Frequently Asked Questions
Is it true that Polytechnic School is proposing a project in Altadena?
Yes. After more than 85 years, the Nuccio family has decided to wind down operations of Nuccio’s Nurseries. In 2022, the family presented Polytechnic School with a unique opportunity that would enable the Nuccios to sell their property to a responsible buyer, and for Poly to execute a long-held vision to enhance our sports, wellness, science, and outdoor education programs. However, there is a lot of public review ahead while Poly undergoes the L.A. County approval process, and Nuccio’s Nurseries will continue to operate during that time.
Why did Poly choose this site?
This site will allow us to enhance our athletic, environmental science, and social-emotional health and wellness programs with a carefully designed, residential-scale athletic and educational center on a small portion of the site, totaling approximately 13 of the site’s 80 acres. A large majority of the land will continue to be preserved as open space and current access to trails will remain unchanged.
What is Poly proposing?
Our proposal includes tennis courts, a baseball field, and a multi-purpose field with a track, along with support facilities and adequate on-site parking to ensure no one parks in the community. These fields and courts would be used primarily by our high school athletes for after-school practice and games for tennis, baseball, soccer, football, track, and cross country.
In addition, the site will support Poly’s outdoor education program and expand curricular offerings in experiential science to bring to life what students learn in the classroom. Our vision is to introduce students to environmental science, ecology and sustainability curriculums that use the existing habitat and natural resources of the site for hands-on learning experiences.
Living amid the coronavirus pandemic for the past several years has only underscored the value of immersive outdoor experiences and athletics for youth as part of a broader commitment to education and overall wellness. We are focused on our students’ social-emotional health and wellness, and would like to expand upon those programs at this site.
How will this plan benefit the broader Altadena community?
We are intent on including meaningful community benefits in our plans, as well as a detailed strategy to protect the native undeveloped land, and the plant and animal species within it.
We are committed to land conservation and will preserve a large majority of the land as open space. We are also looking to improve the public trail infrastructure on the site. While we are early in the process, we imagine that this may include new amenities, like adding public parking and restrooms, and upgrading the existing trails for all users.
We also want to ensure our plans meet the highest levels of fire safety to make this site – and the surrounding neighborhood – even safer than they are today. We are in early conversations with fire safety experts about how to build a comprehensive fire prevention and suppression program, including early detection systems and firefighting infrastructure built into the project itself.
We are also eager to seek local partners, including schools and nonprofit groups, who can help ensure the project’s benefits extend to the greater Altadena community.
What will the project’s impact be on the surrounding community?
It is too early in the process to evaluate potential impacts, as the specifics of the project have not been determined. Once a plan is developed, any potential impacts – such as noise, traffic and fire safety – will be carefully and extensively studied, shared with the public, and mitigated as part of the County-led public review and approval process.
How does Poly plan to address fire safety?
From the start, we have been aware the site is located in a very high fire hazard severity zone. The same is true of many communities in Southern California. By incorporating advanced fire suppression strategies, we are confident our proposed project will actually enhance fire safety in the area. We’re working with experts in the field who are advising on how the site can be used to help firefighters by providing strategic fire breaks, equipment and manpower staging areas, water storage in cases of emergency, early detection technology, and more.
How will Poly limit lighting and sound impacts?
We are seeking to meet rural lighting standards and are evaluating lights that have zero spillover for our fields. The results of our lighting analysis will be made public as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process.
Likewise, the EIR process requires us to study sound impacts. We don’t have those answers today – but we will be studying these impacts thoroughly as part of the EIR process and sharing the results with the community.
When will detailed plans be shared?
We made a decision to reach out to the community many months before filing our initial project application with the goal of initiating dialogue and creating a plan that reflects community input. We have been meeting with many stakeholders and listening intently. This input will shape the plan that we submit to L.A. County later this year.
Filing a project application will mark the official start of an extensive public review and approval process led by L.A. County that will include an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and detailed studies of our proposal, including any environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures. This will be a transparent and inclusive process that will involve neighbors, community members, government agencies, and other members of the public.
What assurances does the community have that Poly will deliver on the approach it has outlined?
L.A. County will lead a comprehensive environmental review and approval process as guided by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). There will be extensive public review, comment and participation. Our commitments will be memorialized and codified as part of that approval process.
What are the next steps and expected timeline of this process?
We are at the very beginning of an extensive, multi-year process. In fact, we have not yet even filed our initial project application.
Submitting a proposal, likely in Fall 2023, will mark the start of L.A. County’s environmental review and approval process. This will include extensive analysis of such important issues as traffic, lighting, sound, and fire safety. All of these studies will be made public and there will be ample opportunities for public review, comment and participation.
We pledge to continue engaging our neighbors and the Altadena Town Council throughout this multi-year process.