The L.A. County Department of Public Works visited the La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Tuesday night to give an update and answer questions on the Devil’s Gate Reservoir Sediment Removal and Management Project, set to be awarded to a single contractor by early August and with work expected to begin in November.
The project to remove 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment — reduced from 2.4 million cubic yards last year by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors — will likely take place over the course of four years. The project’s initial excavation area will be about 64 acres and bordered by slopes, referred to as a natural habitat area where vegetation will thrive.
Once the permits are granted, the contractor can begin to haul a maximum of 800,000 cubic yards of sediment per year from the Hahamongna Watershed area behind Devil’s Gate Dam.
“I want to emphasize how important this facility is and this project is really to restore the capacity, so for many years to come, it will continue to provide flood protection to the communities downstream,” said Sterling Klippel, principal engineer at the L.A. County Water Resources Division.
During his presentation, Klippel assured the City Council that the plans are on track, and reiterated what has been said by the L.A. County Department of Public Works at recent informational meetings.
Klippel said that, due to concerns, emissions from construction trucks will be mitigated by the reduced number of trips per day, now down to an estimated 250-300, from a maximum initial number of some 600. He said that two newly created access points off of Oak Grove Drive will help quicken the trips to the watershed area and reduce traffic on residential side streets. Those access points will be kept for future maintenance. He also said the trucks will avoid times of local school drop-offs and pickups.
There will always be a county inspector on site, he assured the City Council, and the contractor will be required to have water trucks spraying down water to help mitigate the dust kicked up by the work. Street sweepers will also be on hand to push the dirt back into the area, he said.
Old established trails in the area will be maintained, Klippel told Councilman Jonathan Curtis, who praised the potential of the habitat, noting that “it is a tremendous opportunity” to create new trails.
Adoption of Urgency Ordinance
City Council voted unanimously (Councilman Michael Davitt was absent) to temporarily halt any potential development on two multifamily developments on Foothill Boulevard, which currently fall within the city’s Community Planned Development zone, allowing the planning department to further investigate concerns regarding traffic, parking and noise impacts on residents.
The city learned in May that two potential developments were being considered on the north and south side of Foothill Boulevard within the CPD zone. Permitting multifamily development within the CPD zone without sufficient development standards to implement the city’s goals for the R-3 (multifamily) Mixed Use and CPD zones “may continue to intensify negative impacts on existing and future residents associated with traffic, parking and noise,” Susan Koleda, director of community development, told the City Council.
During the period of the ordinance, effective for 45 days, Koleda will review, study and analyze the types of uses and development standards that are appropriate within the CPD zone designation.
After review, the city may urge the potential developers to apply for a change- of-use permit, from a CPD zone to R-3, for example, to more easily comply with city standards. In the past, other similar land parcels in that vicinity had been granted the zoning change.
“It seems these are the kind of parcels that didn’t get the right attention back then,” noted Councilman Gregory Brown.
Mayor Terry Walker supported the ordinance, but added, “I’m not a big fan of moratoriums in most cases,” noting they can get caught in review for too long and slow down the permit system. She emphasized this would be a temporary measure.
Appeal of New Gate Rejected
The council unanimously rejected the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval for a variance for a new gate located at a home at 4201 Mesa Vista Drive.
Homeowners will now be allowed to move ahead with their new gate, which will have a 10-foot setback from the road, opposed to the 5-foot setback initially proposed by the owners and the 20 feet required by current code.
Although council members rejected the appeal, they did express some safety concerns over the ability of firetrucks to maneuver and turn around at the end of the drive because of the new setback.
The appellants were not present at the meeting.