Frequently Asked Questions


(0) Can I submit additional questions for FAQ inclusion?

Yes. Submit your question(s) to and it will be considered for inclusion on the online FAQs.

(1) When will Polytechnic School submit detailed development plans to Los Angeles County’s Department of Regional Planning (DRP)?

Polytechnic School submitted their initial application package (“Base Application”) to DRP on April 30, 2024.   You can check the administrative progress of the application through the EPIC-LA website (  The relevant Plan Number is RPAP2024002389.  You can also access the record through Assessor Parcel Numbers (5830018003 and 5862014003) or the site address: 3555 Chaney Trail, Altadena.  The school has produced a website ( where top-level details and artist’s renderings are available for what the school calls “PolyFields.”

(2) What happens then?

The PolyFields plans will be reviewed by DRP.  The school’s PolyFields website indicates that this process will last 12-18 months.  Informed sources have told AltadenaWILD that the review process could take up to three years.    AltadenaWILD is committed to continued advocacy to ensure that DRP follows relevant ordinances comprising the Los Angeles County Code when reviewing the Poly development plans.  The DRP will make a recommendation to the County Regional Planning Commission (see FAQ #3).

(3) Who will make the final decision on the proposed development?

The five-member Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) will make the decision. There is a member for each of the County’s Supervisorial Districts. The proposed development site is located in District 5. Michael R. Hastings is the District 5 representative, and the overall Chair of the RPC. The Hon. Kathryn Barger is the District 5 Supervisor for the County.

(4) Will there be opportunities for the neighbors and/or the general public to attend hearings pertaining to the proposed Polytechnic School development Plans?

On its website, Polytechnic School maintains that “Poly is fully committed to a comprehensive community engagement effort with our neighbors in Altadena that is proactive and transparent at all stages.”  During the County/DRP review of the Poly development plans, there will be opportunities for the general public to attend hearings and enter comments for the public record.  It is anticipated that DRP will require two sets of public hearings: one devoted to an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and a second pertaining to the Conditional-Use Permit (CUP) required by Poly.  [The land is not zoned for educational/academic purposes.]  The public will have at least 30 days to submit comments on the EIR.  AltadenaWILD will alert you when that comment period is open.  Preparation, review and editing EIRs is an arduous process, and we estimate it will continue through 2024.

In addition, the County Regional Planning Commission will hold at least one public hearing on the proposed development at a future date, probably no sooner than 2025.  The best way to stay informed on future public meetings is to join the AltadenaWILD mailing list.

(5) Has the land already been sold?
No.  Polytechnic School and the Nuccio family have come to an “agreement,” and the property is in escrow.

(6) What is the purchase price for the Nuccio’s ~78 acres?

We do not know.  There are very few ‘comparables’ to compare with, given the unique nature of the parcels comprising the parcels in escrow.  Reasonable estimates suggest the price may exceed $20 million for the entire 78 acres.

(7) If the sale goes through, will Polytechnic School develop all 78 acres?
No.  In the October 11 letter announcing the agreement, Poly stated that it would “utilize the same general footprint as the [Nuccio’s] nursery.”  That footprint is about 13 acres of relatively flat land in the southeast corner of the property adjacent to Chaney Trail.  The remaining 65 acres to the west and north of the existing nursery is native wildlands, with significant ridgelines and canyons.  Much of this area fall within the County-designated Altadena Foothills and Arroyos Significant Ecological Area (SEA), and associated Hillside Management Areas (HMA).  Development within SEAs and HMAs can be approved by the County but comes with additional mitigation costs.  AW asserts that the elements listed in FAQ #10 comprise a sports complex, and that even if limited to 13 acres, such a development will substantially degrade the environmental and recreational value of the remaining. woodlands — and the surrounding foothills and Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

(8) Will the public still have access to the existing trail easement?

Yes. The school has committed to protecting the existing east-west trail easement cutting midway through the property, allowing recreationists access to the Altadena Crest Trail.

(9) Will a second access road by built to relieve traffic on Chaney Trail?

We do not yet know for sure.  Chaney Trail is a narrow and hilly two-lane road and relying on it alone for ingress and egress to/from any Polytechnic facilities greatly increases the risks of accidents with hikers, cyclists and equestrian riders.  Since then, AltadenaWILD has heard from multiple sources that Poly is exploring the feasibility of a second access road, presumably coming from Loma Alta Drive to the south.  This option would almost certainly require the school to purchase private residential properties.

(10)  AltadenaWILD claims that Polytechnic School seeks to build a sports complex on Chaney Trail.  Communications from Poly leadership claim this information is “erroneous” and “simply incorrect.”  So, which is it?

One reason for the ‘disconnect’ is that Poly masquerades the impacts of its intentions through pastoral language and a narrative of “environmental stewardship” on their website.  And another factor is simply nomenclature.  

At a January 29, 2023 meeting with about 30 northern Altadena neighbors, Poly leadership revealed its ‘vision’ to build a multi-use athletics field, a baseball field and tennis courts on the Chaney Trail property.  Subsequent questions revealed that the fields will have spectator seating, lighting, amplified sounds and various support buildings.

At a closed-door meeting with members of the Altadena Town Council and AltadenaWILD on March 14, 2023 Poly representatives showed preliminary plans that aligned with the earlier vision — and added additional facilities.  That private meeting disclosed the elements of Poly’s development plans:

  • “Multi-Use” Stadium hosting football/soccer/athletics (track & field), plus seating for 500

  • Baseball Stadium (seating capacity not specified)

  • Up to eight Tennis Courts (seating capacity not specified)

  • Locker Rooms

  • Weight Training Facilities

  • Ancillary Buildings for Storage/Support

  • Artificial Lighting for Evening/Night Sports Events

  • Amplified Sounds

  • Two-level Subterranean Parking Garage

  • Environmental Sciences Classrooms.

With the April 30, 2024 public announcement of PolyFields, the school lists the elements of their proposed development plans.

  • Multipurpose Field

  • Tennis Courts

  • Baseball Field & Batting Cages

  • Fitness, Training & Locker Rooms

  • Team Meeting Rooms

  • Wellness Center

  • Coaches Offices

  • Underground Parking

  • Bus & Shuttle Drop-Off

  • Indoor & Outdoor Flexible Learning Spaces

  • Public Restrooms

  • Public Trail Access & Parking

  • Emergency Staging & Storage

  • Fire Safety & Suppression Measures.

Poly continues to use the terminology “athletic fields” in its public statements regarding their plans.  It is noted that most dictionaries define a stadium as “A sports arena or field with seats for spectators.”  Therefore, AltadenaWILD asserts that the “fields” are in reality stadiums.  By any rational definition, the largest elements listed above constitute a “sports complex.”  The sum of the elements constitute a Poly “satellite campus.”  AltadenaWILD believes informed citizens can make their own assessments of what constitutes a sports complex — once they are provided with the facts.

(11) Is Poly also proposing to build an indoor gymnasium to host basketball, volleyball and fencing practices and events at the Chaney Trail site?

No.  As part of an updated 15-year Master Plan signed with the City of Pasadena in 2017, Poly was granted permission to replace the existing gymnasium with newer facilities at their current California Boulevard location.  Those facilities have been constructed and are in use.

(12) Is it true that Pasadena forbids nighttime lighting for events at the current Poly campus?

Yes.  According to Appendix B, Section I.10.c of a revised 2017 Master Plan, “outdoor night-time lighting of any event on the field is prohibited” by the City of Pasadena.  Astute readers will note the irony in seeing Poly propose to install nighttime lighting for sports events in a semi-rural environment at an elevation of roughly 1500 feet on the edge of the Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and a County Rural Dark Sky Zone — when the school is prohibited from doing so in an urban environment.

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