On these pages you will find a brief summary of the primary issues we are working on in addition to a list of issues we are monitoring.

How can you help?

Find out which proposed projects will be reviewed by the City of Pasadena’s many Commissions and City Council by clicking here:



The City is in the process of revising the Zoning Code development standards governing single-family residences in an effort to combat mansionization, or the erosion of neighborhood character through substantial residential remodels or contextually inappropriate new homes. Pasadena Heritage has long urged action to address this problem, and we are very pleased that progress is being made. This important undertaking by the City involves three phases: Phase 1 (Lower Hastings Ranch), Phase 2 (non-historic, non-hillside), and Phase 3 (Hillside Overlay Districts). Phase 1 and Phase 3 were adopted by the City Council in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Phase 2 is now underway, and the City has retained consultant John Kaliski Architects to prepare design review guidelines for new homes, additions, and major exterior alterations; these were made public in draft form at the May 23 Planning Commission meeting and June 10 Design Commission meeting. A revised draft will return to the Planning Commission soon, and the Commission will then make its final recommendations to the City Council. Pasadena Heritage reviewed the draft guidelines, finding them to be adequate, overall, and provided a number of comments to both Commissions. The second draft, presented to the Design Commission, included a number of our suggestions. Our comments to the Design Commission were particularly well received and several of our points were taken up by commissioners, especially theidea to direct appeals to the Design Commission rather than the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZOA) since there would be more architectural expertise for review. We look forward to seeing the final draft in the next few weeks.

Please download the Draft Single-Family Residential Design Guidelines by John Kaliski Architects and Pasadena Heritage’s comments.


The City of Pasadena’s Planning & Community Development Department is in the process of updating its Specific Plans. The following seven existing Specific Plans will be updated: Central District, East Colorado, East Pasadena, Fair Oaks/Orange Grove, Lincoln Avenue, North Lake, and South Fair Oaks. The existing West Gateway Specific Plan was rescinded and a new Specific Plan will be created for the Lamanda Park neighborhood. These eight Specific Plans will guide future development in the City.

How to Get Involved

The City has launched a website (Our Pasadena) to share information and updates on Specific Plans. Please visit the website ( and sign up for email updates and connect on social media.

In 2018, the City hosted a series of eight Round 1 workshops, each focusing on a Specific Plan area. This year, they will continue their efforts with Round 2 workshops as well as walking tours. Whether you are a resident of a certain Specific Plan area or just want to learn more, Pasadena Heritage encourages you to attend the workshops or tours that interest you. The date and location of upcoming events are listed below.

1. CENTRAL DISTRICT – Round 2 Workshop (Session 1) – Thursday, March 21st from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Pasadena Senior Center

2. CENTRAL DISTRICT – Round 2 Workshop (Session 2) – Thursday, March 21st from 2:30 to 4:00 pm at Pasadena Senior Center

3. NORTH LAKE – Community Walking Tour – Saturday, April 6th from 8:30 to 10:30 am, location TBD

4. FAIR OAKS/ORANGE GROVE – Round 2 Workshop – Thursday, April 11th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Robinson Park Recreation Center, Community Room

Questions to Consider

Finally, Pasadena Heritage urges you to ask questions and share your ideas and concerns at the workshops, as your feedback is extremely important to the City as it undertakes the task of updating each Specific Plan. We have compiled a list of nine questions (see below) that have occurred to us so far, as we begin to delve into the planning process; we hope that they will help you formulate your own questions.  (Printable version of questions.)

1. Where are the designated historic resources in or near each specific plan area? Are there additional historic resources that are not officially designated? Are there future development sites or plan changes that could affect historic resources? How?

2. For existing plans that are being updated, what has happened there in the last 10 years? What is working best and what is not working? What expectations were set that have not materialized? Why? What factors will drive changes for this plan area and why?

3. For the new Lamanda Park Specific Plan, what are the goals to be achieved by creating this new Specific Plan? Are they the right goals? How will they be achieved?

4. Are there places within each Specific Plan or on its borders, where single-family residential zones abut commercial or multi-family residential zones? Is there adequate transition or buffering in the areas now? If not, how will transitions be improved?

5. What are the residential and commercial development caps in each Specific Plan area? How much capacity will current projects (under construction or anticipated) use, and how much will remain? Should those caps be adjusted?

6. Where is the public open space within each Specific Plan area? Is it enough for the current users (residents)? Is it enough for future users if more housing is added? Where are the opportunities to create, assemble, or develop more parks or open space?

7. Where specifically within each plan area is new development targeted to be? Why? Are there existing buildings (historic or not) that could be re-used? How can environmentally superior re-use be encouraged or incentivized?

8. In the Central District, what development sites remain that are the most likely to be developed in the next ten-twenty years? This Specific Plan area is almost entirely composed of historic districts and buildings. How can design excellence and compatibility of new design with historic buildings be achieved (here and throughout the city)?

9. Will State housing legislation (SB1818 and new policy) affect potential housing development and the General Plan’s caps (increased by 35% or more). How can our regulations/code or General Plan allowances be changed to mitigate these forced increases?