Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, May 14, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 3

3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, May 14, 2022 CONVERSATIONS.......THE MEADOWS 3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, May 14, 2022 CONVERSATIONS.......THE MEADOWS 
By Robert Gjerde 
In 1991, Sierra Madre was rocked by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake. The 
Monastery building, built in 1932, suffered extensive damage. Because 
of this it has been suggested that the site is unsafe for homes. It is more 
complicated than that simplistic view. The Monastery building was what 
is called “unreinforced masonry,” meaning it had no rebar in it and was 
susceptible to cracking and collapse with relatively light shaking. After the 
1933 Long Beach earthquake, new building codes were introduced and a 
building of the monastery’s design could no longer be built in LA County. 
Today we have even more restrictive building codes. To illustrate the dif-
ference, you only need to look to the Retreat Center building less than 300 
feet to the north. That building was built in 1949 and survived the Sierra 
Madre earthquake with no significant damage. New buildings today are 
built to the even stricter Earthquake Design Regulations taking into ac-
count the coefficients and factors of the expected lateral-forces. Ground 
rupture is not expected in the project area. As the experts stated in the 
EIR, “the portion of the Sierra Madre Fault located closest to the project 
site is not located in the Earthquake Fault Zone; therefore, the potential for 
ground rupture on the project site is considered low.” Any homes built to-
day will be built to the safest building standards with all the required shear 
walls to meet any expected shaking and they will be considerably safer than 
the older homes in surrounding neighborhoods. 


Do Not Certify the final EIR

Do Not Amend the General Plan 

Do Not Amend the Zoning code

Do Not Adopt the Specific Plan 

Do Not Approve the Development 


This project will alter the charm and 
safety of our small town. I live on Orange 
Grove near Lima and this project 
will add more traffic to these streets 
along with Carter. I regularly walk on 
these streets with my dogs and observe 
children playing and riding bicycles in 
the street. There are no sidewalks on 
parts of these streets and the impacts 
will be felt by walkers, pets and children 
playing and on bicycles. The Draft EIR 
may say the impact will be insignificant 
but walkers, children and pets will feel 
the impact. Do Not allow this to happen 
to our small town. 

It is quite clear that the availability of water 
in the west is declining. A few years 
ago Sierra Madre was talking about rationing 
water and the State of California 
is discussing this right now. The Draft 
EIR may say the Meadows Project will 
have Net Zero Water impact but when 
there is less water available in our environment, 
there is less water. We clearly 
should not be adding more homes with 
a discretionary project that requires 
amending our General Plan and is out 
of compliance with our Hillside Ordinance. 
Do Not imperil our already precarious 
water supply.
This project will clearly have a negative 
impact on the safety of our residents, 
especially our children, and our water 
resources. Please Do Not approve this 
discretionary project. If you do not approve 
it, you will not be infringing on 
the Passionist’s existing rights. 

Russ Guiney, Sierra Madre 


The City is expected to have vacancies on our commissions 
soon so you can get a head start by applying now. 

Applications and more information can be found here: cityofsierramadre.

Planning Commission has one (1) expected vacancy. 

Community Services Commission has one (1) expected vacancy. 

Library Board of Trustees has two (2) anticipated vacancies. 

Natural Resources Commission has one current vacancy and one anticipated vacancy 
for a total of two (2) vacancies.

Interested? Go To: 


How does one evaluate the claims made on either side of the Meadows project? The great thing about facts 
is that they are reality based and can be tested and verified. When someone does not have a good argument 
they will resort to hyperbole, exaggeration, and personal attacks. 

Last week Preserve Sierra Madre (PSM) stated that the city is not being transparent. Yet they admitted that 
the city has all the documents available on the city’s website. One only needs to google ‘Sierra Madre Meadows’ 
and the first link we see is to the City’s Transparency page for the Meadows project. To help make it 
even easier for people to find these documents we have added a Transparency page at the Sierra Madre’s 
Neighbors for Fairness website. We prefer to be proactive instead of being overly critical of the city where it 
isn’t deserved. 

Another issue is repeatedly making unreasonable claims. For example, PSM requested that additional experts 
be hired to give more perspectives on the EIR. Their request was denied. That’s how this works. An 
EIR is presented that identifies potential environmental impacts. There is no obligation to provide multiple 
perspectives on every aspect of a project. If you think an issue was not addressed then you are free to share 
that opinion at a city meeting. 

An example of an attack on people rather than the issues can be found in the claim that Neighbors for Fairness 
is somehow biased because we receive funding from New Urban West. This is the “Follow the Money” 
fallacy. Where funding comes from is irrelevant to the facts in evidence. We are a group of Sierra Madreans 
and nearby neighbors and we list our Steering Committee on our website. We also clearly state that we 
receive funding from New Urban West, who shares our commitment to protecting the rights of the Passionists. 
It would be irresponsible to turn away funds to get our important message across. But notice how 
the issues we raise rarely get addressed, like how the initiative literally says the Passionists’ buildings will 
become nonconforming, their use cannot be changed, and they can no longer expand. This is a fact. It is in 
their initiative wording which we have published many times now. 

Then we have the attack on the Passionists’ for not opening their private property up to the public to wander 
around. The Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center is under no obligation to open their property up to the public. 
They have welcomed the planning commission and the city council to see what they need to see so they can 
make an informed decision. This criticism has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with 
unreasonable demands and a lack of respect for private property rights. The Passionists might decide to 
open their property up to the public in the future, but that is their choice and they should not be bullied by 
the same people trying to force their institution into an overly restrictive residential zone. 

Other misstated facts are things like the two agenda discussions that supposedly went to 11:30pm. The discussions 
went to about 11:10pm. Isn’t that long enough? Why must everything be exaggerated? Then there 
are complaints that three minutes is not enough time to say what you want. So I guess you now want more 
public comments and the meetings going until 1:00 in the morning? The five minute limit was for items 
not on the agenda. 20 or 30 people speaking for three minutes (and often allowed to speak longer) is a reasonable 
amount of time to get your points across. There is no “secrecy” here, the City is following the law. 
Another misstatement, “Citizens for Truth” compared the Anoakia property saying it was 20 homes on 20 
acres. It is easy enough to look at Google Maps and see that there are actually 32 homes (all over 6000 sq ft, 
and 21 pools!) on less than 20 acres. Again, if you have good arguments why not just give the correct facts 
instead of resorting to hyperbole? 

Lastly, there was an insinuation about a Brown Act violation because public comments would not be opened 
at the second meeting. PSM said this was not stated on the video or in the minutes. Well, it was clearly stated 
at the end of the first meeting that the agenda item would be continued to a future meeting. This can be 
seen in the video, it was also in the minutes, and anyone can verify this. While the Brown Act requires that 
the public be allowed to comment, there is no requirement that a continued agenda item be opened again to 
public comments, even if new information was later discussed. This was clarified in Chaffee v. San Francisco 
Library Commission where it was stated that allowing for public comments at each meeting regarding the 
same agenda item would cause a “surplusage.” 

The Meadows at Bailey Canyon in Sierra Madre is a proposed plan to permanently protect open space, 
preserve the Monastery, provide a new park with direct connection to Bailey Canyon — 
all while creating the most sustainable single-family community in our City’s history. 

Map of the proposed plan for The Meadows at Bailey Canyon. 

Protect Open Space 
Permanently dedicating more than 30 acres of open space 
for wildlife will help expand the protection of natural lands 
on the City’s northern boundary. 

Preserve the Monastery 
The historic buildings will continue to be an iconic landmark 
and home to Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center and 
its ministries. 

Provide a New Park 
A new 3-acre public park, tucked in next to Bailey Canyon, 
will provide a place to relax, meet neighbors for a walk or 
journey through a meditative labyrinth. 

or scan the code with your smartphone ► 

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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