Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 20, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 3

CONVERSATIONS....THE MEADOWS 3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 20, 2022 CONVERSATIONS....THE MEADOWS 3 Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 20, 2022 
Much misinformation continues 
to swirl around the Meadows 
Project. It is easier to leap to a 
conclusion without doing diligent 
research into the City’s Municipal 
Codes and ordinances. It is so 
much easier to form an opinion and then promote it as fact.
All this talk about religious discrimination is troubling. Sierra Madre is a 
community of churches with worshipers of every denomination regularly 
attending the church of their choice.
It seems strange that knowing this, our elected officials would support any 
provision of our local laws that would discriminate, restrict or discourage any 
of us from expressing our religious beliefs. Yet, supporters of the Meadows 
Project argue that rezoning the Mater Dolorosa property to Residential Hillside 
(R-H) does just that.
Let’s dig a little deeper and do some research into our municipal codes. SMMC 
Section 17.52.070 C (1) of the Hillside Management Zone (Chapter 17.52) 
states as follows : 
“Uses in the R-H Zone requiring a Hillside Development Permit. The following 
uses of land shall be allowed subject to the granting of a hillside development 
permit in compliance with this chapter: 1) Any primary or accessory use 
permitted in the R-1 one family residential zone (as set forth in Section 
17.60.030”) . This section states: “The following uses....shall be permitted in 
the zones as hereinafter set forth in the following .” A. “Conditional uses-All 
zones except the Open Space and Resource Conservation Zone include 
Churches, temples and other places of worship.” 
To clarify, the Initiative places the Monastery property in an R-H Zone. A clear 
reading of this section is that “churches, temples and other places of worship 
are permitted in an R-H zone. “Other places of worship” is a purposefully 
all-encompassing term that broadly includes a “retreat center “ and “religious 
depictions”. To interpret this otherwise is suspect.
Under the Initiative, the Passionists would be allowed to construct religious 
-based structures on their property upon submission of a hillside development 
permit, which the City would have no basis to deny. The conclusion that 
any section of the Sierra Madre Municipal Code would prohibit the right of a 
religious organization to exercise it’s religious freedoms in contradiction of the 
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which has as one of its 
purposes to ensure religious uses in nearly all zoning districts, makes no sense.
Those seeking to further divide us by arguing religious persecution are way 
off base and factually incorrect. Those who wrongly say the Initiative will not 
allow for the expansion of the Retreat Center kitchen are grasping at straws. 
In reality, the Initiative does not affect the ability of the Passionists to expand 
any existing facility,i.e. the Retreat Center, or construct a new one under their 
operation as a place of worship and arguing otherwise is misleading.
With so much information swirling around this complex, ever-changing 
project, readers are urged to go beyond the glib statements of those seeking 
to destroy the small town ambiance of our community, research the facts for 
yourself and discover the truth. 
TOO MUCH RHETORIC be built after their initiative passes. Why do they support 
mansions in Sierra Madre and oppose a public park? Ei-
There was so much rhetoric about the Meadows project ther they know what they are doing or they don’t know 
in last week’s paper that it is hard to know where to start. what they are doing. We will let the readers decide. 
This week we will quickly respond to the key points. Complaint: That we suggested that the developer of lux-
Preserve Sierra Madre ury homes must be funding the initiative: We never said 
Complaint: The developer would add a new gate to Baithat, 
but it is a Fair question. 
ley Canyon: The Passionists already own their own gate Claim: 229 donations on STOP’s GoFundMe page came to Bailey Canyon. The city can control two gates. Since from ordinary citizens: Of the currently 233 donations, when is making a park more accessible to the public duronly 
91 unique donors are listed, less than 1% of the city’s ing open hours a bad thing? population. 75 donations are listed as Anonymous to-
Stop Housing Projecttaling over half the donations ($22,083). There are two 
Complaint: SMNFF articles are unsigned: Our Steering anonymous $5000 donations; that seems like a lot for an 
Committee publishes all content and we are listed at: si“
ordinary citizen” to give. Who donated these large sums? What Claim: Donations paid for STOP’s attorney whose initiawe 
can’t find is a single name listed on the Stop Housing tive will allow the CITIZENS to decide what is right for Project website, not even in the posted text of their ini-Sierra Madre: Before they donated did you tell them that tiative where it conveniently cuts off at the proponents’ sixty-eight 6,500 square foot mansions could be built afsignature 
pages. ter your initiative passes and that the city can’t stop them? 
Complaint: Entirely unsubstantiated suppositions were What else are you hiding? 
made that could be considered libelous: Vague accusa-Complaint: New Urban West has spent many times more tions are standard from the proponents of the initiative. than raised by STOP’s Go Fund Me: SMNFF has disclosed We invite them to provide any facts we got wrong. from the beginning that we are working with the devel-
Complaint: That SMNFF said an initiative proponent oper to protect the rights of the Passionists, and now to 
worked for a developer of luxury homes: According to prevent sixty-eight mansions from possibly being built in 
the Linked-In information at the time it showed that a the city. See? This is what disclosure looks like. We have 
proponent was a senior vice president for a large develnothing 
to hide. 
oper. It now shows they worked there while signatures Complaint: It is a ridiculous allegation that "68 large were collected and through June 2022. It is relevant to us houses [could be built] under the initiative": The City At-that this was not disclosed. It certainly was a Fair question torney’s 9212 report states under A COMPARISON OF to ask when the initiative allows sixty-eight 6,500 square THE INITIATIVE AND THE MEADOWS PROJECT a.foot homes. 6. “35 Acres State Permitted Maximum Density: 68 units, 
Compliant: That we implied that a Resort Developer Maximum Gross Floor Area: 6.500 sq. ft./ unit.” Why is 
must have its eyes on the 17 acres of monastery proper-STOP pushing so hard to stop a public park and 40 acres 
ty: Actually, it was the 35 buildable acres that the initiaplaced 
in conservancy while allowing mansions in Sierra 
tive rezones. We don’t know what the proponent’s intent Madre? The citizens deserve answers. 
was, that is why this information needs to be disclosed. 
All three proponents were knowledgeable about both le-News | Sierra Madre Neighbors for Fairnessgal matters and real estate… yet somehow failed to tell news@sierramadreneighborsforfairness.organyone that sixty-eight 6,500 square foot homes could 
Dear Editor: including some of the use and rights of the MaterDolorosa community.
Oh my, libel and mud-slinging all in one paragraph. This 
accusation is in a recent MVN column. Rare coming • 
It won’t stop houses to be built, and actuallyfrom the columnist who has for months accused our City creates mansions. It creates the possibility of 6500Council, the City Attorney, and City workers for being square foot houses – far larger than planned byon the take, of the developer for underhanded tactics, the Passionists. 
and some of the public for being “bought” for coming 
out against the initiative. There was even an insinuation • 
It won’t preserve the meadow, the wildlife, waterin front of a City Council meeting that the new fire truck or trees 
purchased by the City was a bribe to the City to make sure 
the project was approved. One phone call to the City would • 
It creates legal issues for the City in terms ofhave cleared that accusation up in a hurry. And, oh, by Religious Rights Violations.
the way, the initiative still allows all 34 acres of the Mater 
Dolorosa property to be changed to hillside residential, not • 
It ties the hands of the City to be able to considerjust 17 acres and 8 homes claimed by the framers of the any change in zoning should the initiative beinitiative on every occasion imaginable. passed.
Here are some facts: 
The Initiative takes away the rights of one An in-depth analysis of these six issues will be coming 
property owner who has legally filed to the City in the next few weeks leading up to the election. In 
for a change in property use. the meantime, do some homework yourself. Read the 
Initiative to see the actual wording of this legal document 
The Initiative uses the strictest wording to change and you’ll decide for yourself to vote NO on this 
what it called “only 17 acres” by some, but in destructive ballot measure. 
actuality all of the 34 acres of buildable property. Pat Alcorn 
This has created a Religious Rights Violation 
Dear Editor: ture gatherers told us lies. They won’t explain how what 
we’ve been told necessarily contradicts the facts – but 
Robert Gjerde opened his letter in last week’s paper with confidently assert we’ve been lied to, nonetheless. 
a startling observation – that we’re “now six months into 
the discussion on the initiative to rezone the monastery Our Mayor Gene Goss takes it in another direction as 
property to the Hillside Residential zone.” But in all this he was quoted in New Urban West’s full-page ad in this 
time, I still haven’t heard a cogent argument as to why the paper a few weeks ago, “I think a lot of them would be 
developer is investing so much time, effort and money to opposed to this if they looked at it closely.” Suggesting 
avoid having to proceed under our Hillside Management to your constituency, especially one with a notably high 
restrictions. income and educational demographic, that they might 
lack the sophistication necessary to read and understand 
Given arguments presented, you’d think a major con-the fine print themselves is not a particularly good look 
cern of the developer and their investors is protection for any elected official. It might be better to simply tell 
of religious exercise by the Passionists. They may very us what we’d find if we did indeed look more “closely”. 
well be devout churchgoers. But to suggest motivation is 
anything other than maximizing return on investment, And then there are Councilmembers suggesting we 
or that concern over the Passionists’ free exercise of re-should simply roll over because the developer threatens a 
ligion plays any part in this – one would have to assume lawsuit. Great - just the message we want to send – that if 
developer New Urban West cares. anybody wants to do anything anywhere in our town, all 
they have to do is threaten litigation and Sierra Madre’s 
And then the other argument – they object to restricleaders 
will cave. 
tions that would be imposed under our Hillside Management 
zoning because they wouldn’t be restrictive So – in these past six months I’ve heard the arguments: 
enough. (“allows for 6,500 sq ft homes”!) I’ve yet to New Urban West and their investors are on a quest to 
encounter a developer who objected to proposed rezonsafeguard 
religious freedom. They refuse to comply with 
ing because it would allow for greater development than our Hillside Management restrictions because it would 
what they had in mind. Pat Alcorn asks, “What are they allow them to build bigger houses than what they’d 
hiding?” I’d like to know what it is in our Hillside Man-planned. Those who signed the Petition did so because 
agement restrictions that New Urban West finds such a they were lied to and/or were just too dumb to underdeal-
killer. stand what they were signing. 
Another question raised (though not by anybody other I’ve been involved with a number of political campaigns, 
than the developer and their proponents) has been why but if I were engaged as a consultant on this one, I’d have 
so many of us have endorsed this petition requiring to say, “C’mon, guys – if you really want to shut this 
compliance with our Hillside Management restrictions. down, you’d better come up with something that makes 
According to Neighbors for Fairness, it’s because signasense!” 
Howard Hays, Sierra Madre 

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