The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News

Title:

Hahamongna plans

Subtitle:

Date:

2009-05-19

Author:

Martin Pastucha

Publication:

Pasadena Star-News

Content:

A May 15 column in the Pasadena Star-News by Public Editor Larry Wilson states that the city "is quietly at work to bring back the spectre of a 1,200-car parking garage and a 50-foot-wide road through what is supposed to be the pristine Hahamongna Watershed Park."

He goes on to state, "Some in City Hall apparently thought that they could just slip this back in without anyone noticing."

The first statement is inaccurate and the second statement is insulting.

When Pasadena purchased 30 acres in 2005 from Metropolitan Water District adjacent to Hahamongna Watershed Park, it became necessary to incorporate this annex acreage into the park's master plan to propose the intended land uses and corresponding improvements.

A city-owned parking lot outside of the annex area is leased by Jet Propulsion Laboratory from Monday to Friday. The environmental impact report (EIR) for the original - and now adopted - Arroyo Seco Master Plan evaluated several options for a parking structure within the park; one option was at the lot leased by JPL. However, this option was never formally recommended and was not included in the final plan adopted by the City Council in 2003.

The planning process for the annex began in 2006. Early options included extending the park road through the annex site to access this lot for weekend use by park users. The City Council asked staff to evaluate the impacts of such an option in the environmental study when the plan returned to them for adoption. After strong opposition from the public and the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee, the option of a road was not included among the recommendations in the current draft plan. There is also no mention of a parking garage in the current recommendations.

There are parking spaces in the annex area that have been there for decades in conjunction with buildings leased by the U.S. Forest Service. The USFS is no longer a tenant and the buildings are now proposed in the annex plan as an environmental education center.

Fifty-four additional parking spaces are recommended throughout the annex to support other proposed uses such as a public equestrian center.

Since the annex site will not allow for a large number of cars, creative solutions will have to be sought for parking, especially during large events; in those cases, visitors may be asked to park off-site and be shuttled to the area.

The annex is a beautiful, oak-filled woodland that deserves to be protected. The master plan takes this into consideration and is a model of sustainability.

The final draft of the annex plan can be found by going to www.cityofpasadena.net and clicking on Hahamongna Annex under "Hot Topics." The plan was reviewed by the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee with a recommendation to City Council last Tuesday after four hours of public testimony and review. The plan will be reviewed by the Environmental Advisory Commission, Planning Commission and Design Commission before going to the City Council in July.

Martin Pastucha
Director of Public Works
City of Pasadena

Editor's note: I stand by my column in its entirety. While the road through Hahamongna and parking garage originally proposed by city staff were removed from the Watershed Master Plan in response to public outcry, a 50-foot-wide "greenway" right-of-way remains, along with the environmental analysis for a road to the JPL West Arroyo parking lot referred to as "an extension of the main park access road" (p. 3-19). Experts say that means the city would not be required to do environmental review for the road in future. Same with the garage: While it was removed from the final EIR, it mysteriously remains in three of the mitigation measures in the Initial Study. - Larry Wilson, public editor.