Frequently Asked Questions



FAQ #13 is NEW!

Changes have been made to FAQ #1,9,10,11 to reflect the contents of Poly’s initial plans submitted to L.A. County.

(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) How can I see the detailed Poly Fields plans submitted to Los Angeles County’s Department of Regional Planning (DRP)?

Polytechnic School submitted their initial application package (“Base Application”) for their Poly Fields athletics campus to DRP on April 30, 2024.  Details of the plans, including written narratives, maps and architectural renderings, are available on the EPIC-LA site.  [Note that the initial plans are draft versions and are subject to changes suggested by DRP.]  There are 18 digital files that comprise the initial application.  These can be found by following this recipe:

  • Visit the website:

  • Click on box: Search Public Records

  • Top of Page: Click ALL records for 3555 Chaney Trail

  • Click on Plan Number: RPAP2024002389

  • Middle of Page: Click on ATTACHMENTS

Among the most useful files for the casual reader are:

  • Poly Fields Project Description (23 pp.)

  • Main CUP Use Findings (24 pp.)

  • Civil Initial Planning Submittal Polytechnic SES (7 pp. maps)

  • Poly Fields Entitlement Submittal (46 pp. maps, drawings; HUGE file).

(2) What happens then?

The PolyFields plans will be reviewed by DRP.  The school’s Poly Fields 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 RPC Chair. 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 Poly Fields development?

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 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 2024-25.

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’ for such a unique property.  Reasonable estimates from knowledgeable sources suggest the price may be $20-25 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 initial Poly Fields proposal includes a dense array of stadiums and buildings that would generally be located on the site of the current nursery. The remaining 65 acres to the west and north of the existing nursery are 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).  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?

Poly proposed that Chaney Trail, a narrow and hilly two-lane road, be the only public access road servicing Poly Fields.  In June 2024, DRP requested that Poly identify a “secondary means of legal access.”.

(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.

In their Poly Fields plans submitted to L.A County in April 2024, the Poly Fields elements were listed.


·       Football/soccer/athletics stadium, with bleacher seating for 300

·       Baseball stadium, with bleacher seating for 172

·       Six Tennis Courts, with bleacher seating

·       Training Facility (11,835 sf=square feet)

·       Student Fitness Center (6,800 sf)

·       Wellness Center (4,520 sf)

·       Equipment Storage (3,995 sf)

·       Coaches Building (3,605 sf)

·       Batting Cages (3,265 sf)

·       Various storage (2,088 sf)

·       Lounge (1,320 sf)

·       Team Meeting Rooms (695 sf)

·       Coach/Faculty Offices (507 sf)


·       Two buildings (2,120 sf)

Poly continues to use the terminology “fields” in their plans and associated public statements.  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 elements listed above constitute a “sports complex.”  In fact, the Poly Fields architectural renderings use the term “athletics campus.”

Regardless of nomenclature, AltadenaWILD asserts that the Poly Fields concept is grossly inappropriate for the proposed site.

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

Earlier, AltadenaWILD reported the answer to be “no.”  Within the past decade, Poly build a new gymnasium on their Pasadena campus to host traditional indoor sports.  However, the Poly Fields proposal submitted to the County in April 2024 includes a Student Fitness Center with “gym space.”  While the indoor sports were not explicitly listed in the Poly Fields proposal, there is now uncertainty on the eventual usage of the Student Fitness Center.

(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.

(13) Wouldn’t a school campus would be better than a housing development along Chaney Trail?

No, not necessarily.

Let us start with some context.  The current County zoning for the 78-acre site on Chaney Trail is low-density, single-family residential at about 4 DUs per acre.  [Hence, the requirement on Poly to apply for a Conditional Use Permit to build their sports complex.]  The northern 39 acres are very rugged, and any development there would be prohibitively expensive -- and therefore unlikely.

The present Chaney Trail nursery is located on 13 relatively flat acres of the southern 39-acre parcel.  The remaining 26 acres are quite rugged, and while development on this section is possible, then economics would still be challenging.

Since first announcing their intentions in late 2022, Poly has consistently stated that their proposed sports complex would be a better outcome for the Chaney Trail parcels than another housing development.  This is a false choice and ignores the option of preservation.  Poly is presumably invoking this threat to remind Altadena residents of the controversies and broken promises surrounding La Vina, a gated community at the north end of Lincoln Avenue.

AltadenaWILD does not fear a housing development on Chaney Trail – for a variety of reasons.  First, La Vina was approved by L.A. County in 1989, arguably two generations ago in environmental awareness and practice.  Second, the State designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones in 2007 (updated in 2022).  The entire Chaney Trail property falls within a VHFHSZ.  Third, the County is updating its County Codes to reflect the increased fire risk via the County Wildfire Protection Ordinance.  It is also developing the West San Gabriel Valley Area Plan (WSGVAP) to guide future ordinances and developments.  Taken together, these documents generally discourage an "increase in density of people or intensity of activity" in VHFHSZ.

Fourth, a search of County records reveals that an unnamed developer submitted a plan in late 2021 to build "Nuccio's Ranch" along Chaney Trail.  The proposal was for 36 "dwelling units (DU)."  The proposal was then withdrawn some six months later.  Informed sources tell AW that the County would approve only 18 DUs (24 DUs if a second access road could be built).  If 24 DUs were to be built, that would add about 72 people into a VHFHSZ -- but these people would quickly practice the same fire safety culture as people in surrounding neighborhoods.  Contrast this with adding many 500+ visitors, mostly from urban environments, into a VHFHSZ.  And even if Poly students were virtuous to a fault, visiting teams would draw crowds of teenagers who would not necessarily be as fire conscious.

In the Poly Fields proposal submitted to the County’s Department of Regional Planning in April 2024, the school once again refers to the threat of housing; in this case, 174 homes on the southern parcel.  In fact, the County is modifying the zoning and land-use designations for the foothills.  Under these guidelines, the zoning will change from R-1 Single-Family Residential to A-1 Light Agricultural.  The Land Use classification will change from RL2 Rural Land to RL20 Rural Land, meaning that the density of homes would be limited to one per 20 acres.

Considering all these facts and ongoing changes in government policies, AltadenaWILD concludes that the threat of a housing development on Chaney Trail is melodramatic.  It presents a false choice to the community and precludes options that yield preservation without degradation.


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