After nine meetings, talk of microwaves and what constitutes a dwelling unit, the assisted living facility took another step forward at a hearing Tuesday night.
The City Council unanimously approved the mitigated negative declaration, which will evaluate the environmental effects of the project and must be approved before consideration of the three other necessary elements: a conditional use permit (CUP), specific plan and municipal code text amendment.
Most of the council wasted no time getting to the “heart of the discussion”, as put it: Does the Kensington Project violate ?
“I think it violates the density requirement in Measure V,” said . “I personally think Measure V needs to be amended for this project. I think this is a great project.”
Under Measure V, no more than 13 dwelling units per acre are permitted in the Downtown Central Core. The Kensington project would sit on about two acres and consist of 75 residential suites, according to plans.
If City officials decide that the Kensington Project violates Measure V, then citizens can vote on an amendment to Measure V in November.
Kensington developers have requested that the amendment be placed on the November ballot.
Dozens of residents packed City Hall Tuesday, and of over 15 speakers, including former Sierra Madre mayors and , most expressed that they believed the Kensington Project violated Measure V and needed to go to a vote.
“It violates Measure V’s density limit and must be placed on the ballot,” said McGillivray. “It conflicts with the intent of the voter. It’s important it be done according to the law. … It’s just too bad we couldn’t have truncated this long ago.”
Other residents added that they welcome an assisted living facility in Sierra Madre so that they and their parents and neighbors don’t have to leave the city when they get older.
“This is all about dignity not density,” said resident Tom Brady. “It’s about being close to your family in the golden years. When I’m 75 I want to be able to look back and say I’m really proud of what we did for our families and our communities.”
wondered if the Council even had to define what a dwelling unit is, after they had spent hours discussing it at previous meetings, including whether or not having a microwave and certain kinds of food preparation options makes a space a dwelling unit.
“If we remove the density restriction on those two parcels then you won’t have to decide if they are dwelling units or not,” said Capoccia.
At least one resident pointed out that ultimately, seniors will be living in the Kensington Project rooms and consider them a dwelling, regardless of specific appliances.
If the Measure V amendment goes on the ballot, it would need to be written up and approved by officials by early August, said Mayor Moran, emphasizing that whatever goes on the ballot must “be as simple as possible and easy to read.”
What do you think of the City Council’s thoughts and decision to move forward with the Kensington Project Tuesday night? Do you think a Measure V amendment should go on the November ballot?