En charrette

City officials urge residents to weigh in on the ever-changing General Plan alternatives this week

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/4/2010

With many unresolved issues at stake, Pasadena is entering the number-crunching stages of finalizing the city’s updated General Plan, the blueprint for managing growth. 
After nearly two years of hard work by General Plan Update Advisory Committee members, city commissioners and city staff, a three-day community charrette — an intensive work session — will begin this Monday at the regular Pasadena City Council meeting to update the public on the process and its next steps. The forum will continue Nov. 11-13 at Pasadena City College.
The charrette will be a “multiple-day, collaborative workshop that harnesses the talents and energies of everyone interested in creating and supporting a plan that represents transformative community change,” according to a city press release.
Many concerns brought forth by the community during several 2009 outreach events and workshops held in September will also be addressed, such as the ongoing struggle between historic preservation and new high-density development proposed throughout the city.
For example, the IDS Playhouse Plaza, a multi-story office building that was to be built across the street from the historic Pasadena Playhouse, the expansion of All Saints Church and the six-story, mixed-use building proposed next to Castle Green have generated a high volume of complaints and concerns from Pasadena residents. That struggle is sure to be a major theme of the new General Plan. 
On Monday, city officials will present an overview of the process, review community themes guiding the new plans and discuss several planning challenges, including environmental sustainability, state housing laws, economic development, land use and transportation issues. 
“Over this intensive, three-day session, (city officials) will work together to translate community interests and concerns into planning maps and diagrams that illustrate how Pasadena should grow and change, where buildings and natural open space should be located and how we can prioritize clean and simple travel into the next decade,” said Stephanie DeWolfe, deputy director of the Pasadena Planning Department, in a recent statement. 
From Nov. 11-13, the public is welcome to observe the staff’s work at PCC in Building CC, located in the northwest area of the campus, each day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., when the day’s work will be presented for public comment. After the charrette, months of analysis of potential impacts will culminate with draft alternatives for the community to choose from in Spring 2011.