected. There will be less air pollution, 
traffic, noise, water use and, significantly, 
reduced fire danger. The Retreat Center can 
continue its mission and visitors can continue to 
enjoy the tranquillity that the meadow provides. 

Instead of allowing this developer to ignore 
the city’s General Plan and zoning, and replace 
it with their own ‘Specific Plan’ that disregards 
the standards and protections we desire, registered 
Sierra Madre voters can sign a Petition to 
get the Initiative on the ballot for the November 
election. Yes, it is the Monastery’s property, 
but we have zoning laws for a reason. If City 
Council will not listen to their constituents, we 
do have options. We support our fellow Sierra 
Madre citizens who want the best outcome for 
the Monastery property in our city. 


By Kevin McGuire 

Thanks to the efforts of our wonderful 
firefighters, there are no active wildfires 
in Sierra Madre. But, one hot topic has 
been burning for over a year now—the 
proposal known as “The Meadows” at 
Bailey Canyon on the grounds of the 

Residents have shown up in full force to 
City Council and Planning Commission 
meetings, put “Save the Monastery” 
signs on their front lawns, made phone 
calls, sent letters, and took to the streets 
to stop the project that looks to build 42 
single-family houses on 20 acres owned 
by the Congregation of the Passion, MaterDolorosa Community. 

The Final Environmental Impact Report 
for this project is available for download 
on the city website. (Note: It’s large, so it 
may take some time to download). 

One of the first new business items 
approved by Mayor Gene Goss this year 
was to support a change that would 
eliminate the reading of emails sent in as 
public comments. Instead, these emails 
would be put on the city’s website to fulfill 
the city’s “transparency” requirements 
while reducing the length of the meetings. 

So, this change in public comment policy 
spawns a few new questions. Should public 
comments have to be read in public? Or, 
is putting the comments on the website 
sufficient to appease The Brown Act and 
provide enough transparency by the city? 

But, during the City Council meeting on 
January 25, one resident, Deb Sheridan, 
sent an email to Mayor Goss asking 

for a town hall meeting to discuss the 
Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on 
“The Meadows” project. She also called in 
to make sure her point was heard. 

According to Sheridan, Mayor Goss 
had this to say about the town hall idea. 
“Concerning the Monastery, I see no 
reason why we need any more public 
meetings other than those that have 
already been scheduled.” 

 “When, pray tell, have these 
aforementioned public meetings been 
scheduled? I respectfully request that you 
actually let the public know,” Sheridan 

One of the online public comments came 
in from Clyde Stauf. “I’m not sure why the 
Planning Commission and City Council 
continues to fast-track this misguided 
project. Any layman could see that 
pouring 700-800 additional car trips a day 
down Sunnyside and an inadequate outlet 
on Carter St. doesn’t work and would have 
a very negative impact on the residents. 
The traffic study is totally inadequate to 
justify the traffic increase.” 

Maria Karafilis also chimed in online. 
“It poses an unacceptable fire danger 
and traffic congestion that will result, 
especially down Fairview Ave., Sunnyside, 
and Carter, should be reason enough to 
pause and reconfigure what goes into this 
space,” she stated. “Many residents feel that 
their concerns are not being heard, and 
the City Council members have not been 
sufficiently responsive. I have contacted 
each member by email and received only 
one response. Your responsibility is to 
represent and protect the citizens of Sierra 
Madre, and I urge you to quit bending over 
backward to accommodate the developers 
and instead look out for your electorate,” 
Karafilis said. 

Lastly, resident Pat Alcorn addresses the 
new public comment process, “the most 
confusing process anyone could have 
come up with. If I want to make 
a public comment in person, I 
need to have a phone dialed in 
with a code and password. Or, 
I can bring my computer and 
somehow get online? Or stay at 
home with my computer and get 
on Zoom with the code listed? 
Posting comments online is a 
waste of time since few people 
will make the effort to pull up the 

comments,” Alcorn noted. 

Only one partial response was 
given for any of the online 
public comments. None of 
the Monastery questions or 
comments were responded to 
during the actual meeting, which 
was virtual via Zoom. 

As the conversation continues, 
with similar comments sent in 
to the latest meeting on February 
8, there will be a special joint 
session with City Council and The 
Planning Commission to discuss 
“The Meadows” proceedings at 
Bailey Canyon and the proposed 
42-lot residential subdivision 
located at Sunnyside Ave. 

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