City Seeks Best Program for Lead Mitigation

Under direction of the City Council, the city’s Planning and Zoning Department will prepare an ordinance regarding lead mitigation in San Marino homes and bring it forward for consideration.
This comes after Director of Planning and Zoning Aldo Cervantes presented his research on the issue at a recent City Council meeting. He studied the issue following media coverage of the apparent preponderance of lead contamination among Los Angeles-area children, particularly in San Marino.
Although the county’s public health department successfully countered the reports as a data logging error, the City Council nevertheless felt compelled earlier this year to explore implementing a measure to ensure lead-based paint was removed in homes when possible. Cervantes said he found San Diego’s ordinance on the matter to be the most compelling to follow.
“We have a similar process, where if properties change hands, we require a home inspection that certifies three things,” he explained. “We would like to include a provision that as part of that process upon the sale or change of hands that we include a certification that, if lead is found, it is removed.”
Cervantes said the ordinance would require such an inspection and abatement — all by professionals licensed for EPA standards — for all homes built before 1979, which is when lead-based paints were uniformly banned from use. In San Marino, that includes 4,254 homes.
“That’s 80% of our housing stock,” Cervantes added.
Mayor Dr. Richard Sun suggested including a provision that keeps the certification records for each of those homes after the first inspection so that homeowners are not forced to spend money duplicating the process down the road. City Attorney Steven Flower cautioned against that because of the potential that a new homeowner could sandblast paint down a multitude of layers and kick up lead that was previously undetected.
Other audience members took issue with the idea of being forced to invest what could be thousands of dollars to remove lead-based paint from homes before they’re allowed to sell.
Councilman Steve Talt, in directing Cervantes to draft an ordinance for consideration, was noncommittal but nevertheless wanted the city to do its homework on the matter.
“We don’t have to accept it,” he said. “Just see what we’re getting ourselves into.”
City to Raze Park Restroom
After much hand-wringing, the City Council has decided to raze its ramshackle restroom in Lacy Park and start anew instead of renovating it.
The decision will, in all likelihood, cost about $11,000 more, but Parks and Public Works Director and City Engineer Michael Throne successfully made the case that it would result in a much better product. The City Council had considered bids last month to renovate the restroom, which was built in the 1920s, but some members and many residents balked at the price tag that approached $400,000.
Throne argued that starting over would give the city more freedom in truly updating the facility instead of giving the existing one a restricted makeover. Because a new design will go through the city’s design review process, it also would naturally be open for resident input.
Long-Term Finance Committee Named
The City Council’s Strategic Financial Ad Hoc Committee has been filled, although one prospective appointee will likely contribute from a City Council seat.
Residents Jay Goldstone, John Chou, James Coupe, Dick Durant, Mark Holdsworth and Maurice Saldebar will collaborate to analyze the city’s financial state and develop long-term projections and strategies on behalf of the City Council. They will report to Councilman Talt and an undetermined other council member who will take Mayor Dr. Richard Sun’s place after his term ends next month.
Ken Ude, who was to be the seventh appointee, seems primed to take on that role when he is sworn in as a city councilman next month. He was elected last week along with Susan Jakubowski and Gretchen Shepherd Romey.

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