Arcadia Woodlands Update
January 5, 2011 § 22 Comments
ALERT!!! CHAINSAWS TO BITE NEXT WEDNESDAY MORNING (1/12/11)
According to trustworthy sources, the Department of Public Works plans on continuing with the project as is and states that it completed all procedural work correctly, despite an otherworldly lack of communication! Work will resume (and chainsaws will bite) next Wednesday, January 12th unless extraordinary action is taken by the Board of Supervisors. It’s time to flood the lines of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich! Please call (213) 974-5555 to request that this item be added to the Board of Supervisors Agenda for this Tuesday (1/11/11). Today is the last day supplemental items can be added!
Click HERE for what might be the last film footage of the Arcadia Woodlands.
The 30-day moratorium on construction proposed by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (5th District) and approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on December 7th expires at midnight on January 7th (this Friday). In theory, if no further action is taken by the Board of Supervisors to halt construction, there is nothing stopping the L.A. County Department of Public Works from authorizing the demolition (which could technically begin this Friday!) of a significant portion of the Arcadia Woodlands to make way for 250,000 cubic yards of sediment from nearby Santa Anita Reservoir. It seems to be an appropriate time to provide a somewhat detailed summary of the continued plight to save the Woodlands in what may prove to be the final days of this shining example of our natural heritage.
- As a primer, check out Barbara Eisenstein’s concise summary of events leading up to the December 16th community meeting on Weeding Wild Suburbia
- December 16, 2010: A community meeting organized by the L.A. County Department of Public Works hosted a crowd of approximately 120 Woodland supporters (read more in the Monrovia Patch). Many voices were heard (nearly two hours worth of public comments), mainly expressing disdain for the destruction of the Woodlands and discontent with the lack of communication and outreach surrounding the project. The meeting provided a clarified insight into the details of the project (see EIR synopsis below). Of note during the meeting, Monrovia Planning Commissioner Glen Owens, a leader in the plight to save the Woodlands, presented a report prepared by engineer Bart Stryker (independently commissioned by Owens) stating that the existing sediment placement sites contained enough capacity to hold all 500,000 cubic yards of sediment contrary to claims by the County that the sites did not have the capacity.
- December 27, 2010: L.A. County officials prompt Arizona-based Quest Civil Contractors (the project contractor) to hire the private security company All Security Services, Inc. to provide 24-hour surveilance of the Arcadia Woodlands. A total of three (3) security cars patrol the site (I have witnessed the patrols myself while hiking on a nearby ridge line). The County contends that “The contractor is about to take delivery of several million dollars worth of equipment that’s on its way to the site. … We believe it’s a prudent move on our part.” (quoted from the Sierra Madre Patch). However, through a second-hand account, it has been said that one security guard explained to a local Arcadia resident that he was hired “to keep the tree-huggers out.”
- January 4, 2011: Both the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and the Arcadia City Council held regularly scheduled meetings this past Tuesday. Neither group had the Woodlands on the agenda. Cam Stone spoke during the public comment period at the Arcadia City Council meeting and received a cold reception to his concerns about the destruction of the Woodlands. He correctly pointed out to the Council that the Woodlands site, if demolished, would not only receive sediment from Santa Anita Dam, but from a number of other debris basins in the area, resulting in literally thousands of truck trips through the neighborhood. With the exception of Council Member Gary A. Kovacic, the city expressed no interest in pursuing action on the matter. The irony of the Arcadia City Council’s lack of initiative or interest in the Woodlands is that for over two hours during the same meeting, the Council focused its attention on the removal of one (yes one!) Engelmann oak. While the loss of an Engelmann is undoubtedly a shame, what about the trees in the Arcadia Woodlands (179 oaks and 70 sycamores)?
- January 6, 2011: The County Department of Public Works provided its report on alternative solutions/community input to the Board of Supervisors. This document is scheduled to be made available to the public… still no word. According to trustworthy sources, the Department of Public Works plans on continuing with the project as is and states that it completed all procedural work correctly, despite an otherworldly lack of communication! Work will resume (and chainsaws will bite) next Wednesday, January 12th unless extraordinary action is taken by the Board of Supervisors. It’s time to flood the lines of Michael D. Antonovich!
- January 7, 2011, 12:00AM: The 30-day moratorium on construction ends, the fate of the Arcadia Woodlands may be sealed…
THE INFAMOUS EIR
- Since the community meeting, many have had the opportunity to browse through the numerous pages of the EIR for the “Santa Anita Dam Sediment Removal Project“
- Gabi McLean (California Native Plant Society) and Barbara Eisenstein (Weeding Wild Suburbia) have prepared excellent, well-thought out letters that outline the major flaws of the EIR
- From page #17 of the CEQA Initial Study Checklist: “The proposed project would not have an adverse effect on scenic vista or a scenic resource.” (Really?)
- From page #66 of the Final EIR Appendices: A lone letter from Mike San Miguel expresses a coherent disapproval of the project
- From page 3.3-18 of the Final EIR: “The City [of Arcadia] stated that an Oak Tree Removal permit was unnecessary for projects requiring oak tree removal for public purposes under Section 9701 of the Arcadia Municipal Code” (this needs to change!)
- The County’s “preferred” alternative: A conveyor belt system stretching from the Santa Anita Dam, through Wilderness Park, all the way to the Lower Sediment Placement Site would transfer 500,000 cubic yards of sediment. 250,000 would go to the Middle SPS (aka Arcadia Woodlands) and 250,000 would go to the Lower SPS (already demolished and functioning as a placement site)
- Alternative #2 (rejected): Convey to Wilderness Park, truck to Middle SPS (aka Arcadia Woodlands) and Lower SPS
- Alternative #3 (rejected): Convey to clearing of Upper SPS, truck all to Manning Pit SPS in Irwindale (opposed by residents because of high number of truck trips through neighborhood via Elkins Ave.)
- Alternative #4 (rejected): Convey to Wilderness Park, truck to Manning Pit SPS via Elkins Ave. (same opposition due to truck trips)
- Cam Stone’s alternative #5: A welcome and coherent counterpoint to the County’s “preferred” plan. Stone’s alternative would convey 250,000 cubic yards to the Lower SPS as planned, convey 125,000 cubic yards to the Upper SPS (which engineer Bart Stryker found to have adequate capacity), and truck the remaining 125,000 cubic yards to Manning Pit (or other pit in Irwindale) via Sycamore Avenue gate (shorter trip to freeway, far less neighborhood disturbance). This plan is feasible and addresses many of the community concerns while still achieving the DPW’s main goal of removing 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from Santa Anita Reservoir.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- SIGN THE PETITION!
- Send an Email to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write a letter to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at 500 West Temple Street, Room 869, Los Angeles, CA 90012
- Call Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich at (213) 974-5555
Project Documents: CEQA Initial Study (5/11/07), Final EIR (5/09), EIR Technical Appendices (5/09), EIR Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations (5/09), EIR Notice of Determination (06/10/09)
Blog Posts: L.A. Creek Freak (12/4/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/6/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/12/10), L.A. Creek Freak (12/14/10), Weeding Wild Suburbia (12/19/10) LA Vitamin Report (1/5/11), Chance of Rain (1/6/11)
Media Coverage: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (11/21/10), Pasadena Star News (11/21/10), Los Angeles Times (12/4/10), Beverly Hills Courier (12/4/10), Arcadia Patch (12/29/10), Monrovia Patch (12/29/10), Sierra Madre Patch (12/30/10), San Gabriel Valley Tribune (1/3/11), Pasadena Star News (1/3/11), Pasadena Star News (1/4/11), Pasadena Star News (1/4/11), Arcadia Weekly (1/5/11)