May Issue
May 22nd 2023
75°F in Pasadena, CA
Clear sky ↑86° ↓60°
May Issue
May 22nd 2023
75°F in Pasadena, CA
Clear sky ↑86° ↓60°

Polytechnic vs. Altadena

Polytechnic High plans sports complex in northern Altadena


Chaney Trial in Altadena. Ahead, Angeles National Forest; left, Nuccio's Nursery. / Photo credit: Polly McConnell

Stationed at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains in northern Altadena, Nuccio’s Nursery has sold azalea and camellia flowers since 1935. In October, the Italian family business announced plans to retire - and hand over the property to Polytechnic High School, which proposed converting all thirteen acres into a sports complex. The project would take 3 years to complete and is currently in a design phase.

Poly hosted a community meeting in January, where blueprints for a joint football-soccer stadium, an additional baseball stadium, eight tennis courts, and night-light and amplified sound systems were revealed.

These details angered Altadena residents, who immediately banded together to protest the complex after January’s meeting. Since then, just about every house on the adjacent Loma Alta Dr. has erected a sign in their front yard reading “Say NO to Polytechnic sports complex!”

Altadena Wild, the conservation group leading the protest, warns that the planned development area is within a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ). Building a sports center will bring about hundreds of people who are not Altadena residents to the area; these people would be unaccustomed to safe fire practices in an area which is already vulnerable to brush fire.

Traffic is another major bone of contention. As the sports center would be built in a residential area, the surrounding neighborhoods would be subject to traffic jams on tiny, windy roads which aren’t built for such thoroughfare on game days. Beyond the onset of people and cars is the extensive noise and pollution which would ensue, especially in the construction phase of the project.

Because the proposed zone literally borders the Angeles National Forest, its development is problematic from an ecological perspective. The imposition would indeed threaten the forest’s nearly two-hundred bird species, California mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, California quail, and countless chaparral native plants.This is not to mention the endangered species of the area: Southern California walnuts, Matilija poppies, desert bluebells, more.

The very morning this article was written, I nearly stepped on a California racer snake while crossing Chaney Trail. I thought to myself that, if Poly’s plans went through, it would surely have been crushed by an onset of cars.

“I think it’s an unnecessary luxury that destroys a lot of the remaining nature and wildlife in our community,” says Altadena-dwelling PHS student, Esme. “It’s unwanted, and not needed.”

Rivaling residents’ grievances, however, is a genuine question: what would be a better use of the property? Many Altadena residents would likely also oppose alternatives, such as public housing projects.

Polytechnic promises to include the community with full transparency in the project. “We are dedicated to working closely with neighbors, the Nuccio family, and all stakeholders to develop an exceptional plan for the site that enhances the lives of our students as well as the broader Pasadena and Altadena communities,” they pledged in October.