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Councilmen: Kensington Project Violates Measure V

The City Council and residents were on the same page at Tuesday night’s meeting, which signaled progress toward a Measure V amendment on November’s ballot.

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?

Mary McKinnon July 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I personally think for this particular project a one time amendment should be implemented! This has been going on for way to long. The project design surely is much more appealing then the eye sore we see on a daily basis, yes the voters have spoken in which I don't dispute, however it's time we all move forward and work together. By no means am I for big development for our town, there's just some things we all need to work towards for the betterment of Sierra Madre and our elderly!
Louis Educe July 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
In reading this I began thinking about some of the houses we looked at before buying and the "unit" built above the garage next door... We were told that it was a "kitchen" which made a room and bath above a garage or a granny house in the rear a "housing unit" and thus not permitted on an R1 lot. you could have as many "spare rooms" as you wanted with baths attached just no kitchens. If the units don't include kitchens or some do but others don't (I assume skilled care units wouldn't have a kitchen) what is the problem? If this goes before the voters I will vote to approve. I like the idea of making this a town people can literally spend their entire lives in from Mama Pete's to the Kensington!
Louis Educe July 12, 2012 at 08:56 PM
So I guess we need a definition of "kitchen" personally I don't think a microwave and a small hotel size fridge makes a kitchen, or I have one in the corner of my classroom and have slept in much nicer hotel rooms than I thought.
T. Seeker July 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Most folks that live in town won't be able to afford the ALF. This is a a facility for wealthy people, probably cost no less than $6,000 per month. A for profit venture, catering to the 1%...
Louis Educe July 13, 2012 at 12:55 AM
All of these ALF are "for profit" so what, I don't think I would choose for my wife to live in a county "not for profit" facility after I am gone. Most people going in sell their house and buy in with a down payment based on their projected needs (care, size of unit, with spouse or alone..) then pay a monthly fee. My mother is in a nice one in Pasadena that has larger units on down to end of life care. Yes it was expansive getting in but has been well worth the initial investment. And we are by no means in the 1%, she and my Dad just planned well. Where did you get the $6000/month figure?
Mary McKinnon July 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Mr. Seeker, I can assure you not only here in Sierra Madre will the cost of any Assisted Living Facility be affordable to most, the cost of all Facility Care has risen to an uncontrollable cost regardless of it location.
Jakhsh, Zarzirian July 13, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Hey John My Darling, We're both Armenians, I want you to approve the project, My sister live in your city, and I love hr to live there when she retire!, Ya Habibi, I send you a lot of love and kisses, I'm here in Sierra Madre, visiting My Armenian sister ,She had a nerve to marry non Armenian, that was, because I was away, When I returned it was too late ,shame on her!, anyway, you keep our sacred Armenian Tradition, I myself married an Armenian that she's half Arab, from Libanan, but she's so peautiful. that's why she ran away from me with another man.
Jakhsh, Zarzirian July 13, 2012 at 12:57 AM
We want it for the poor people too the 99%!. You listen?.
Jakhsh, Zarzirian July 13, 2012 at 12:59 AM
The poor people too, my darling, Blease don't forget the poor,, Me and My sister who live there are very poor folks!.Hey love and kisses to you all!, don't forget us!
T. Seeker July 13, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I am very well aware of that, Mary. I went through this with both my parents. I looked in Pasadena and Arcadia, and came across quite a few places that cost $5000 p/month. One even had a menu of services that would add extra costs. We finally settled on a place in Temple City, that is reasonable and offers great care and service. All I meant to say, is that a brand new facility, in a nice town like we have here, is going to cost a pretty penny.
Mom of 2 July 13, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Zarzarian, your comments are cracking me up!
Aveldo Pannini July 13, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Heaven's Gate, for those with a comfortable economy.
Mary McKinnon July 13, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I absolutely agree with you, the cost of housing a loved one can and does put such a financial strain on assets with most folks needing such a facility let alone the families that pay for their care can be a financial burden, trust me I absolutely agree, my hope is to see progress with this property instead of what isn't happening in our town with reasonable progress for this property!
SierraMadreSue Behrens July 13, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Let 'em build it for god's sake!
Jeff Rudisill July 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I commend the Council in reaching a unanimous decision without having to split the baby. I support the project. Many have expressed the desire to live their golden years in Sierra Madre, and Kensington would make it possible. But let's admit that SM residents would not be assured a place at Kensington. It's conceivable that all 75 beds or units would be occupied by clients who have never before had any connection whatsoever with Sierra Madre. Sadly, to live out one's life with respect, dignity and loving care is a commodity to be "sold" to the highest bidder, subject to the whims of supply and demand. The greater challenge for the Council is to consider ways to connect residency at Kensington with past and current residency in Sierra Madre. Otherwise there will likely be disappointed Sierra Madreans.
Debbie Guest July 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM
I think having the facility is a good idea. I am a little concerned, in principle, about making amendments to well-desinged measurements. Are you setting a precedent here that we may regret in the future?
VFD July 13, 2012 at 08:30 PM
What a bunch of useless dribble comments. The City Council made the right decision and utilized its collective sense
Laura Hodge July 13, 2012 at 08:55 PM
i believe the way it works Debbie, is that any and all projects that don't fall within the measure V measurements must be put to a ballot for residents to vote. all the previous months of city council discussions regarding what constitutes a living unit could have possibly set a precedent with long-term consequences for future development. i also believe that most residents will vote to allow this project to move forward because most people are tired of the eye-sore that is currently there. Remember to vote when this goes to ballot!
Carroll Brown July 13, 2012 at 11:00 PM
There is no such thing as a "one time amendment". It's like saying no new taxes. I'm not as impressed with this project as everyone else seems to be.
Mary Beth Finnerty July 14, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I reall like Jeff's idea. So many of my friends who support this project are referring to it as "the place where we are all going to live!" How is that going to be determined?
Mary Beth Finnerty July 14, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Do we know how they will decide who will get to become a residen?. Does being a Sierra Madre resident give one priority?

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