Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 12, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 14

14 Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 12, 2022 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR & MORE 14 Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 12, 2022 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR & MORE 
Letters To The Editor 


Do you think the vote on Measure HR put an end to the fight 
over the Monastery property? Think again. We were repeatedly 
told by Barbara Vellturo that “the citizens of Sierra Madre know 
best what is right for their City.“ 

Now that the election has confirmed HR lost with only 40% of 
the vote, the opposition is leaning on Trumpian strategies claiming 
the outcome was illegitimate. 

The City Council was repeatedly maligned by the Yes on HR 
groups arguing that the 1300 signatures they collected was some 
sort of mandate from the people and that the approval of the 
Meadows project needed to be delayed until after the election. 
Did anyone believe that would have made a difference? I didn’t. 
Now Mrs. Vellturo’s group, Protect Sierra Madre, has submitted 
a referendum to overturn the City Council’s approval of the 
Meadows project. Enough is enough! 

This has been a huge waste of time and money in the city. Personally 
I spent hundreds of hours fighting the discriminatory 
Measure HR and all the misinformation that has been put out 
there. If the referendum moves forward I estimate close to half a 
million dollars will have gone down the drain. 

A few selfish people are now trying to hold the city hostage to get 
their way. They don’t care what the costs are to the city. 

From the beginning of the signature collection for HR, Protect 
Sierra Madre was lying to people. Their flyer said they were going 
to save the “last remaining open parcel of land in Sierra Madre.” 
They had a picture of dense Inland Empire style track housing 
implying that was what would happen if people didn’t sign. Right 
up to the end they were telling people only seven homes would be 
built if HR passed. These were all lies and they were called out on 
them numerous times but didn’t care. 

They didn’t tell people that Measure HR would allow 6,500 sq. 
ft. mansions to be built across the property or that rezoning the 
entire property would likely discriminate against the Passionists’ 
religious rights. Then Preserve Sierra Madre, joined in promoting 
Arcadia-style mansions and decreasing parks and open space 
in direct conflict with their own mission statement. Protect Sierra 
Madre spent over $60,000 on their misinformation campaign. 

Gary Hood personally paid to have two professional attack ads 
made. They are so slick and filled with so much misinformation 
that they almost come across campaign parodies you would 
see on Saturday Night Live. The cost? Over $15,000. Mr. Hoods 
involvement was only discovered when it was demanded that 
Citizens for Better Government file their campaign disclosures 
which showed the major funder. 

No on HR, a true grassroots movement to correct misinformation, 
printed their own yard signs and hand delivered door hangers. 
They still blew through $2500. 

The costs in taxpayer money is hard to calculate. The city paid 
$48,000 in a frivolous lawsuit over a technicality where something 
said “a developer” instead of “developers.” The city spent 
tens of thousands of dollars processing many vague but complicated 
“witch-hunt” public records requests that turned up 
nothing. A new vote on a referendum will cost the city between 
$50,000 and $150,000 for a special election. All of this waste will 
cost us taxpayers. 

Then there is the costs to the Passionists and the developer. It 
is relatively cheap to spread lies with an emotional appeal, but 
costs many times more to get the truth through to people. Sierra 
Madre Neighbors for Fairness led this battle which cost 
over $200,000. I am certain that without this group Measure HR 
would have passed, potentially costing the city millions of dollars 
in federal court. 

It is time for the leaders of HR to be held accountable and accept 
the outcome of a legitimate election. The voters have expressed 
their confidence in the City Council and their opposition to the 
NIMBYistic Measure HR. The already approved Meadows project 
should now move forward. What is the point of continuing 
this scorched-Earth zealotry fighting a useless battle that has no 
chance of winning, will cost the city more money, and continue 
to divide the people? 

Robert Gjerde, Sierra Madre 


For three weeks I have read the arguments for 'yes' and 'no', on 
Measure HR. 

It has got to be one of the most confusing issues Sierra Madre 
residents have ever had to untangle before casting a vote. 


This petition protests the adoption of Sierra Madre City Council 
Ordinance No. 1461, which approved (1) a Zoning Map Amendment; 
(2) a Specific Plan and (3) a Development Agreement 
for a project known as “The Meadows at Bailey Canyon” or “The 
Meadows Project.” 

Background and Procedural History 

The Congregation of the Passion, Mater Dolorosa Community, 
(“the Congregation”) is the owner of property located at 700 
North Sunnyside Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91204. The property 
is commonly known as “The Monastery” and is located within the 
northeastern boundary of the City. 

In partnership with NUWI-Sierra Madre LLC (“Developer”), the 
Congregation seeks to develop approximately 17.3 acres of their 
property. The proposed development, referred to as “The Meadows 
at Bailey Canyon” or “The Meadows Project”, includes up to 
42 single-family homes (9.19 acres), roadways (3.68 acres), a public 
park (3.36 acres), and a grading and landscape buffer (1.07 acre). 

Exhibit A is an illustration of plan layout from the Specific Plan 
for The Meadows at Bailey Canyon. [Please see city's website for 

The Congregation submitted an application for The Meadows 
Project to the City’s Department of Planning and Community 
Preservation. Once deemed complete, the Sierra Madre Planning 
Commission conducted public hearings to consider The Meadows 
Project on the following dates: 

April 7, 2022;
May 5, 2022;
June 2, 2022;
July 7, 2022;
August 4, 2022; and 
August 18, 2022. 

On August 18, 2022, the Planning Commission recommended approval 
of The Meadows Project to the City Council by a vote of 
five in favor, zero against, and zero abstention. 

The Sierra Madre City Council considered The Meadows Project 

on the following dates: 
September 15, 2022;
September 20, 2022; and 
September 27, 2022. 

On September 20, 2022, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 
22-58 — by a vote of four in favor, zero against, and one abstention: 
certifying an Environmental Impact Report, adopting findings of 
fact and a mitigation and monitoring program under the California 
Environmental Quality Act; approving a General Plan land 
use map amendment; and approving a lot line adjustment. 

On September 27, 2022, the City Council conducted the second 
reading and adopted Ordinance No. 1461 by a vote of four in favor, 
zero against, and one abstention — approving: a zoning map 
amendment; a specific plan; andn a development agreement. 

The Referendum 

This referendum does not protest the City Council’s decision to 
adopt Resolution No. 22-58, which has now taken effect. This referendum 
only protests the City Council’s decision to adopt 
Ordinance No. 1461. The individual components of Ordinance 
No. 1461 are discussed below. 

Zoning Map Amendment 

The Sierra Madre Zoning Map divides the City into different use 
districts or zones. The Congregation’s 
property is currently zoned Institutional. 
The most common examples 
of institutional uses in the City are 
churches and schools. The amendment 
proposes to change the zoning 
designation to Single Family Residential 
R-1 with a Specific Plan Overlay. 
The amendment would allow for the 
construction of single-family homes as 
proposed by The Meadows Project. 

Exhibit B is an illustration of the 
proposed zoning map amendment. 
[Please see city's website for Exhibits] 

Specific Plan 

The Specific Plan is the blueprint for 
developing The Meadows Project. The 
Specific Plan is divided into the following 
six chapters:

Vision Statement and Guiding 

Development Plan and Standards;
Infrastructure and Public Services Plan; 

Design Guidelines; andImplementation. 

All 42 single-family homes proposed for The Meadows Project 
must be built according to the Specific Plan. Where the Specific 
Plan is silent as to a development standard, the Sierra Madre Municipal 
Code controls. 

Exhibit C is an illustration of the conceptual site plan pursuant to 
the Specific Plan. 

Development Agreement 

The development agreement is a contract between the City of Sierra 
Madre, the Congregation, and the Developer. The development 
agreement secures additional concessions from the Congregation 
and the Developer as part of the The Meadows Project that cannot 
be obtained through either the Sierra Madre Municipal Code or 
as an ordinary condition of a development approval. Those additional 
concessions include the following: 

The Congregation will subdivide its property (Assessor Parcel 
Number 5761-002-008) and record a conservation easement 
in favor of the City against the northern most portion 
above the Retreat Center; 

The Congregation will record a conservation easement in favor 
of the City against two additional hillside parcels (Assessor 
Parcel Numbers 5761-001-001 and 5760-027-013); 

The Developer will develop and dedicate to the City a public 
park of approximately 3.36 acres to be maintained by the City 
at the expense of the owners of the 42 single-family homes in 
The Meadows Project; 

The Developer will pay $983,500 to the City to be used for 
increasing the City’s supplemental water supply and offsetting 
the development’s impact on the City’s water system, in 
addition to any required development impact fees; 

The Developer will pay $250,000 to the City to be used for 
public safety purposes, in addition to any required development 
impact fees. 

Exhibit D is an excerpt of the development agreement with a more 
detailed discussion of the obligations of the respective parties. 

Future Action Required 

Ordinance No. 1461 does not authorize the Developer to pull 
building permits to construct The Meadows Project. Pursuant to 
the development agreement, the Congregation and Developer will 
still need to acquire the right of way for the offsite improvement of 
Carter Avenue from the County of Los Angeles and secure design 
review permit and tentative tract map approvals from the City. 


By signing this petition, you support requiring the City Council to 
either repeal Ordinance No. 1461 or submit Ordinance No. 1461 
to the voters at a special or general election. 

By not signing this petition, you support allowing City Council 
Ordinance No. 1461 to take effect. 

Public Website 
Ordinance No. 1461 is available at https://www.cityofsierramadre.

The main controversy seems to swirl around whether nine very 
large homes (Mcmansions) will be built, each with two acres 
around them, a Yes vote, or 42 much more modest homes with 
small lawns and setbacks, a No vote. 
How would I vote if I lived in Sierra Madre? Not easy to say. 
If I lived across the street from this acreage I would probably 
vote Yes on Measure HR because a 'tract home' development is 
bound to increase traffic and noise, reduce my property value 
and replace the nice open space I enjoy looking out upon with 
uninspiring real estate. But I'd feel bad for Mater Dolorosa, until 
the Fathers decided to sell their church and property to wealthy 
absentee individuals with fancy B&B intentions. But I'd tell my-
self, "Developers might have sued our city if I voted No on HR." 
I'd get a tax increase instead of street repairs. 
if I lived on the other side of town, rarely ever driving up past 
the hillside and church complex in question, I might decide from 
a more charitable "what does the world need?" point of view and 
vote Yes on HR. Our kids can't afford houses. Is an influx of 42 
families, probably single couples with dogs or one child (today's 
trend,) worse for our town, needing young people to offset our 
aging society, than nine estates that might attract couples within 
retirement age? But I'd grouse that I could never find a parking 
spot in town with all those newcomers. 
This issue has raised so much ire on both sides that it reminds 
me of what a lawyer I know says: "If, in the end, neither side is 
very happy with what it ends up with, one has managed the per-
fect outcome. HR may be just such a measure. A win for either 
side seems headed for momentary elation, then lots of downers. 
Julie Parker 
Catch breaking 
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