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Planning Commission to Consider Approving Villa Esperanza’s Compliance with Master Plan

Published on Monday, February 22, 2021 | 5:00 am
 
(Courtesy of City of Pasadena)

The Pasadena Planning Commission will go over the city’s first compliance review of Villa Esperanza Services’ 15-year master plan on Wednesday, February 24, in a special meeting that begins at 4:30 p.m. 

In 2014, the Pasadena City Council adopted the nonprofit’s master plan, which outlines the development of Villa Esperanza’s campus at 2116 E. Villa Street. A report by the Department of Planning and Community Development said Villa Esperanza Services is in compliance with the Master Plan and is asking the Planning Commission to find that the first phase of the plan has been properly executed.

“As of this date, staff has found that Villa Esperanza complies with the conditions of approval and provisions of plans of the approved Master Plan. No changes or modifications to the Master Plan are proposed,” the Planning Department said in the report. 

Villa Esperanza Services was established in Pasadena in 1961 and serves individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Their wide variety of programs and services assist infants to seniors throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties, in addition to providing support and encouragement to their families. 

Over the years, the nonprofit acquired properties within the neighborhood, expanding its capacity to accommodate the growth and development of the facility. Today, its comprehensive programs for children are offered on a single campus at the East Villa Street location. 

The Villa Esperanza Master Plan would result in a total of approximately 42,000 square feet of new buildings. With the master plan, Villa Esperanza would be able to increase its enrollment capacity from 85 to 120 students, although there would be no immediate changes to the number of full-time employees, currently at 128 persons. 

Under the city zoning code, all master plans shall be reviewed by the Planning Commission every five years starting on the fifth year after the approval date of the master plan. A periodic review, such as this first one, is required to evaluate the status of the master plan and development of the site to determine whether the projects comply with features of the plan and conditions of approval. 

If the Planning Commission finds noncompliance with the plan or the conditions of approval as a result of the review, the commission may direct the Planning Department to withhold building and other permits for any development within the area covered by the plan until compliance is achieved. It may also schedule a public hearing before the City Council for revocation of the master plan. 

The Planning Department’s report showed between 2014 and last year, Villa Esperanza Services completed all planned projects in Phase 1. These included the demolition of eight buildings — a total of over 16,000 square feet — within the property, and the construction of a one-story, 9,800-square-foot classroom building. 

It has also temporarily placed five portable classrooms and one double-wide classroom on the parking lot located on the northwest corner of the project site; improved the play area by constructing common areas, landscaping and fencing; and removed 16 trees, including three protected trees on the site. 

Phases 2 and 3 include the construction of a two-story, 24,000-square-foot administration building with 82 parking spaces, and construction of another one-story, 8,500-square-foot classroom building, among other projects. 

Plans for these next phases are expected to be submitted to the Planning and Community Development Department in the spring, the report said.

The report added the Planning Department anticipates Villa Esperanza will complete all the elements approved under the master plan prior to the sunset year 2029. 

To access the public meeting of the Planning Commission on Wednesday, community members can go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88512873044 or call (669) 900-6833 and use the webinar ID 885 1287 3044. 

Public comments may be submitted by email to tvarsh@cityofpasadena.net prior to Wednesday.

Before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, comments may be submitted through the Planning Department’s comments page, www.cityofpasadena.net/planning/public-comment.

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