Wary of Storm Runoff, City Moves to Fix Foothill Blvd.

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council has adopted a resolution establishing emergency authority to correct street drainage on Foothill Boulevard between El Camino Corto and Cypress Drive because of possible flooding from future rainstorms.
The resolution approves up to $100,000 for repairs to address the possibility that runoff would “pond on the street during and after each rainstorm,” according to a city staff report.
“Right now we’ve got a health and safety issue that’s going to magnify itself if we start getting any type of significant rain,” Councilman Jonathan Curtis said during his colleagues’ meeting Tuesday night.
The repair would add asphalt to eastbound lanes of Foothill to properly drain water to the catch basin on the south side of the road, said city Public Works Director Pat DeChellis. There would be crack sealing on the westbound lanes to prevent runoff from getting under the pavement and into the soil.
DeChellis said he would follow up with four contractors to get four bids with a due date of Oct. 10. Based on the bids and pending the council’s approval, an award of the construction contract would likely be on Oct. 15, with completion of the work by the end of the month.
On Aug. 20, the city filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Foothill Municipal Water District, saying the wholesaler’s failure to properly maintain a water pipe under Foothill caused the street to sink and could lead to further damage.
District General Manager Nina Jazmadarian has said she can’t get into detail about pending litigation.
The water district submitted its own claim to the city on Aug. 22, alleging that “insufficient compaction of soils caused a district pipe to sag and break with resulting water loss,” according to a consent calendar item recommending denial of the claim in a special meeting on Sept. 17. The claim exceeded $10,000, and council members denied it.
The wholesaler issued an answer to the city’s complaint in Superior Court and filed a cross-complaint on Sept. 18 that stated that LCF “allowed Foothill Boulevard at the location of the incident to subside, which caused or contributed to the break in the district’s pipeline. It was necessary for the district to excavate and repair its pipeline, incurring some of the damages that form the basis of this cross-complaint.”
Like the city, the wholesaler wants a trial.
A case management conference with both sides is scheduled for 9 a.m., Nov. 18, in Los Angeles.
Before the meeting began, the council met in closed session about the litigation against Foothill Municipal Water District, but no action was taken.
MORATORIUM ON NEW
ELECTRONIC SIGNS IS EXTENDED

The City Council also extended an interim urgency ordinance to stop the placement of new electronic message signs.
A 45-day moratorium on new signs was approved on Aug. 27 and was set to expire on Oct. 11. Staff members asked for the extension of the moratorium for an additional 10 months and 15 days to allow them to continue reviewing the analysis directed by the council, according to a staff report, and the council went along with the request.
The added time would make the expiration date Aug. 27, 2020, but the council can rescind it at any time.
According to the staff report, the city is undergoing an update to the zoning code that will include provisions to ban or regulate electronic message signs. During that process, new or modification of electronic message signs should be prohibited because proper use regulations will not have been implemented, the report also said, adding that without these regulations, there could be light pollution or motorist distractions.
Officials have said the signs are defined as containing a video screen, rows of lightbulbs or LED lights or any other type of electronic display that, when activated, forms messages, symbols or graphics and includes electronic reader boards.
The Aug. 27 action was taken after the municipal staff reported that a retail business in the city wanted to replace its sign with an electronic message sign.
Councilman Gregory Brown said the extension made sense but he hoped a new ordinance would be completed in less than a year
“We do have businesses that have in the past and that are now interested in having electronic message signs, and the technology is there,” Brown said. “As long as it’s properly controlled, it can be no more intrusive than non-electronic signs, and particularly for businesses like gas stations that have constantly changing numbers and signs, etc.”

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