Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 25, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 4

Mountain View News Saturday, February 25, 2023 4 CONVERSATIONSCONVERSATIONS 
Mountain View News Saturday, February 25, 2023 4 CONVERSATIONSCONVERSATIONS 



Sierra Madre is a charming foothill village unlike 
anywhere else in LA County. A NO vote on Measure 
M overturns the Sierra Madre City Council's 
approval of Ordinance 1461, which allows the 
construction of a massive tract housing project of 
42 McMansions called "The Meadows at BaileyCanyon." 

The project would be built into the hillside adjacent 
to Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park, destroying the 
natural slope of the land and the tranquility of the 
surrounding communities. 

If approved, The Meadows will be the largest tract 
housing project ever built in Sierra Madre and does 
not conform to our residential zoning ordinance or 
the general plan developed by city residents to reflect 
our values regarding our neighborhoods and 

Instead of abiding by the rules that apply to the 
rest of us, an exclusive "Special Plan" governs the 
project. Thus, the developer can pack large, multimillion-
dollar houses on small lots that are not 
affordable for most families. 

Measure M is bad for our environment: The Meadows 
would destroy the habitats of native animals 
while cutting down more than 100 trees onsite and 
in adjacent Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. 

Measure M will allow this project to be built in a 
Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, Cal Fire's 
highest severity designation. We do not need increased 
fire danger in Sierra Madre. 

MEASURE M - will increase traffic dramaticallyin the sorounding area where sidewalks are rareendangering residents. 

MEASURE M -will impact our water supply with 
more demand during a drought, raising concerns 
and possibly raising rates. 

MEASURE M - sets a dangerous precedent for future 

MEASURE M -arose from the Sierra Madre CityCouncil ignoring the concerns raised by residents 

MEASURE M - arose from the Sierra Madre CityCouncil ignoring the concerns raised by residents 


The choice is simple: do you prefer 42 houses or 50? 
A YES vote results in 42 homes at the Mater Dolorosa 
"Meadows" property, while a no vote allows for 
a 50-home development. A YES vote also provides: 
a 3-acre public park, over $900,000 in funding for 
water conservation programs, a $250,000 payment 
to support our Police and Fire Departments, and the 
many improvements to the Meadows project negotiated 
by the Planning Commission and City Coun

cil. A YES vote supports LESS development, LESS 
traffic, and LESS water use. 
Many Sierra Madre residents prefer to have no development 
at the Meadows; unfortunately, that is 
not a likely outcome. If Measure M fails, the City 
will be required to process the application for a 50home 
development at the Meadows property. A no 
vote opens the door for that 50-home development, 
which will be subject to only 5 public meetings and 
could eliminate the benefits the City negotiated for 
the Meadows project. 

Due to applicable state laws, the power of the City 
to deny the 50-home project or influence its design 
is very restricted. The 50-home project would be 
eligible for waivers of our development standards, 
which could result in LARGER homes, REDUCED 
setbacks, HIGHER lot coverage ratios, and COOKIE-
CUTTER designs. 

Your Planning Commission and City Council held 
more than 15 meetings to consider the Meadows 
project and listen to residents' concerns. Through 
this process, the City negotiated dozens of concessions 
from the developer, including: reducing the 
maximum size of the homes, conserving 35 acres 
of land, requiring the planting of almost 500 trees,
increasing setbacks, widening Carter Ave. and retaining 
more than 75% of its trees, and minimizing 
repetition of the home designs. Voting YES saves 
these concessions. 

Vote YES on MEASURE M to MINIMIZE development, 
PRESERVE negotiated benefits and 
PROTECT our community. 

Dear Editor 

After reviewing the 11 concessions made to the city by New Urban West, I am left wonderingif there was anything the developer could have done to appease Barbara Vellturo and PSM. 
These were costly and material concessions that were made to appease this group who seems 
to have very unrealistic expectations as to what they or anyone can do with this property at 
this juncture. We are supposed to believe that this developer is evil and ruthless but it doesn’t 
appear that way given the offer of these concessions and the offer of millions of dollars worth 
of additional concessions earlier. 

Since they citizens are about to write a check for $400,000 due to their actions, I think PSM 
owes us an explanation of what they think is going to happen should the upcoming election 
go the way they want it to, or not. By all appearances it is an absolutely unnecessary lose-lose 
situation that this group has forced us into. 

Tim Blackman 


On September 5, 2022, Barbara Vellturo told us that “the voters, rather than the Council 
should decide on the Meadows project.” Now she is insisting that a second vote is necessarydespite Measure HR being defeated. Supposedly the voters did not make the right choice and 
must vote again, which will come at an estimated cost of $400,000 to the taxpayers. 

In addition, she expressed that "a consensus of voters" is a constitutionally-protected democratic 
process reserved for instances where the public demands a vote. However, it appears that 
the first vote was insufficient because the results were unfavorable to their cause. In fact, prior 
to the election, they had already intended to file a referendum, indicating a lack of intent to 
accept the people's decision if it didn't align with their agenda. 

Mrs. Vellturo, the individual responsible for submitting the referendum, is not the sole person 
accountable for this fiasco from Protect Sierra Madre. Both Alex Arrietta and Gary Bacio, 
the two other proponents of Measure HR, played a role as well. Susan Neuhausen and Tricia 
Searcy have been publicly involved with the organization from its inception, but the group 
refuses to divulge who is on its steering committee. These are the same people who criticized 
Sierra Madre Neighbors for Fairness of not being transparent, despite having disclosed their 
steering committee and that they were working with the developer to support the rights of the 

Why is Protect Sierra Madre pushing for a project that would replace a $5 million 3-acre park 
with eight more houses? That is the sort of thing they complain that a greedy developer would 
do. These are the same people who wanted to allow 6,500 sq. ft. mansions on the Monastery 
property. How is any of this in the interest of Preserving and Protecting Sierra Madre’s character 
when we can’t tell them apart from a developer? 

By overturning the City Council's approval of the Meadows project, local control will be relinquished 
to the state. Why is Protect Sierra Madre advocating for more homes at the cost 
of $7 million in negotiated concessions, including $250,000 for public safety? Whose side are 
they on? 

We are here to stand up to these selfish bullies. They have no platform on which to fight a new 
campaign because no one in their right mind wants to give up dedicated open space just to 
replace it with more homes. Support us and support your City Council with a YES vote on May9th to save the Meadows project and fight overdevelopment. 

For more information: info@sierramadreforparksandpublicsafety.orgSierra Madre for Parks and Public Safety 

Dear Editor: 

relevant codes we agree to abide by – not onlyin deference to our neighbors, but to protect 
The front-page article in last week’s MVN on 

the quality and character of our community 
the aborted negotiations between our city, 

– which in Sierra Madre are irreplaceable. 
the developer and concerned residents on the 
proposed 42-McMansion “Meadows” devel-
Regarding that alternative 50-house “SB330” 
opment in Bailey Canyon stated, “it is unclear 

proposal, threatened as inevitable should we 
why the referendum (on the city council’s 

reject the Meadows, Robert points out that 
approval of the project) was not withdrawn 

determination as to whether statutory re-
when their (Protect Sierra Madre’s) demands 

quirements of affordability are met in order 
were met”. It mentions eleven points of dis-

to qualify under SB330 is not a matter of my 
cussion, but not two others of greater sig

own “opinion”, which is “irrelevant”. I agree. 
nificance – the reduction in the number of 

But the notion this threatened alternative 
homes from 42 to 34, and that any develop-

would in any way qualify under affordability 
ment would conform to our city’s existing 

metrics defined in SB330, related statutes and 
general plan. Apparently, this was too much 

our own municipal code is dubious, at best. 
for Santa Monica developer New Urban West, 
so they left the table. 

Challenges would be forthcoming, but apparently 
not from our city council – which seems 
According to those with direct involvement, 

sufficiently cowed by the developer’s “We’ll 
had the developer simply agreed to conform 

sue!”. For the hundreds of residents who’ve 
to the residential zoning restrictions that ap

actively supported efforts to prevent McManply 
to the rest of us, it would’ve been a done 

sion development in Sierra Madre, though,
deal. The developer (and Passionists) still 

we’re not so easily bullied. Those of us who 
could’ve made a lot of money, but not enough 

care more about protecting our city than the 

– so they told our city council to rush the vote 
interests of an outside developer will be makon 
the referendum in hopes of keeping their 

ing that clear with our “No” vote May 9. 
investors on board. 
As New Urban West (or any other develop-
In his response to my letter published the 

er) sees what they’re up against with those 
week before, Robert Gjerde asks, “Since when 

determined to Protect Sierra Madre, maybe 
do private property owners need an argument 

they’ll realize it’s time to cut their losses and 
for doing something on their own property 

finally tell themselves, to use Robert’s phrase,
for any reason other than desiring to do it?” 

“Enough is enough”. 
In this case, it was since demanding exemptions 
from zoning and density restrictions 

Howard Hays, Sierra Madre 
allowing a massive development unprecedented 
in our town’s history with permanent 
impacts on the entire community. For other 
property owners, there are restrictions under 



Let me share my appreciation and respect to Ms. Helen Wong, the face and voice of 
the Eaton Canyon County park for the past 25 years! She has always demonstrated 
true leadership qualities. Her ability to work humbly and ethically with many community 
and environmental groups, and many volunteers, neighbors, has been exceptional. 
All those who know her knows that she knows the meaning of Serving the 

I don’t know her full resume, but I know she came from a professional career, and fell 
in love with Eaton Canyon. She followed the famous naturalist and bird-man MickeyLong, and eventually – about 10 years ago – followed in Mickey’s footsteps and became 
the director. 

Ms. Wong is a true naturalist, in the Mickey Long mold, and she shares her in-depth 
knowledge of plants, animals, local history including indigenous history, ecology, etc. 
She oversaw the naturalist docent program, and she organized the excellent gathering 
of local authors a few years back. She organized at least two Powwows held there, 
and she was instrumental in the Saturday morning animals and plant exhibits. We 
love Ms. Wong, and she rightfully deserved the many awards she has earned over the 

But-- when I called to talk recently, I learned that Ms. Wong is no longer at Eaton 
Canyon, that she has been pushed out, to somewhere. Why? I could get no answer 
from any County officials as to why Ms. Wong is no longer at the helm. My questions 
seemed to be met with both fear and suspicion! Why? Can any readers tell me why 
this exceptional, world-level naturalist has been pushed out? None of us have managed 
to get meaningful answers from County officials. 

If Ms. Wong is gone from Eaton Canyon after serving the community so well for 
25 years, where are the acknowledgements, the awards, the recognitions from the 
County and from the environmental groups? What is going on here? 

Please can someone help? 

JC Chuy, semi-volunteer 

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

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