Friday, September 18, 2009

Arroyo Property of the Week

Once in awhile a true value home comes on the market in the Arroyo Seco watershed and this is one of them!

If you are a nature lover, you will adore this home within walking distance of Farnsworth and Mt Lowe Parks, and close to hiking trails at the Cobb Estate and Rubio Canyon.

Boasting a great view of city lights, immaculately updated, and located on one of the best streets in Altadena, this 1937 beauty has come on the market for less than $750,000.

This gorgeous home features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths  (including a spacious master suite) in almost 1900 square feet, with hardwood floors and period details throughout. The 7100 square foot lot features a lush private yard designed for entertaining. The kitchen is a chef's delight and the property includes a currently rented one bedroom studio apartment with separate entrance.

This is not my personal listing but one of many I can show you as a member in good standing of the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors. It qualifies for the first time homebuyer federal tax credit, too! Contact me if you'd like to see this special property: Phone: 323-230-9749 or

Monday, September 7, 2009

The High Speed Rail is Coming....Right at the Los Angeles River

Can California's High Speed Rail and the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan live in peaceful co-existence?

That was the burning question in many minds at last week's High Speed Rail (HSR) presentations to the Board of Friends of the LA River and to the Land Use Committee of the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council.

There's good news: the consulting team insists they want to be involved with the Cypress Park - LA River crowd to ensure an effective rail alignment through this Elysian Valley neighborhood.

The bad news: HSR sees this location connecting Union Station with Burbank's Rail Station as the most feasible due to land flatness and existing right of ways. That means the rail will impact the Los Angeles River right at the point where the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting its initial feasibility study for river restoration. Moreover, the HSR's route will directly impact the Rio de los Angeles State Park and soon-to-open new neighborhood high school.

Worst of all, current renderings show the HSR crossing the Los Angeles River-Arroyo Seco Confluence at grade, closing in an important water connection that many have worked years to open up to allow for both better water flow and a greenway/bikeway for members of the community.

The HSR plan is more than a pipedream. With more than $8 billion from last year's voter approved bond and an additional $9 billion coming from the federal stimulus package, this project is moving forward very quickly.

For Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco lovers, the time for input is NOW. HSR will be holding a number of community outreach meetings, beginning later this fall. They have lots of interactive information on their website, where you can register for their mailing list:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Memo to Arroyo Seco Canyon Area Fire Watchers: The McNally Fire Offers Lessons Learned

How quickly a beautiful August turned into a September nightmare along Southern California's historic Arroyo Seco Canyon.

The true extent of the devastating effects of the Station Fire (seen here entering the Arroyo Seco Canyon on August 29th) will not be known for several days, but it is almost certain, based upon eye-witness accounts of the flames, that the Arroyo Seco ecosystem will suffer devegetation that won't bode well for water quality or animal/plant life, and will be vulnerable to potential further damage from rainfall run-off in the upcoming winter season.

As someone who lived in Kernville in the Southern Sierra Nevada during the 2002 150,000+ acre McNally Fire (, I share what I learned from that experience in the hopes that it will help my Southern California neighbors deal with our current firestorm.

1. The smoke after-effect of the McNally Fire lasted for several weeks once the fire was under control (it blazed for more than 30 days) and there was a sharp increase in cases of Valley Fever and respiratory infections for those who stayed in smoky areas for an extended period of time. Please stay inside and breathe filtered/air-conditioned air whenever possible to avoid breathing difficulties and lung infections. Avoid physical overexertion and especially protect children and the aged from bad air quality.

2. Once the burn is over and the smoke lifts, many of us will discover for the first time what scorched land really looks like. There will be an immediate desire to run into the forest and re-seed. There will be a lot of concern about mudslides. Many will cry when they first drive up Angeles Crest Highway after the road is re-opened, the same way I cried when I drove up Mountain Highway 99 and saw my beloved Sequoia Forest resembling a war zone. This will be the time for all of us to use restraint, allow trained personnel take protective landslide prevention measures, and wait for nature to heal. Supervised field trips to survey damage and make notes is fine, but let's not be overzealous in trying to help Mother Nature recover too quickly. Our good intentions could actually make the restoration process more difficult. The happy lesson from the McNally Fire: within two seasons, the Sequoia bounced back to life, with new groundcover growth and beautiful wildflowers, though it will be years before old growth trees will be seen again in some areas of the forest. Please ~ don't be zealous about sowing seeds or planting trees. You might be inadvertently sowing 'invasive' and non-native plants.

3. Those animals who could flee the flames, including deer, bear, coyote, and cougars will not only migrate into human neighborhoods but will be more aggressive in searching for food and shelter. Many will be injured or diseased. Residents ~ please balance your desire to help with your need to be safe by contacting Fish & Game personnel for assistance when wildlife is sighted on your property. Please especially protect your children and pets from potentially unfortunate encounters.

As we wait hopefully for the end of this devastating firestorm, let's begin to prepare for the restorative work that awaits us, especially in helping those who have lost their homes or loved ones.