Lawsuit Continues - Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Entitlements Remain
After the Kimpton Hotel project proposal failed, the Pasadena City Council:
- Decided to keep in place the Kimpton entitlements and the certified Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
- Voted to issue a second Request For Proposals (RFP) for "YWCA Adaptive Reuse and New Civic Center Development Opportunities"
- Currently, the city is reviewing developer proposals received in response to the second RFP for the two sites immediately north and south of Holly Street, and west of Garfield Avenue and City Hall
The site south of Holly is the YWCA property consisting of the entire block, and the site north of Holly, on the formally YMCA block, is commonly known as the Pasadena Water and Power site
Civic Center Gardens Still At Risk
The second RFP does not address the primary concerns which led the Pasadena Civic Center Coalition (CCC) to challenge the EIR in court, including, particularly, preservation of the historic Civic Center Gardens/parkland north and south of Holly Street. These Gardens/parkland are City Hall’s front yard and critical to its garden-like setting. Specifically, pursuant to the new RFP, the City has adopted a 45 feet setback from Garfield Avenue for any new construction on both of the sites, and, the City has adopted a 60 ft. height limit for both of the sites. Were this to happen, more than 60% of the Civic Center Gardens would be lost to newly constructed buildings.
Transparency Still An Issue
In response to the Second RFP, ten development proposals have been received by the City. A process for review of the proposals and selection of developer(s) began in Fall 2019. In April 2020, a third RFP was issued to comply with the State Surplus Land Act. In the early review phase last fall 2019, the City staff cut the number of proposals from 10 to 5 without any apparent standardized criteria or public review. Most recently, City Council was to review in closed session two remaining proposals for a hotel project. A major concern continues to be the lack of public participation in the review and selection process.
Court Dates Confirmed
Moving forward with the CCC CEQA lawsuit was delayed for a period of time while CCC and the residents of Pasadena waited for what has now become a review and selection process for responses to the second RFP issued in July 2019, as well as the third RPF, issued in April 2020.
The Court has set the Writ (Decisions) Hearing (on the "merits" of the case), and the parties have agreed to the following lawsuit schedule:
- June 19, 2020 - Petitioner's (CCC) opening brief
- July 24, 2020 – City's opposition brief
- August 24, 2020 – Petitioner's reply brief
- October 30, 2020 – Writ Hearing Part 1 (Court hearing on CEQA issues)
- December 11, 2020 - Writ Hearing Part 2 (Court hearing on Surplus Land Act and Pasadena Municipal Code issues). A Decision is expected 60 to 90 days from hearing date.