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Piece of Mind: There is another development in the news

March 26, 2014|By Carol Cormaci, carol.cormaci@latimes.com

While hundreds of people packed into an auditorium at Crescenta Valley High School Tuesday night to learn about the proposed territory transfer of the “Sagebrush” area out of Glendale Unified and into La Cañada Unified, a much smaller but equally electrifying gathering was taking place at the opposite end of the valley, in the main room at Flintridge Riding Club.

Four members of the La Cañada school board were on hand at the La Crescenta event. The fifth board member, David Sagal, was a vocal participant in the other meeting, called by a local developer who hopes to put a senior (age 55-plus) apartment project in Sagal’s neighborhood.

We had two reporters at the Sagebrush town hall meeting, so I decided to slip into the riding club facility to hear what the developer wanted to share with the folks who live near his proposed project. I had been tipped off Monday about this development by Don Clary, who lives directly across the street from the property where the proposed multistory, 69-unit apartment building would sit. Clary had not received an invitation from the developer, Brett Warner, to attend, but he had learned of the meeting from other neighbors and told me he planned to be there. He suggested in an email to me that perhaps the paper would be interested in sitting in on it too. I’m glad he did.

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First up, I must say I was impressed by Warner’s calm and friendly demeanor. He managed to carry on well, despite the icy stares from the roughly 15- to 20-member audience that effectively negated the warm glow of the fireplace that had been stoked for the gathering. Warner maintained a smooth tone accompanied by a smile, even after he concluded his presentation and took questions from the displeased neighbors, all of whom raised their hands — some lifting both hands for emphasis — when one of them asked for a straw vote on who opposed the project. Sagal himself was in great form, shouting out pointed questions that could have made a lesser opponent turn ugly in response, but Warner didn’t bite. He did, however, suggest he might reconsider his plans.

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