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

MVNews this week:  Page 5

Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 19, 2022 


We at Preserve Sierra Madre have prom

ised to keep our readership up to date on 

what is happening in town regarding new 

zoning laws, remodeling, and new con

struction in our fair city. We have writ

ten about state laws SB 9 and 10, and the 

changes to the Planning Commission. 

For the next several months we will focus 

on The Meadows project, the 20 acres on 

the Retreat Center property that may be 
sold to the New Urban West. A Memorandum of Understanding, signed two years ago by 
then City Manager, Gabe Engeland, and a representative of The Passionist of Holy Cross 
Province in Chicago established an administrative proceeding to review the Project. 
Some have said it is best to let the process play out. Here’s what the “process” has done to 
date: As the process began, the same time as the worst pandemic in our lifetime, it was all 
done behind closed doors. The development of the MOU completely omitted the stakeholders 
– all residents of Sierra Madre. There was absolutely no public comment or input 
during the formation of the MOU. Importantly, there was no involvement from citizen 
volunteers, who spent years updating the General Plan. There was no opportunity to ask 
questions and get answers. And no discussion of alternatives. 
At this point, the final EIR and final draft Specific Plan were posted on the City website 
in January and February. The changes in the final draft Specific Plan - after written comments 
from residents, public comments before the City Council and Planning Commission, 
and Planning Commissioners suggestions - are in three key areas: 

1. Net zero water – Previously, the developer was promoting ‘net zero water usage’ for 50 
years by pre-purchasing water from the Metropolitan Water District. Now, the developer 
is promoting ‘net zero impact’ by pre-purchasing water from the San Gabriel Valley 
Municipal Water District, creating a lawn retrofit program and improvements to existing 
water infrastructure. 
2. Widening Carter Avenue – After indicating it wasn’t necessary, the developer has now 
decided to infringe on the Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park to widen Carter Avenue. They 
will now remove or endanger the mature pine trees that line the south boundary of the 
3. Dedication of Open Space - Originally proposed as dedicating 45 acres of open space 
to the City or other perpetual conservation, the Plan now proposes the conservation of 35 
acres with no further details. 
We are now approaching step 3 of the Meadows Project Review Process as presented on 
the City website: This first meeting of the Planning Commission is to begin the process 
to 1). Certify the final EIR 2). Amend the General Plan 3). Amend the Zoning code 4). 
Adopt the Specific Plan and 5). Approve the Development Agreement. The meeting will 
be held on Thursday, April 7 at 7:00pm in City Hall Chambers. 

This is an important one that will set the tone for the review process. Please plan to attend 
(or watch). 

We will be writing over the next few months why we think this project not only does not 
belong in Sierra Madre, but will do irreparable harm to our community. Our issues of concern 
are: Trees, biology, cultural resources, wildfires, hazardous materials, traffic, water, air 
quality and off-site damage to Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. While not mentioned in 
the Draft EIR -- the Final EIR and Specific Plan indicate that the development will now be 
encroaching on the dedicated park grounds of Bailey Canyon Park, destroying vegetation 
and impacting 16 mature trees: removing 4 of them, significantly impacting 10 of them 
and ‘encroaching’ on 2 of them. In addition, public access and parking will be altered to 
construct an otherwise unnecessary two-lane street and sidewalk on the west end of Carter 
Avenue for the sole benefit of this disputed housing development. 

If you would like to read more in depth about the issues listed above, we would be happy to 
email you a copy of our Rebuttal to the Draft Environmental Impact Report. Email us at 



The Passionists of Holy Cross Province in Chicago have owned the “Monastery” property 
since 1924, as the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center. There was a monastery complex 
housing priests, nuns, and brothers, and a Retreat cen ter, each in their own building. 
The monastery ceased to operate as such after 1975 and was vacated, and after the 1991 
earthquake the buildings were demolished and replaced with a Monastery memorial garden. 
The remaining building continues to be operated as a Retreat center, available for 
spiritual retreats of all kinds. 

There is no Monastery at Mater Dolorosa. 

The Passionists have traditionally been great neighbors and citizens of Sierra Madre. The 
property is currently zoned as Institutional, and the Passionists have every right to develop 
the property consistent with that zoning; they can expand their kitchen to provide more 
meals, build a church, a new monastery, or a senior center or anything institutional in the 
pursuit of their goals, be they religious or otherwise. 

However, the Passionists have decided to raise money (~$1-200M) for their operations 
worldwide (not in Sierra Madre) by selling off and developing part of the land as a 42 tract 
home development. To do that, they need to change their zoning to residential, and have 
proposed to do so under a “Specific Plan” that is separate and different than the General 
Plan that guides the rest of the city. 

This proposal has nothing to do with the Passionists exercising their religious freedom. It 
is a financial move based on re-zoning the land to their special idea for residential housing, 
which is counter to many of the provisions that guide housing in the rest of Sierra Madre. 
Several aspects of this proposal are alarming to many Sierra Madre citizens due to impacts 
on traffic, water, wildlife and nature, city services, and on the Bailey Canyon park and hiking 
trail and the fact that it sets a precedent for the remaining acreage, should the Passionists 
desire to sell and develop the rest of the property as residential as well. 

An initiative is being proposed for the next general election in Sierra Madre, that would put 
to a citywide vote the proposal that any change in zoning to residential for development 
of the Mater Dolorosa property follow the existing Hillside ordinance, which governs the 
development of residential housing in similar zones across the city hillside areas. 

The Passionists are pursuing this development with the city per the MOU they signed 
governing the process, although it is not binding on the outcome. The citizens behind the 
initiative are concerned that the City does not recognize the impacts they feel this will have; 
and are exercising their rights to petition. The initiative does not interfere with the MOU 
process. The initiative states that if the project is approved (per the MOU process), the 
zoning could not be residential according to the new exclusive Specific Plan they propose, 
but rather must comply with the rules that apply to the rest of the city in the Hillside areas. 

The initiative does not take away the Passionist’s religious freedom, or their freedom to 
build religious or other institutional buildings within their current zoning. It says that if 
they desire to change it to residential zoning it should follow the existing guidelines for 
similar areas in the city. 

Ed Miller, Sierra Madre 





by Deanne Davis 

Did you ever think, or maybe wonder,
If our God, Who never sleeps nor slumbers,
Planned every sunrise in advance,
Never leaving one to chance. 

A different sunset every night,
Did He plan them all when He created light?
From the very beginning to the very end,
Each one a glorious work of art,
To give us hope, to lift our heart. 

My good friend, Celia Kalm, challenged me 
recently to write a column containing as many 
positive thoughts as I could find. Dear friends 
and neighbors, they are everywhere. So I started 
right off with a poem by me that’s in my 
book, “Sunrises and Sunflowers Speak Hope.” 

Next, I saw this little statement posted on 
Facebook by my sister, Heidi: Wine is now 
cheaper than gas. Drink! Don’t Drive. 
Then I saw an essay by one of my favorite columnists, Harvey Mackay about March being 
National Reading Month. “In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March is designated as National 
Reading month – a month to motivate Americans of all ages to read every day (totally 
agree, Harvey). Reading is fun and has many benefits, regardless of your age. It’s a key 
component of education and professional development. Books illuminate your imagination, 
enhance your vocabulary, build confidence and improve memory, writing and communication 
skills. In short: Reading helps install new software in brains.” 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is one of the most positive, uplifting people we 
have ever heard of: “God sees everything and answers in such a way that you cannot hide. 
There is no such a bunker where you can hide from God’s answer. Even if you destroy all 
our Ukrainian cathedrals and churches, you will not destroy our faith! Our sincere faith in 
Ukraine and in God.” 
“Nobody is going to break us, we are strong, we are Ukrainians!” I’d say that’s pretty positive! 

Smile often. Think positively. Give thanks. Laugh loudly. Love others. Dream big. 

“We are much more creative than we give ourselves credit for. The problem is that we often 
suppress our ideas too quickly: No, that won’t work. Can’t afford that. Won’t enjoy that. If 
we can have the courage not to censor our ideas, we might surprise and delight ourselves. I 
will free my mind today and see how many interesting ideas I can come up with. Even if it 
turns out that none of them have practical value, I will still benefit from the creativity that 
I set free.” Linus Pauling 

“You are so great. More than capable of many wonderful things. You are loved by more than 
you know. Never forget that.” 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but 
people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou 

“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together...there is something you must always 
remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you 
think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart...I’ll always be with you.” Winnie 
the Pooh 

Of course this last one made me tear up as I know that is true of my beloved John, who is 
always with me, even though he’s dancing with the angels. 

Just a couple more...”Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. If anything is 
excellent or praiseworthy, think about those things.” Philippians 4:8 

And the very last one from Auntie Mame: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are 
starving to death!” 

The Wistaria Festival is coming in just a few days and the town will be bustling with excitement. 
Don’t miss it! There is wistaria all over town right now...check out City Hall... and 
it’s glorious! 

There now, even though gas prices are going through the roof and food and stuff is getting 
more expensive by the minute, Be Positive! Spring is coming, God loves you, you are alive 
and well. 

My Book Page: Deanne Davis 
Easter is on its way and “The Crown” – My story about what happened toThat infamous crown of thorns is now a real book in addition to a Kindle. 
It’s available on and it’s only $3.99If you want to check it out, here’s the link where you can see a short video: 


SIERRA MADRE, CA 91024(626) 355-5153 

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