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More Housing Density Information Needed for Vote

Before the City Council asks for our vote on the ballot measure for housing density, we need more information.
The Council‘s proposal includes three seven-story and one eight-story high-rise.
This is for 2,700 new housing units. Doing some simple math, the four new buildings would provide 29 floors of units. (Dividing 2,700 (units) by 29 (floors) gives you 93 total floors or an average of about 23 housing units per floor.) What if the ground floor is commercial or an open “common” space. Either these will be very tiny units, or these buildings will be very large.
I’m curious about the total number of expected residences per building. In addition, how many (and which) buildings would have to be removed to make room for these buildings?
In order for voters to make informed decisions, we need to know:

  • How many parking spaces per residential unit are required by the plan, and how will the city ensure that the requirement is met and not ± without voter approval?
  • How will the city handle the extra influx of that many cars?
  • How will this affect our streets for wear and tear?
  • What are the plans for controlling traffic flow, especially where traffic is already beyond capacity?
  • How will the schools handle the extra influx of students?
  • Does the city have water for this many units?
  • Can our sewer system handle this increase?
  • How many additional policemen and firemen would be needed?
  • Where will the expected costs for repairs and improvements to infrastructure and increased staffing, and where will the funds come from?
    According to an article that was published in the Review’s March 1 edition, “The city of South Pasadena’s spending will outpace its revenue by millions of dollars over the next five years …”
    Perhaps it is a “worst-case scenario” rather than an inevitability. Again, I understand we are under a state mandate for more housing. However, unpalatable choices must be made from a position of full knowledge and understanding, not from a superficial summary of the sort presented in another article from the Review’s April 19 edition, “Council Eyes Ballot Measure to Allow Housing Density.” If a decision is going to hit voters in their pocketbooks and in their quality of life, they are entitled to know exactly how, and what the city is doing to mitigate those effects.

Gary Coyne
South Pasadena

First published in the May 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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