Join Us in Standing Up for Sierra Madre!
One of the last unspoiled Foothill Communities
STOP The New Urban West real estate developers and their massive housing project.
What Happens When I Sign the Petition?
An ordinance will be placed on the Ballot in this year’s election to be voted on by all registered voters of Sierra Madre. It would change the zoning of the Mater Dolorosa (Monastery) property from Institutional to Hillside Residential Zone. This would allow Sierra Madre citizens to make this critical decision about their community, not an outside Developer.
Why is this important?
The Mater Dolorosa (Monastery) property is the only large property abutting the mountains that is not protected by a zoning designation of Open Space or Hillside Residential. Voting for this change in November would make this property consistent with current zoning throughout the City.
Respects the Monastery’s Property Rights
The Retreat Center property is currently zoned institutional and they are free to use their property for any religious purpose they chose. They have, however, decided to pursue the development of a high end housing project on 20 acres. A change to Hillside Residential Zone allows the Passionists to continue their religious ministry on the remaining acreage. They just can’t build high density tract housing. The 2015 Planning Commission and City Council removed a provision in the 1996 General Plan that would have allowed for the use of the Monastery property as housing. In 2016, the zoning was amended to conform to the General Plan with no objections raised by the Monastery during the 90 day appeal period.
Promotes Consistent and Fair Zoning
The Passionists now want to change their zoning in order to make a huge amount of money. According to “The Meadows” Specific Plan, this Plan “shall prevail and supersede the Sierra Madre Municipal Code.”
Respects our General Plan
The development is not consistent with the General Plan. Unable to meet many of the General Plan’s carefully written objectives and policies, New Urban West, through Mater Dolorosa, has written a ‘Specific Plan’ which creates their own zoning and disregards ours. Signing the petition is the first step in stopping this special zoning.
Protects Your Right to Vote
The California Constitution gives voters the power to enact initiatives, to change laws in their City promoting the belief that all power of government ultimately resides with the people. Our current representatives don’t have the best interests of the community at heart. This development will have permanent impacts to the community in exchange for a very short term influx of cash – not enough to pay for the impacts to our infrastructure.
Your Voice Will Be Heard
This Project was publicly presented in early 2020 with the City Council approving a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between the City and the Developer without benefit of any input/discussion from the public or discussion of alternatives. Life-changing decisions were made behind closed doors with no opportunity for you to be heard. This your opportunity to put the power in the hands of the voters.
Reduces Density of Future Development
The Specific Plan states that ’future development applications will be processed that are in substantial conformance with the Specific Plan.’ Sounds like they are already planning for development on the remaining Monastery property. Under Hillside Residential Zone, developers will not be permitted to cram large homes on small lots. They will be required to consider the topography and be thoughtful in the placement of homes. Larger lot sizes will encourage the design of a community that respects the existing trees and wildlife and reduces the impact of severe grading and the need for barriers around the property further isolating the new homes from those in the surrounding neighbourhood.
Reduces Traffic Impacts
Fewer homes mean less traffic and less impact on nearby streets, which were not built to access a development.
Reduces Fire Risk
Fewer homes mean less fire risk for those that will make this area their home - which is located in a very high fire hazard zone.
Open Space Protected
The proposed conservation of the un-developable land behind the Retreat Center is unnecessary – It will continue to be protected under its current zoning of open space and will not be impacted by signing the petition.
Tell the City What is Important
Thank you for your continued support and partnership as with us as we fight to stop this housing project that is so wrong for our city. Thank you to all those who have contributed to our go fund me efforts.
As a result, we have been able to engage the services of a great attorney.
A critical next step is the Petition initiative below.
Protect Sierra Madre - Stop the Housing Project has filed an Intent to Circulate Petition to let the citizens of Sierra Madre decide what values are important to them. Our petition, based on our "intent" below, is available to sign now.
Protect Sierra Madre – Stop the Housing Project was organized to stop the largest housing development in the history of Sierra Madre. The proposed project by New Urban West, the developer, and the Passionist Ownership of the Monastery, based in Chicago, would allow the building of 42 large, multi-million dollar homes in the meadows at the Monastery, the last open space in Sierra Madre. They have named the project ‘The Meadows at Bailey Canyon.” That’s a nice, idyllic name, but let’s be clear, there will be NO meadows left, as they will be destroyed by the building of 42 homes. This project ignores significant, real concerns about:
Wildfire risk. The meadows are against the foothills and in an extremely high fire zone.
Impact on water supply. We are in the middle of California’s worst, sustained drought.
Significant increase in traffic. A traffic study indicates traffic will more than double.
Destruction of open space and wildlife habitat.
Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition
Protect Sierra Madre - Stop the Housing Project has filed an Initiative to place an Ordinance on the Ballot in this year’s election to be voted on by all registered voters of Sierra Madre. It would change the zoning of the Monastery parcel (Mater Dolorosa) and any subdivisions of it, from Institutional to Hillside Residential Zone. A petition with signatures of 10% of Sierra Madre registered voters will put the question on the ballot.
If the measure passes at this year’s election, the Retreat Center can continue to operate as a pre-existing non-conforming use, as long as they choose. But any change in use, or development of any part of the parcel, would be subject to the requirements of our Hillside Ordinance.
Over the years, recognizing that all Sierra Madre properties adjacent to the mountains and part of the wildland urban interface require special protection, our elected officials enacted many General Plan changes and ordinances to protect what makes Sierra Madre special - the Environment, the wildlife, tree canopies, the Hillsides, and the Monastery parcel. In discussing the Hillside Ordinance, Planning Commission members commented that the Ordinance wasn't only about slope, but about elevation, topography, views, vegetation, wildlife, fire safety and “things that would change the look and feel of this town.”
The "Monastery" parcel is one of the only properties abutting the mountains that is not protected by a zoning designation of Open Space or Hillside Residential.
In 2015, during the drought, the Sierra Madre Planning Commission and City Council added many Water Conservation measures to the pending General Plan update, including removal of a provision that might have someday allowed the reuse of the Monastery property as housing. The EIR was certified and the General Plan adopted in 2015, and in 2016 the zoning was amended to conform to the General Plan with no objection to any of these actions during the 90 day periods after enactment.
The California Constitution gives voters the power to enact initiatives, to change laws in their City in light of the theory that the power of government ultimately resides in the people. We believe the citizens of Sierra Madre know best what is right for their City and will vote to forever protect that fragile open space, with an ordinance to change the zoning on the property from Institutional to Hillside Residential Zone.
Development can happen on that land, but with the protections of all our values that our City Government has failed to enact.
For questions and to get involved in the initiative, please email email@example.com
The Monastery property is the only large parcel abutting the mountains that is not protected by being zoned Open Space or Hillside!
WE CAN PROTECT IT.
Thank you for helping us in this critical fight to save this City!
Our gofundme is Live!
A quick update on our fundraising efforts.
We have received donations from many wonderful supporters and have used those to buy lawn signs, have door hangers printed and distributed and create a new website.
But many others have also asked for a way to donate to support our fight to stop this development. We now have a GoFundMe page!!
Your donation will help us win against the developer with deep pockets
ACT NOW — STOP special loopholes for wealthy developers
Enforce zoning requirements and follow the Sierra Madre General Plan
It’s no surprise that the charming village of Sierra Madre is one of the most popular destinations in Southern California! But the preservation of our cherished and historic mountain town hasn’t been easy. Protective zoning was required and, over a period of eight years, a diverse cross-section of the community collaborated with concerned city leaders to craft, fine-tune, and approve a visionary General Plan. To further protect our town when it was being threatened, voters developed and approved Measure V.
Yet, the peace and tranquility of our town is being threatened once again.
Big developer, New Urban West, is petitioning the city to be given special permission so that only they will not be subject to the requirements of the General Plan. This special permission would allow them to crowd together 42 Mountain Mansions that do not comply with the same rules the rest of us have to follow!
Be heard! Voice your support for our Village of the Foothills!
ACT NOW — STOP the risk to limited natural resources
Big developer, New Urban West, appears unaware that we have just emerged from a record-breaking drought. In fact, the impact of the drought was so severe that a four-year moratorium on building any new structures had to be enacted by our city leaders!
Protect our land and water
New Urban West’s marketing materials claim their sea of Mountain Mansions will have a “Net Zero Water Usage.” They explain that they will achieve this seemingly impossible result through a combination of pre-purchasing water and encouraging YOU, the current citizens of Sierra Madre, to use less water!
As good stewards of our environment, shouldn't we respect our ecosystem and live within our already stretched resources?
ACT NOW — STOP vast housing projects that make us unsafe
Keep our streets safe
It's like stepping back in time. Walkers, bicyclists, strollers and scooters...the quiet streets of Sierra Madre are a haven for outdoor pursuits!
But the safety of our children, our pets, and our families, are endangered.
New Urban West's marketing pitch explains that as a result of their housing project, traffic will increase marginally but their own numbers tell a different story (i.e., an additional 396 round-trips, to and from the housing project, each day... and more on weekends!).
Perhaps the leaders of a big urban development company don’t care that a place like Sierra Madre still exists, a place where the streets are so peaceful, where neighbors congregate to visit on the porch, where young children play on front lawns, and families walk, scoot, and bike down quiet city streets.
ACT NOW — STOP projects that overburden first-responders
Conserve community resources
How lucky we are to be served by the brave men and women of the Sierra Madre police, fire, and search & rescue teams!
How will 42 large homes, packed tightly into the highest fire zone area of our community, affect the ability of our police and fire personnel to serve current Sierra Madre residents?
But as we know, under the best of circumstances our essential services are stretched thin. With the Bobcat Fire fresh in our minds, are we ready to take the chance that the city's needs will go beyond the ability of our essential service providers?
As an organization, Sierra Madre Search & Rescue does not officially support or oppose the housing project
Protect and preserve the historic
small-town charm that is
A place where citizens, nature, and community thrive
Care for Our
Value of Our Homes