Pave Paradise and Put up A Parking Lot ♩♬… Really? | South Pasadena Residents Are Dismayed at Alarming Direction

Letter from the Publisher: TONIGHTS CITY COUNCIL MEETING - Voice Your Opinion: What little green-space we have left is under direct threat- The Arroyo.

Dear South Pasadena Residents,

I find myself compelled to address a pressing concern that stands to redefine the very fabric of our beloved town.

What little green-space we have left is under direct threat: The Arroyo.

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South Pasadena is cherished for its unique blend of community, culture, and nature. Our picturesque golf course is emblematic of this harmony. The troubling proposal to pave over a significant portion of it for parking is not only startling but indicative of a deeper malaise that threatens to rob our town of its very essence.

It’s hard not to wonder, is this an initial move to make the South Pasadena Arroyo more inviting for large-scale development?

The perennial challenge of parking, often cited as an impediment for major constructions, would seemingly be eliminated if this parking lot materializes. Could it be that the infrastructure is being laid down now, so that the path is eased for future housing projects in the heart of our treasured green spaces?

Many of us appreciate the Arroyo without being opposed to development. However, any development must be thoughtful and considerate of the town’s character. Sacrificing the golf course, and by extension the entire Arroyo, is unquestionably off the table.

PHOTO: Henk Friezer | The South Pasadenan | SPEF Parti Gras 2022 Fundraiser “Through the Looking Glass”

It’s incumbent upon all of us to make our concerns known. Please, voice your opposition to this ill-conceived plan at tonight’s city council meeting. Your involvement is not just a right, but a duty to ensure the collective vision of our community is upheld. South Pasadena should not fall victim to such detrimental initiatives.

Our children and grandchildren are set to inherit the legacy of our decisions today.

Do we want to be remembered as the generation that traded in the town’s charm and appeal to developers interested in huge profits?


Public participation may be made as follows: • In Person – Council Chambers, 1424 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030 and the teleconference location.

Live Broadcast via the City website –

Via Zoom – Webinar ID: 825 9999 2830

Written Public Comment – written comment must be submitted by 12:00 p.m. the day of the meeting by emailing to

Via Phone – +1-669-900-6833 and entering the Zoom Meeting ID listed above.

Meeting may be viewed at:

1. Go to the Zoom website, and enter the Zoom Meeting information;

2. Click on the following unique Zoom meeting link:

3. By calling: +1-669-900-6833 and entering the Zoom Meeting ID listed above; and viewing the meeting via


Nearly 53 years ago, Joni Mitchell captured the melancholy of lost beauty in her song:
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot… Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

Let’s not let those words become the haunting refrain of South Pasadena’s future. Stand up, speak out, and let’s protect the heart and soul of our town.


Steven Lawrence
Publisher, The South Pasadenan News


CLICK for Song. (covered by the Counting Crows, song by Joni Mitchell)






  1. This is so far from the reality of the situation that it’s astounding. The council has forcefully stood against suggestions to diminish our parkland for housing and other projects. It’s not surprising there’s not a single reference in this piece to any staff recommendations, council or staff statement. None of these development ideas are in the master plan facility proposed scope of work. Come tonight and find out how the council will protect and enhance our open spaces. Jon Primuth

    • Respectfully, the concept of ‘building affordable housing’ in the Arroyo was just brought up at the last special Study Session held by the City Council on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at 6:30 PM in the Council Chambers. It’s not new that there has been serious talk of large apartment development in the Arroyo. The golf course being whittled down for parking as a potential improvement is an oxymoron, and in the future will certainly make large development in the Arroyo easier. We’ve yet to see any sort of housing development moratorium in the South Pasadena Arroyo park areas to ‘protect it’ as a rec area. Your comment of, “This is so far from the reality of the situation that it’s astounding…”, is tone-deaf. Simply saying that such ideas are not in the master plan at this moment doesn’t quiet the red flags of the situation. And yes, cutting the golf course in half for parking is an idea on the table, while not in the plan at the moment. The best recommendation being floated around city hall for the last several years: A master plan for the South Pasadena Arroyo park area has a whole.