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Planning Commissioner needs a hobby

October 12, 2011

As a resident opposed to the pending project at 3950 Robin Hill, I read your Oct. 4 story regarding this opposition with great interest. I’ve been actively involved for the past two years in an attempt to get the Planning Department and the Planning Commission to enforce both the letter and intent of our hillside ordinance regarding this project.

The Robin Hill lot averages 63% in slope and may be the steepest lot ever proposed for residential development within our city. It is prudent that concerned residents pay careful attention to this project because its eventual outcome will set a precedent for future hillside development in our community. Many of us feel that if the City Council allows this project to move forward while significantly exceeding the hillside ordinance’s guidelines, the City Council may as well tear up the ordinance, and the precedent set will be a dangerous one for the future of LCF’s hillsides.

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In your story you quote Robert Stanley, the city’s director of community development, as saying, “The current debate is exactly why the ordinance exists … if neighbors feel that a project … is exceeding the guidelines, they have the opportunity to appeal it, and this discussion is taking place.” According to your story, “Stanley said this showed the process was working.”

Yet Planning Commissioner Sarkissian has an opposite take on our right to oppose this project when he says, “I think a lot of the neighbors are good citizens who get used to the idea that they can protest things and stop things, and this becomes a hobby … it’s beyond reasonable.”

I think Commissioner Sarkissian’s remarks do a great disservice to us and our respectful efforts to prevent this egregious assault on our city’s hillside ordinance.

If protecting La Cañada’s hillsides is, as Sarkissian states, “a hobby” for us, then I suggest he take up the same one.

Mel Blaney

La Cañada Flintridge

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