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TODAY The Design Commission Space at the Hale Building, while having the intimacy of scale the Planning Commission lacks, it is so small, there is

no space between rows and people have to stand in the hall. After their meetings, which offer insightful and intelligent discourse about proposed projects, people converse in the hallway or outside on the sidewalk as there is nowhere for participants to confer, discuss and connect before or after a meeting. A basement space has been found as a temporary solution but lacks a connection with the street and so the search continues.

PLANNING AND DESIGN COMMISSIONS The Planning and Design Commissions may have statutory legal authority over projects, but the City Council can overturn their decisions. Commissioners are appointed by Council and include very intelligent and committed citizens who are passionate advocates in the process of planning. They review recommendations made by staff, hear public testimony, and make decisions, which are binding except with appeal to the City Council. The Design Commission reviews major projects, focusing on design, context, massing, proportion, siting, construction details, finishes, materials, landscaping, and compliance with applicable design guidelines. It is also responsible for making sure that new construction and renovation meet the high standards of design for the city and are compatible with surrounding uses. The Planning Commission advises Council on the preparation of the General Plan, the creation of districts, zoning, capital improvements, and other topics that affect development. It also adopts and implements the General Plan, specific plans, the zoning map, regulations and review of capital zoning improvements. They also make recommendations regarding public right of way or open space, locations of roads and bridges, and the creation of parking districts. Correcting the Myth: It is not true that these advisory commissions can permanently kill projects.

THE CITY MANAGER Pasadena has a Council-Manager form of government. The City Council hires the City Manager, who acts as the CEO and supervisor of city government. Compared to other forms and ways of organizing local government, a city manager has more discretion when it comes to decisions. To keep undue political influence away from staff, the City Council is not supposed to give staff any direction except through the City Manager. As planning can have impacts into many millions of dollars, this separation is especially important. The City Manager hires department heads to oversee specific areas, such as Finance, Public Works, and Planning. Every city is organized differently, so Planning can stand alone or combine with functions such as Economic Development. In general, the City Manager usually leaves dayto-day running of departments and the details of their decisions to the department heads, but may get involved with special projects. If Council, staff, and citizens have conflicting visions, it is often the City Manager that best understands all the moving parts and pieces in the increasingly complex modern city. It is an exciting role, but it is often frustrating to be secondguessed in the many misunderstood factors at play. Correcting the Myth: The City Manager is not involved in the details of all real estate transactions, nor do they control all actions made by the city.

The Planning Commission Meeting in Council Chambers When Pasadena’s City Hall was built in the 1930s, Council Chambers were designed to impart the regal grandeur befitting an imperial building. When it comes to City Council meetings, the restored space serves its proceedings. For the Planning Commission, however, the space presents four large and twelve small screens mirroring presentations creating a lack of a singular focus. Conversations afterward occur in an outdoor hallway, making the room is far from ideal for planning.





MY CITY 1916




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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

Profile for mycityis