Saving the Raymond — Is Tonight the Last Chance?

posted by Patrick Crowley on April 19, 2004 at 5:38 am

PASADENA, CA — The Friends of the Raymond reports that the Pasadena City Council will meet tonight to review the design concept for the Raymond Theatre site. According to Gina Zamparelli, this could be the last chance to save the Raymond!

Dear Friends of the Raymond Theatre:

The project has been moving so fast, we regret we have not had time to send out a newsletter on the last hearing.  

And now, we have just learned that Councilman Chris Holden is calling the up the latest motion made by the Design Review Commission on April 12. This means that at THIS MONDAY’S Council Meeting, the council could OVERRIDE the Design Commission’s motion, and allow the developer to move ahead with his project.

THIS MAY TRULY BE THE LAST CHANCE THAT WE HAVE TO SAVE THE RAYMOND THEATRE.

WE NEED EVERYONE PRESENT MONDAY NIGHT, APRIL 19, 2004

To understand what is happening in more detail, we urge you to review the meeting’s agenda and associated documents:

Look for the .PDF document that follows this item, and click on it to READ the report:

(2) CONSIDERATION OF CALL FOR REVIEW OF DESIGN COMMISSION DECISION TO CITY COUNCIL REGARDING APPLICATION FOR CONCEPT DESIGN APPROVAL NO.  PLN 2004-00002 FOR THE RAYMOND THEATER MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LOCATED AT 121-129 NORTH RAYMOND AVENUE (Councilmember Holden) (To be heard following the 8:00 p.m. public hearings)

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE DO NOT KNOW AT THIS POINT IF THE PUBLIC WILL BE ALLOWED TO COMMENT ON THIS ITEM.

HOWEVER, WE ASK THAT THOSE WHO HAVE SPOKEN BEFORE PLEASE COME PREPARED TO SPEAK AT THIS HEARING AS WELL.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE A BULLET POINT LIST OF THE MAIN ISSUES OVER THE WEEKEND, OR BY MONDAY PLEASE E-MAIL US AT

PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING MONDAY NIGHT’S HEARING IN FORCE!

DATE:  April 19, 2004

TIME:  Public Meeting starts at 6:30 P.M
(we suggest everyone to be there at the start of the hearing
and sit in the front row)

PLACE: Council Chamber, Pasadena City Hall
100 N. Garfield Avenue, Room 247


Following is a summary of what took place at the April 12 hearing:

The applicant did not pass Concept Design Review because of many unresolved issues with this project. The biggest problem was the applicant’s proposal is not the same project that was approved by City Council. Even the developer admits in one of the city reports “this is a revised project to meet market demands.”  This project must comply with ALL approvals given by the City Council on January 7, 2002.

Other problems that surfaced pertained to environmental issues and consistency findings. The developer also has shown NO proof he has marketed the retained area of the auditorium for sale, which was required by City Council. There were issues that were approved, but there was a list of approx. 10 more items that required further review by the Design Commission. We also recently found in the zoning code that building apartments in a theatre stagehouses is not permitted in Pasadena.

Pasadena Heritage left the hearing early with no comment on if they were going to allow the developer permission to the easement to cut holes in the theatre for openings, or stop this development from go forth.

Also, the theatre and parking lot are not subdivided and Pasadena Heritage’s easement calls for no subdivision.

In the end, the final decision of the Design Commission was to continue Conceptual Review of this project and ask the Mayor for his guidance on issues they could not resolve. They gave some approvals and requested further changes on approx. 10 items.

Before this project even came back to the Design Commission for review on April 12th, we new that the applicant was going to make only minor adjustments to their project.  If they failed Concept Design Review again, they were going to appeal to City Council for approval.

Councilman Chris Holden, who is a friend of the applicant, called the project up to the City Council for review this week. In fact, the city report on the project was not even available till April 14th, yet on April 13th Holden called the project up. 

This latest turn of events has outraged our community and everyone who supports preservation of the Raymond Theatre, because these developers feel they can go to City Council and can skip over required city rules, guidelines, ordinances, findings and City Council approvals. 

The applicant knows, if this project reaches City Council, Council MAY once again gift the developer this project as they have done in the past.

Just for reference, this project was denied by every decision making body when it was going through initial approvals. Chris Holden called it up to Council for the applicant for review by Council. The Council overlooked the decisions of all their advisors and granted this project to the developer with almost no discussion of retaining the theatre. Which is why we are in court now.

The only Councilpeople who did not vote in favor of this project were Victor Gordo and Paul Little.

Pasadena Councilman Chris Holden has asked the City Council to call up the Raymond Theatre project for a vote.  If he wins the votes on the City Council, THIS MONDAY the project WILL NOT go back to the Design Commission for review and instead will be handled by the City Council.

Please let us know if you can speak at the hearing ON MONDAY!

We also need people at the hearing to show their support.

Thank you for helping us protect Pasadena’s Historic Raymond Theatre.

Sincerely,
Gina Zamparelli
Executive Director, Friends of the Raymond Theatre

PS: Please see news articles to follow in our next e-mail. We ask everyone write the City Council, the press, the developer and Pasadena Heritage. We will include all contact information for all in our next newsletter this weekend.

Office:      (818) 541-9522
Fax:         (818) 541-9523
Website:   www.raymondtheatre.com

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