By Joanne Nuckols
Two years ago and in recent months, the issue of South Pasadena’s 45′ height limit is being discussed and the possibility of the City Council putting the limit on the ballot to repeal is a real possibility. It was a citizen initiated referendum that set the limit in 1983, rejecting two high rise office towers of 10 and 12 stories on Fair Oaks across the street from Bristol Farms (see picture). If put on the ballot and repealed, small town South Pasadena could lose it’s small town character we all cherish and become a city of high rises.
In 2020 when this ballot repeal was first proposed by the former City Manager and some council members, there was a very vigorous discussion on Facebook centered around the picture above and did we want this type of development in our town? There were over a hundred comments on the thread with about 90% against repealing the height limit. One picture is worth a thousand words.
Regarding building height limits…
I grew up in my grandfather’s house in SP in the 1940’s.
No traffic problems.
No crowds or crowded street parking.
No apartments, just courtyard bungalows for rentals.
No parking lots or problems with inadequate parking for apts & condos.
Then in the late 40’s & early 50’s they re-zoned for apartments saying that the city could use the additional tax revenue resulting from growth. San Marino opted out for independence, apparently a wise move.
Now, what do we have?
The additional tax revenue turned out to be a short term windfall unwisely wasted. Now we have major budget problems with a 7.5% utility tax which was supposed to be used for utility infrastructure.
Examples:  The sewer at Garfield & Milan has been stinking & in need of repair since they put the condos in Las Flores years ago. Now the city spends our money on a contractor to pump it out every week.
 The city sold it’s disposal services site and contracted outside to a for-profit firm to collect our trash & do the billing. Were we so incompetent we couldn’t compete or continue as not-for-profit just to breakeven using our own property.
 We used to do our own water billing. Now we contract that out to a for-profit company.
All lots & vacant land we used to explore & play on [Raymond Hill & Monterey Hills] were filled with houses & apts. The developers made out like bandits and we are left holding the bag.
Constant traffic jams.
Politically influenced schools
And now they want to increase city density again? Won’t they ever learn?