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Sierra Madre Deserves Better Than This

    An example of New Urban West’s work: Ocean Colony, Huntington Beach

    Sierra Madre is a beautiful small town—a rare jewel in LA County that is absolutely charming. What’s not charming is what’s happening on the west side, where New Urban West, Santa-Monica-based developer, intends to build “The Meadows at Bailey Canyon,” large subdivision on the monastery grounds. The plans call for 42 multimillion-dollar tract houses, and most are two-story McMansions. As approved by city officials, this sweetheart deal allows for packing much larger houses onto lots than the city’s General Plan allows. You or I can’t build a 3,800 square-foot house on a 7,800 square-foot lot in Sierra Madre, but if we don’t overturn ordinance 1461, a wealthy developer can build 42 of them and, in the process, destroy more than 100 mature trees, excavate and haul away millions of tons of hillside, and, in every way,decimate the lush green meadow and vibrant wildlife habitat that’s there now. 

    We have no idea why our city officials agreed to this. They ignored residents’ environmental, public safety, 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 is submissive to the developer’s wants, this referendum is our only recourse. 

    Just because a developer has steamrolled our city officials doesn’t mean they can bulldoze our town.