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Proposed Development Raises 'Measure V' Questions

Senior housing proposal would measure more than 30 feet above Sierra Madre Boulevard.

About 50 Sierra Madre residents gathered at the Wednesday to voice their concerns about a proposed senior housing development at the abandoned Skilled Nursing Facility property across from .

Foremost in the minds of many in attendance was whether or not the project would comply with Measure V, an ordinance that restricts new building in the downtown area to no more than two stories, 30 feet in height and 13 dwelling units per acre.

Following a brief presentation by the developers, residents quickly chimed in with prepared questions, particularly about  the building's proposed height.

At issue was whether the height measurement would be taken from the surface of Sierra Madre Boulevard or, as the developers suggest, from the "final grade level," or the height of the site above the street.

According to Planning Director Danny Castro, Measure V calls for the height to be measured from the building pad, not from the street level.

"How many feet above the Boulevard?," one resident asked after becoming somewhat exasperated with the technical definitions.

As developer Billy Shields began his response by again telling residents that his company would be first lowering the existing grade by a few feet and "at great expense," another resident again shouted, "How many feet?"

"About 33 1/2 or 34 feet," Shields eventually said, again extolling the efforts of his company to first lower the height of the building pad.

"Will that block the view of the mountains?," one resident asked.

In response, Shields referred to two artist's renderings of the proposed building which showed a view of the mountains in the background.

But most were dissatisfied with the response, citing that neither rendering showed a view of the facility from directly across the street in .

In response, the developers said that would prepare a rendering from that angle before the plan goes to the Planning Commission.

Other concerns included what many considered to be insufficient parking, how much water the facility would use, whether or not the nearby police and fire stations would agitate residents suffering from dementia and how many units the facility would include, among others.

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