PROJECT TITLE: Descanso Gardens Master Plan Initial Study/ Mitigated Negative Declaration
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed 15-year Master Plan proposes a framework to guide new development and recommend improvements to existing gardens, in particular, implementable projects that would sustain operations and enhance the experience of County residents and visitors. The capacity of Descanso Gardens is dictated by the size of the facility, which would remain the same. The Master Plan includes recommendations for improving the quality of Descanso Gardens. The Master Plan proposes to restructure the hierarchy of existing paths and provide additional paths to help improve visitor orientation and better showcase garden stories and experiences, guide visitors through the gardens instead of around the gardens, separate the visitor experience from maintenance routes, organize site amenities, and strategically distribute utilities. The Master Plan proposes two new gardens (plus a new nursery and storage yard), one new temporary overflow parking area, major improvements to 11 existing gardens, and improvements to the entrance complex and the two existing parking lots. The Master Plan proposes to increase the existing number of available parking stalls by over 30 percent to better accommodate existing and projected visitor use within the County property. Additionally, the Southern California Edison utility corridor would be graded to provide temporary overflow parking for up to 70 vehicles during events to reduce potential overflow parking in the surrounding neighborhood. Critical infrastructure upgrades would support existing and new programming at Descanso Gardens and would reduce the need for equipment rentals. The Master Plan proposes installation of new infrastructure (lighting, electricity, and Wi-Fi) to provide maximum flexibility for Descanso to curate new programs and installations, including permanent power hookups to support existing and future programming without temporary generators; new lighting along pathways and in event areas to support and enable nighttime programming; and consideration of flexible lighting design for installations and programmable lighting elements that can be used by lighting designers to create special effects.
PROJECT LOCATION: The approximately 149-acre Descanso Gardens property, located at 1418 Descanso Drive in the City of La Cañada Flintridge, is the subject of the Master Plan. Descanso Gardens is located in the Fifth Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County, adjacent to the City of Glendale, approximately 11 miles north of the Los Angeles Civic Center. The property was originally developed as the Boddy family estate. It was deeded to the County of Los Angeles in 1952 and has been operated as a County Special Use Facility, administered by the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, since 1952. The Master Plan Area is in the San Rafael and La Cañada Land Grants of the U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute Pasadena topographic quadrangle in Township 1 North, Range 13 West, Section 2; and Township 2 North, Range 13 West, Section 35. Descanso Gardens is accessible from California State Route 2 (SR 2) and U.S. Interstate 210 (I-210). From SR 2, the Master Plan Area can be reached via Verdugo Boulevard and continuing south on Descanso Drive. From I-210, the Master Plan Area can be reached by exiting on La Cañada Boulevard, traveling northwest on Foothill Boulevard, continuing west on Verdugo Boulevard, and then south on Descanso Drive.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: Monday, January 27, 2020, to Wednesday, February 26, 2020. All comments must be postmarked or emailed no later than Wednesday, February 26, 2020.
WHERE TO SEND COMMENTS: Written comments may be provided by letter or via email:
County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation
Attn: Julie Yom, Park Planner
1000 S. Fremont Avenue Unit #40
A-9 West, Third Floor
Alhambra, CA 91803
SCOPING MEETING: On Monday, February 10, 2020, the County will host a scoping meeting to review the project and solicit information in relation to the CEQA analysis for this project. The meeting will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Van de Kamp Hall at Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011.