Proposed housing project in Montebell...

Proposed housing project in Montebello hills may be coming to a head

There are 68 comments on the Whittier Daily News story from Jul 2, 2013, titled Proposed housing project in Montebello hills may be coming to a head. In it, Whittier Daily News reports that:

FILE PHOTO: Oil pumps work in a remote location of the Montebello Hills over looking homes on Tuesday April 15, 2008.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Whittier Daily News.

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about time

South San Francisco, CA

#1 Jul 2, 2013
Molinari's comment does raise questions. That would only net 1.5 in annual revenue .

It would not only bring steady flow of cash but also 20-30 million in one time permit fees.

AND not only is that the case, there will be accessible open space!

Don't tell me about oil fields and fires. Don't buy a house there.

In fact, boycott the development. Let them waste their money and have no one live there.

I want increased programming in the city. I want increased staff and bring this city up to the standards of our neighbors.
Montebello everyman

San Marcos, CA

#2 Jul 2, 2013
This is the kind of story that happens when new reporters come to Montebello and dont know much.

The other reporters found out how most people really hate the ideas of condos in the hills and only want a park.

Those real estate guys all think they are going to make commissions or will flip condos to suckers.
about time

South San Francisco, CA

#3 Jul 2, 2013
Montebello everyman wrote:
This is the kind of story that happens when new reporters come to Montebello and dont know much.

The other reporters found out how most people really hate the ideas of condos in the hills and only want a park.

Those real estate guys all think they are going to make commissions or will flip condos to suckers.
Let the people decide.

It's about time the people get to speak and not the same Save the hills people. People on both sides, bring it to a vote , lay out the facts and make a damn decision.

The revenue would be great for the city.

Let's hear the true safety and health hazards from independent review,
And go from there.

Montebello is sitting on a gold mine (possibly) and is scared to dig it up. Find out if its safe, if it is, build and leave enough open space to satisfy both sides.

No more talking, time for action.

This council has the opportunity to oversee the biggest decision in Montebello history.

Now , do it

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#4 Jul 3, 2013
about time wrote:
Molinari's comment does raise questions. That would only net 1.5 in annual revenue .
It would not only bring steady flow of cash but also 20-30 million in one time permit fees.
AND not only is that the case, there will be accessible open space!
Don't tell me about oil fields and fires. Don't buy a house there.
In fact, boycott the development. Let them waste their money and have no one live there.
I want increased programming in the city. I want increased staff and bring this city up to the standards of our neighbors.
Thank you for showing an interest and bringing up applicable issues in this debate.

Unfortunately, there is no independent financial review of the proposed condo project. The much mentioned revised Financial Impact Analysis has yet to be released, and even the best case scenario supplied ENTIRELY by the developer, and depending heavily on redevelopment tax breaks, showed that the only financial certainty was that the project would cost the city money every year for the forseeable future. The main alleged financial benefits were entirely speculative and unsupported by any objective, verifiable data.

None of the natural open space would be accessible to the public. Less than 1% of the 488 acre project area would be parks, and none of them can be called natural open space.

I guess you aren't a resident, as virtually of us are concerned with the horrible idea of building on top of an operating oil field of 100 or so operating wells, with another 100 available if oil prices go up enough. We residents are also concerned with the increased fire danger these condos would bring.

I think we should bring the city up to the standards of our neighbors, too. Pico Rivera has been designated a 'Playful City USA' city for its parks and children's programs. As far as I know, the other neighboring cities have more parks per capita than Mtb. Parks increase the value of single family homes where they are built.

Why do you not believe the legally binding documents submitted by the proposed developer? What objectively verifiable source do you have for these unsupported assertions?

We residents cannot allow the condos to be built as they would destroy the scenic resource of the Hills, cost the city money, increase traffic, pollute the La Merced and Racquet Mountain neighborhoods for at least 10 years, and saddle the city with virtually unlimited liability from condo owners in case of disease, fire, earthquake, pipeline explosion (like San Bruno), terrorist attack, traffic deaths, and property value loss(of current single family homes).
Wonder Why

United States

#5 Jul 3, 2013
The cost to the city to provide services to the residents of the proposed project should it be built would be significantly more than the $500,000.00 figure mentioned in the story. I suspect that figure refers ONLY to the cost of providing a new police patrol unit and fire station. Property tax revenue goes largely to other governmental agencies than the city. The city would probably only get about $750,000.00 a year from the proposed project in property tax revenue. The cost of providing services would exceed that.

The would-be developer's public relations spokesperson's guesstimate about how much revenue the city would receive is not realistic.
Wonder Why

United States

#6 Jul 3, 2013
I wonder why there is no mention in this story of the 900 square foot "condos" that are included among the 1200 "dwelling units" the would-be developer proposes to build after cutting off 100 feet from the Montebello Hills' elevation? In fact, out of the 1200 proposed "dwelling units", 756 would be attached units. Also, among the alternatives being considered for this proposed project, one would reduce the size of some of the dwelling units even more, to include "condos" with less than 800 square feet.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#7 Jul 3, 2013
about time wrote:
<quoted text>
Let the people decide.
It's about time the people get to speak and not the same Save the hills people. People on both sides, bring it to a vote , lay out the facts and make a damn decision.
The revenue would be great for the city.
Let's hear the true safety and health hazards from independent review,
And go from there.
Montebello is sitting on a gold mine (possibly) and is scared to dig it up. Find out if its safe, if it is, build and leave enough open space to satisfy both sides.
No more talking, time for action.
This council has the opportunity to oversee the biggest decision in Montebello history.
Now , do it
The people of Montebello have already decided. By direct observation and questioning for the last 6 years, only 54 residents out of about 4,000 surveyed support condos in the Hills over a park. I'm glad you want to bow to their expressed wishes.

Why do you want the residents who have studied the project's legally binding documents not to comment? Do you have something against knowledge or facts? Actually, that is a rhetorical question, as only by expressly ignoring the facts of the proposed development could it be supported.

The people have voted against every candidate who has supported the proposed condo development in the last 4 years, so they have already made a damn decision.

There has already been an independent review of the true safety and health hazards by numerous governmental agencies, public spirited non-profit groups, geologic and development experts, Montebello and nearby residents who read the DEIR. Their conclusions were that the proposed development cannot be called safe, desireable, or financially solvent.

The only sure gold mine that this proposed condo development would yield would go to the Newport Beach developers, the Houston oil company landowner, and local real estate speculators.

Building a hilltop park surrounded by the most significant population of the threatened California Gnatcatcher bird and breathtaking vistas would be one way for the city to benefit from ecotourism and revenue from local visitors. Also, local homeowners would benefit from the greatly increased property values that new parks bring to existing single family homes.

As every expert real estate broker, developer, and investment analyst who wouldn't benefit from the proposed condo project have said, residential developments always cost more money than they generate in the current financial and tax climate. Only retail and commercial developments bring in significant revenue to cities.
Up or down vote

Montebello, CA

#8 Jul 4, 2013
City council should at least have the motivation to bring this up for a vote and fast after public hearings. They probably won't given elections.
about time

Los Angeles, CA

#9 Jul 4, 2013
Up or down vote wrote:
City council should at least have the motivation to bring this up for a vote and fast after public hearings. They probably won't given elections.
Just make a decision. Yes or no. Right or wrong. Just do it

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#10 Jul 4, 2013
Without objective financial analysis and with incomplete project information, it is impossible to make an informed decision.

When these exist, then the council can make a rational decision based on facts, and not on speculation.
Up or down vote

Montebello, CA

#11 Jul 4, 2013
Information has been pretty objective. People who don't want anything built, out of principle, just come to meetings without knowing all of the facts. Council is mostly illiterate in their not wanting to move on anything to bring in money especially with elections later this year. Developers just want to make money. Perfect storm.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#12 Jul 4, 2013
ALL of the information has been supplied by the company that wants to make money from the proposed development.

ALL of the technical studies were done, redone, and, like the numerous traffic studies, redone multiple times until the results were acceptable to the would-be developer.

ALL of the financial assumptions and data were supplied by the same company.

The definition of 'objective' that applies in this case is:

'expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations'

To expect that kind of information from someone who wants to make a lot of money if you believe their statements is not very likely.
leaders are needed here

Los Angeles, CA

#13 Jul 5, 2013
Am I the only one, but has anyone else noticed how many times 42 yr North... has commented on the proposed hills development over the past few years? Talk about obsessed behavior? His last comment uses the word ALL as if he is the expert on building homes, environmental effects, finances, etc. This is the problem with cities; letting local residents with marginal skills and expertise lead causes they know little about. Mind you, he is no better than local pols who get elected with so little of the electorate voting. Both are reasons our poorer, disenfranchised cities are so rundown.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#14 Jul 5, 2013
leaders are needed here wrote:
Am I the only one, but has anyone else noticed how many times 42 yr North... has commented on the proposed hills development over the past few years? Talk about obsessed behavior? His last comment uses the word ALL as if he is the expert on building homes, environmental effects, finances, etc. This is the problem with cities; letting local residents with marginal skills and expertise lead causes they know little about. Mind you, he is no better than local pols who get elected with so little of the electorate voting. Both are reasons our poorer, disenfranchised cities are so rundown.
You will notice that the supporters continue Rosie's, Kathy's and Robert's tactics of not addressing issues, but being unable to rationally debate, attack the messenger.

When one pays attention to an issue, reads the pertinent documentation, and attends city council meetings, one can discuss a very complex issue with knowledge of the facts. When none of the above things are done, you ignore inconvenient facts and arguements.

I issue my previous call to supporters of the proposed condo development: Have you any objectively verifiable reasons to support the project? Why don't you believe the developer's documents?

I wait, without bated breath.

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#15 Jul 5, 2013
Most of the use of ALL in the above posts can be objectively verified on the city's website by doing what I have done: read the would-be developer's documents.

The remainder can be found with PRA requests to the city for MHSP related documents, by anyone who wants to. Of course, as doing so won't support the proposed development, I don't expect condo supporters to do any of that.
Name Withheld

Alhambra, CA

#16 Jul 6, 2013
People in Montebello should be skeptical of the information provided in the June 18, 2009 Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan.

The website for Stanley R. Hoffman Associates lists Cook Hill Properties LLC as a "private client" while the actual City of Montebello is not listed as one of their "public clients." The FIA specifically states on its front cover that it was prepared for Cook Hill Properties, LLC.

The text of the FIA contains some curious admissions:

The Land use description was "based on information provided by Cook Hill Properties." p.3

"The Applicant [Cook Hill] has provided various assumptions for public works and infrastructure improvements as well as project valuation, market, and phasing information." p.3

"Based on information from the project Applicant..." p.4

"The Applicant estimates..." p.4

"Based on the average unit values provided by the developer..." p.5

"The costs for street maintenance are provided by the project developer..." p.34

"Cook Hill also conducted its own market research..." p.44

"Overall, the market for this site is seen as strong by Cook Hill..." p.45

Cook Hill Properties, LL is listed first under "CONSULTANTS/OTHER REFERENCES" on p.72.


With the passing of California Redevelopment Agencies, this 2009 FIA is now moot and should be completely redone. The City of Montebello ought to be wary of any replacement document that contains this degree of questionable bias in favor of the developer.
Theolona Ranger

United States

#17 Jul 7, 2013
The new General Plan needs to be funded before any Specific Plans
Including the Montebello Hills Specific Plan
do not put the cart before the horse

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#18 Jul 7, 2013
Anyone who knows about PXP's (Now owned by Freeport-McMoran) oil operations in California knows that when homes are built BELOW and on the same level as PXP OPERATING oil wells, there is BIG trouble.

The Inglewood oil field is a good example of PXP's (lack of?) corporate oil field problem policies to adjacent residents.

Montebello is NOW in a completely different position because ALL of the operating oil wells near current residences are ABOVE the homes, allowing the dangerous gasses to rise, spread out, and dissipate unnoticed.

If the proposed condo project were to be built, it would be like a second Inglewood oil field problem, and the new Mtb residents wouldn't be the poor people of Inglewood, but allegedly upscale, affluent people with families and retired people. To me, these are the type of people that would not stand for noxious, unhealthy gasses coming up under their $700,000 condos to endanger themselves and their families.

Can you say 'Class Action Lawsuit against the City of Montebello?'

“Hilltop Park Above All”

Since: Sep 08

Montebello, CA

#20 Jul 7, 2013
Name Withheld wrote:
People in Montebello should be skeptical of the information provided in the June 18, 2009 Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan.
The website for Stanley R. Hoffman Associates lists Cook Hill Properties LLC as a "private client" while the actual City of Montebello is not listed as one of their "public clients." The FIA specifically states on its front cover that it was prepared for Cook Hill Properties, LLC.
The text of the FIA contains some curious admissions:
The Land use description was "based on information provided by Cook Hill Properties." p.3
"The Applicant [Cook Hill] has provided various assumptions for public works and infrastructure improvements as well as project valuation, market, and phasing information." p.3
"Based on information from the project Applicant..." p.4
"The Applicant estimates..." p.4
"Based on the average unit values provided by the developer..." p.5
"The costs for street maintenance are provided by the project developer..." p.34
"Cook Hill also conducted its own market research..." p.44
"Overall, the market for this site is seen as strong by Cook Hill..." p.45
Cook Hill Properties, LL is listed first under "CONSULTANTS/OTHER REFERENCES" on p.72.
With the passing of California Redevelopment Agencies, this 2009 FIA is now moot and should be completely redone. The City of Montebello ought to be wary of any replacement document that contains this degree of questionable bias in favor of the developer.
Thank you for your cogent, coherent, objectively verifiable and factual post.

Many of us used to give specific citations, links, exact quotes because we thought that the awful facts would cause people to see what a fiscally speculative, physically dangerous and objectively unhealthy project this is. Then we found out that facts of the dangers to Montebello residents matter not to most of them and stopped spending the time giving exact citations backing up all our arguements.

However, many of the overwhelming majority of Montebello residents who are against the development may not have read all the past posts, and are in need of quantification and specificity to make their opposition more effective, so keep at it if you want.

Like the 'dog and pony show' of supporters who occasionally appear at city council meetings, the development supporters are composed, nearly 100% of the time, of recipients of the developer's baksheesh, PXP and Cook-Hill employees and contractors, out-of-town business interests, real estate speculators, and those who believe the unverified, unsubstantiated single-source whispers of money to come.

None of the above care one whit about fiscal or health dangers to Montebello residents if they can get some money out of the scheme. I cite as examples the above posters who will wiggle and squirm in every which way to avoid the facts against the proposed development.

Thankfully, some of those here are willing to discuss the big picture AND the specific dangers of the proposed condo project, and I thank them for keeping the discussion on a factual, applicable, and appropriate level.
Theolona Ranger

United States

#21 Jul 7, 2013
It's about time for a new general plan
It's about time for projects to show how children are to get to schools.
It's about time to have an adequate and robust water supply for fire suppression in an emergency.
It's about time for lots of things prior to a rush to judgment on a foreign developer's real-estate speculation.
who benefits
As deep throat said
"follow the money"
disclosure
I many own some Freeport-McMoran stock
Perhaps management will emphasize oil extraction instead of these sideshows which benefit old time insiders but do nothing for stockholders or the new management.

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