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, environmental science, and outdoor education programs. While our school will continue to operate in Pasadena, we are thrilled for Poly to be the owner and steward of this special property. 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 and expand the public trail infrastructure on the site as well as add public parking and restrooms.

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 conversations with fire safety experts 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. 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 could serve as a community hub for emergency preparations and also during an actual emergency, such as:

  • A training site for first responders.
  • A staging area for emergency responder supplies, equipment, and vehicles.
  • A temporary safe refuge area during evacuations
  • Enhanced water infrastructure and storage facilities
  • Staging and storing of emergency supplies for the benefit of the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Reduction of existing on-site conditions of natural and man-made hazards.
  • A post-disaster community refuge (with parking, shelter, bathrooms) where food, water, medical aid, and information updates could be provided by emergency responders.
  • A cooling refuge center during extreme heat events.

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.

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. 

Submitting our application marked 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.