The Pasadena City Council Monday night approved the initial study and plan for the 30 acres of the Hahamongna annex, after years of community discussion and debate.
The next step for the open space parcel located between Pasadena and La Cañada will be to identify projects and funding for the land, located above the Hahamongna Watershed Park.
Some 35 speakers raised issues about the project site, which will house an outdoor education center, an equestrian center, the county fire camp and open space with trails and picnic grounds.
Pasadena, which purchased the land five years ago from the Metropolitan Water District, may face legal challenges from two activist groups, the Friends of Hahamongna and the Spirit of the Sage Council, both represented at the Monday hearing by attorneys.
The Friends group included La Cañada representatives Mary Barrie and Emily Storke, who raised issues about aspects of the plan near the north border with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Barrie complained about a proposed bike path next to JPL, and the possible removal of up to 70 trees in the annex. She maintained the city had drafted the plan to make it possible to eventually install a road, a concern she and others have raised for many years.
The City Council answered that issue by ordering more emphasis in the plan language that no such road be installed, and the trees removed only when needed and with full open proceedings.
The bike path will be ten feet wide and open for bikes only, according to the plan language as drafted.
The Spirit of the Sage, an activist group which has campaigned to protect the Arroyo, maintains that the annex plan violates an agreement with Pasadena to protect the open space area, while the city maintains the agreement does not cover the annex.
A major project in the annex will be the development of the six acres formerly operated by the U.S. Forest Service, and conversion of the project into an education center.
The city plans to pursue grant funding for the center, and make it available to local groups including Native American organizations.
The county’s Fire Camp 2 will remain, as will equestrian programs operated by the Rose Bowl Riders, Tom Sawyer Camp and Mach 1’s horseback program for youths with special needs.
Each of the programs will have a conditional use permit with a full public proceeding, along with an environmental assessment.
The Hahamongna Advisory Board, with representatives from Pasadena, Altadena and La Cañada, will remain as a supervisory board for the future of the property.