Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 18, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page A:5


(continued from page 1)

the addition of a second 
driveway to allow for ingress 
only to the campus, while 
the existing driveway would 
be converted to egress only. 
No other changes or expansions 
would occur at the approved 
Michillinda Parking 
Lot. However, the design 
review process may require 
further analysis of the pickup 
and drop zone. 

There are presently three 
modular buildings on the 
Michillinda side of the 
campus used for the Lower 
School classes. There is 
no indication of how long 
those trailers will remain. 

Located at 200 N. Michillinda 
Avenue, Alverno has 
been part of the Sierra 
Madre community for over 
60 years. But, even before 
the current aim of updating 
its Master Plan, AHA is 
not a stranger to noise and 
traffic complaints by nearby 
residents. In addition, 
Alverno has been a setting 
for many weddings, music 
videos, and movie projects, 
including True Lies and 
Legally Blonde. One of the 
most recent projects was the 
2022 Paramount+ film The 
Offer, about the making of 
The Godfather movie. The 
project received negative 
publicity after a person subcontracted 
from one of the 
film production companies 
forged signatures to get a 
filming permit. 

Weddings and special 
events on AHA grounds 
should end by 10 p.m., but 
residents have complained 
of noise from clean-up 
crews lasting an hour or so 

 Appellant’s Claims

The Stephens, who reside 
adjacent to the AHA property, 
and their lawyer have 
presented the following 

A. The Planning Commission 
did not analyze the 
entirety of the noise-producing 
activity that takes 
place on the Michillinda 
parking lot. 

B. The Planning Commission 
failed to adequately 
condition the CUP to protect 
the surrounding community 
from activity occurring 
on the Michillinda 
parking lot that is incompatible 
with the residential 
adjacent uses. 

C. The Planning Commission 
has committed an 
Ultra Vires act by approving 
a CUP and Master Plan 
that will result in the use of 
the Michillinda parking lot, 
which is inconsistent with 
the City’s General Plan and 
violates the Sierra Madre 
and Pasadena’s Noise 

D. The Planning Commission’s 
decision not to 
make the required findings 
and the findings were not 
supported by substantial 

E. The Planning Commission’s 
decision violated 
CEQA because it contained 
an inadequate project description, 
resulting in an 
Addendum to the Mitigating 
Negative Declaration 
that fails as an informational 

F. A fair document 
supported by substantial 
evidence that the project 
may have significant noise 
impacts renders the Addendum 
to the MND inadequate 
as a matter of law. 
An Environmental Impact 
Report must be prepared.

At the City Attorney’s request, 
Alverno offered the 
following amendment to 
Planning Condition No. 11 
to read as follows: 

11. Proposed Use Restrictions 
on the Michillinda 
Parking Lot – The primary 
uses shall be for vehicle 
parking to mitigate potential 
noise impacts from the 
Michillinda Parking Lot. 
Minor uses of the parking 
lot would be for recesses in 
the event of the Multi-Purpose-
Field being unavailable 
due to rain events and 
for basketball and volleyball 
for 5th – 8th students. The 
priority for scheduling most 
games and practices shall 
be on the sports court once 
completed. The lot may be 
used for public safety demonstrations 
and a gathering 
space for public safety 
emergencies. There shall be 
no night games or practices. 
There shall be no amplification 
used. The Michillinda 
Parking lot would not be 
used for non-school or 
third-party events, except 
for City events and permitted 
filming and photography 
under Chapter 5.36 of 
the Sierra Madre Municipal 

Two noise studies have 
already been done at the 
AHA site. 

March 14 City Council 

Both parties had opportunities 
to speak before the 
City Council on Tuesday 
night’s hearing. Alverno 
Heights Board of Trustees 
President Ken Farfsing had 
a chance to offer a rebuttal 
to the Appeal Letter claims 
and laid out AHA’s plans for 
the Michillinda parking lot 
as stated in the amendment 
to Planning Condition No. 
11. Jason Sanders also had a 
chance for a reply. 

After a few rounds of comments 
by Farsing and Sanders, 
the City Council felt 
that progress was being 
made and that the sides 
were close to a compromise. 
Sanders said he would speak 
to the Stephens about possibly 
dropping the CEQA 
requests if they were satisfied 
with the amendment to 
Planning Condition No. 11.

The Planning Commission 
may be summoned to reevaluate 
the noise and traffic 
impacts, but this hearing 
is closed, and the negotiations 
will continue for another 
30 days. City Council 
will revisit the issue at the 
April 11 meeting. 



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 18, 2023 


Measure M is on the ballot to give voters the 
opportunity to voice their opposition to “The 
Meadows at Bailey Canyon” tract housing 
project by voting NO. A No vote will overturn 
City Council’s decision approving this 
subdivision of 42 oversized, multi-million-
dollar tract houses on the Mater Dolorosa 
property. This measure came about because 
nearly 1,500 Sierra Madre residents, who are against this development, signed a petition 
to override the City Council’s approval of this project with the intention that it be placed 
on the ballot at the next regularly scheduled election. However, the City Council, in its 
continuing efforts to push this project through, chose to set a “special” election at the 
earliest date possible, May 9th. A NO vote means that the “The Meadows” project will 
be stopped. 

There are a multitude of reasons to Vote NO on Measure M. Here are two of the biggest 

1) This project does not follow the zoning rules that we must abide by and was 
granted special building privileges not available to residents. As approved by city officials, 
this project’s “Specific Plan” allows for tightly packing much larger houses onto 
much smaller lots too close to the street—houses no other resident can build. This high-
density tract housing will look nothing like any other neighborhood in Sierra Madre. 

2) “The Meadows” project sets a dangerous precedent for developers to use similar 
“Specific Plans” with special privileges in the future to build other oversized tract-housing 
developments in environmentally-sensitive areas of our town, such as the for-sale 
Stonegate acreage or the remainder of the Mater Dolorosa property. 

We have no idea why our city officials agreed to this project. They ignored residents’ 
environmental, public safety, traffic, fire safety, and water scarcity concerns. Camarillo, 
Encinitas, and other cities’ leaders have fought this developer’s plans and won huge concessions—
forcing them to agree to much less destructive projects with much lower housing 
density than their original plans. Because our city council seems to have no problem 
with residents’ concerns—in addition to giving this developer a sweetheart deal at the 
expense of their neighbors’ quality of life, voting NO on Measure M is our only recourse. 

Just because a Santa Monica developer has steamrolled our city officials doesn’t mean 
they can bulldoze our town. Stopping “The Meadows” tract-housing project is what Sierra 
Madre is voting on in this election—not what could happen in the future with another 
potentially worse housing project that is still largely a pipedream of the same bullying 
developer. Threats to build a worse, 50-house project does not make this horrible project 
any better. We will continue to fight any development that does not adhere to our Sierra 
Madre General Plan and zoning rules. But first we must defeat “The Meadows” project 
by Voting NO.

For today’s residents, and for generations to come, protect Sierra Madre from being degraded 
by this unwise development—a development that is simply unworthy of our town. 
Please join us in voting NO on Measure M.


Don’t be surprised if you hear confusing information about Measure 
M. Let’s look at Protect Sierra Madre’s (PSM) talking points.


“A no vote on M will stop the 42 homes.” That is true, but it doesn’t 
tell the whole story. The developer has submitted a backup fast-
tracked 50-home SB 330 project which replaces the park with 8 
additional homes. As the City Attorney stated, this is a “race to 
entitlement.” The election will determine if the developer is held 
to the Meadows Development Agreement or released to build the 
SB 330 project using the State’s relaxed standards.


“The Meadows project will look nothing like adjacent neighborhoods.” That is ridiculous. The Meadows 
project consists of single family, low-density homes, and so do the neighborhoods to the south and the 
west. Mr. Arietta, one of three proponents of Measure HR and apparently the last remaining leader of PSM, 
lives adjacent to the Passionists’ property in a 3,860 sq. ft. (using Sierra Madre standards) home. He says 
the average Meadows home is 3,900 sq. ft. and average lot is 7,800 sq. ft., when in reality they average 3,577 
and 9,532, respectively. The lot sizes were reduced to give the city a public park.


Mr. Arietta keeps saying there are “too many two-story homes.” Why does he get to live in a two-story 
home but everyone else can’t? There are no laws against two-story homes in Sierra Madre. In their demands 
for withdrawing the referendum, his group wanted all the single-story homes moved to the west 
side of the property (where he just happens to live).


The SB 330 project was called a “pipedream” by Mr. Arietta. It isn’t. The developer has already submitted 
a project locking in the city’s zoning codes. PSM said Huntington Beach was fighting state housing 
mandates. That is true, but earlier this month the State Housing Department and Attorney General filed a 
lawsuit against Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws. Is Sierra Madre expected to spend millions 
of dollars fighting the State so a neighbor can protect his view?


“The Meadows project doesn’t use the same rules that everyone else must follow.” That is a lie. Any property 
owner is free to submit a Specific Plan for a development project. The Passionists and New Urban West 
have completed that process and had their project unanimously approved because it is the best project and 
includes many benefits for the city.

Support your city leaders and reasonable development by voting YES ON M! Sierra Madre for Parks and 
Public Safety


-Rachelle Arizmendi, Former Mayor 

I will be voting YES on Measure M…and I hope you will too. 


After 8½ years on City Council and after my last meeting in December 
2022, I was confident that the development issues at the Meadows would 
be put to rest and we could all move forward.

Yet here we are with a special election scheduled for May 9 that will cost 
us, the taxpayers, approximately $400K. The proponents in the “No” 
camp don’t seem to care about the financial burden to the City and would 
rather have MORE homes built (50 instead of 42), have NO public Park, 
and forgo a $250,000 investment for our Police and Fire Departments. 

We are at a point where we only have 2 options: 

1) A 42 home project that has had a high level of public input and public benefit (YES on 
Measure M); or 

2) A 50 home project with limited public input or public benefit (no on Measure M). 

There is no third option and there is no scenario where the Meadows will remain open space. 
Something will be developed on the land and you have a say on what that will be. 

The Meadows property is privately owned and the owners have elected to, by right, develop on 
that land. Now the question is “How many homes will be on the Meadows with what benefit to 
the community?”

The people have already spoken. In the last election, the opponents of Yes on M petitioned for a 
zone change on the Meadows in hopes of another project. The measure was struck down- and 
they lost.

So why are we still in battle?

Because the opponents have refused to budge and will not withdraw from the fight.

Your current City Council unanimously supports YES on Measure M because they have engaged 
in hours of discussion, poured through the research & reports, and have evaluated the impact of 
the two development proposals. They, as you do, want what is best for our neighborhoods. 

A YES on Measure M will create a new public park for Sierra Madre, implement a $900K water 
conservation program, invest $250K in our Police & Fire Department, plant 500 new trees, improve 
roadways on Carter Ave, and permanently protect 40 acres of hillside open space.

The choice is simple. Join me in voting YES on Measure M and urge your neighbors to do the 

This is OUR Village of the Foothills. Don’t let the few obstinate- take that away from us. 

Enough is Enough.

For more information visit:


Dear Editor:

There have been a couple of recent letters to the editor about the departure of 
Helen Wong as superintendent for Eaton Canyon Nature Center and Natural 
Area February 25th and also March 4th. I’d also like to comment on what a 
wonderful asset Helen has to the park and it’s visitors for over two decades and 
express my dismay at her departure.

Eaton Canyon has long been a gem of the San Gabriel Valley, a place that residents 
can quickly access to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city just 
minutes from downtown. 

In contrast to the city Eaton Canyon is largely unpaved and semi-wild, dominated 
by Coast Live Oaks, Sycamores and other native plants unique to California. 

Like so many others I’ve enjoyed hiking and nature watching there and while I 
didn’t know who made this possible when I first started visiting it turns out that 
so much of what makes Eaton Canyon such a great place for people to visit is the 
care that Helen and her staff lavished on the park.

It's a shame to see Helen and her team go, can this be reversed?

J Hartman

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