Planning Commission discussion of controversial 'Affinity' project continues on August 24
The WPRA encourages you to attend the virtual meeting on August 24 at 6:30 p.m.
The “Affinity" project, as proposed, could be one of Pasadena's largest developments.

The 3.3 acre project (491-577 S. Arroyo Pkwy.) is bounded on the north by E. Bellevue Drive, on the south by E. California Boulevard, on the east by S. Arroyo Parkway, and on the west by the Metro L (Gold) Line tracks.

The project would consist of two seven-story buildings, one for assisted living and the other, at the developer’s choice, for either independent living or medical offices. Also, the plan calls for retention of three potentially historically significant buildings and construction of as many as five levels of underground parking.
WPRA objects to the project as proposed
Generally, the WPRA finds the project to be too large and its accompanying analysis to be inadequate.

More specifically:

  • The WPRA objects to the developer's intention to seek approval as a “Planned Development,” which, among other things, provides a way to override current zoning to increase density;
  • The DEIR is flawed in that the developer's choice (above) is not permissible under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);
  • The proposal for four or five levels of subterranean parking conflicts with the City's stated interest in reducing parking construction; and 
  • Analysis of traffic, setbacks, open space, access to water and trees is inadequate.

And while the WPRA readily acknowledges the need in Pasadena for more medical office and assisted living space, and additional housing, the current project plan fails to address affordable space.

The Planning Commission also registers objections
The Planning Commission on July 13 also recorded the following significant concerns about the project:

  • The purpose of the project was not adequately defined through the flawed Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR);
  • The Development Agreement did not address the retention of Whole Foods Market, though it was touted as an amenity;
  • The enormity of the buildings’ height, massing and footprint, and their impact on the surrounding area was not addressed in the DEIR. 
  • The stated FAR (Floor Area Ratio, relative to height) would be 2.89, far in excess of the standard FAR of 1.50. Further, the FAR, when recalculating this by excluding the Whole Foods building, increases to 3.79.  

The Commission continued the discussion until its meeting of August 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Your turn
The WPRA encourages you to audit and/or participate in the virtual Planning Commission meeting on August 24 at 6:30 p.m.

To review the staff report, the agenda for this meeting, and instructions on how to submit comments and join the online meeting ... CLICK HERE.
Co-editors: Dan Beal and Chuck Hudson
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September 7, 2022