Only a handful of the original “Mayan steps” remain in Azusa as Vulcan Materials Company officials said plans to hit an August deadline for restoring the eastern hillside of the rock quarry remain on track, even as neighboring Duarte residents say the quarry is emitting harmful levels of dust. The aggregate mining company must finish restoring the first phase of the quarry by Aug. 19, which includes converting the 30- to 50-foot-high conventional benches, known as the Mayan steps, to 1- to 2-foot microbenches that contour with the natural hillside. Mining preparation also has started on the quarry’s western side, as crews remove a top layer of dirt, plants and rocks in order to access more than 100 million tons of granite aggregate. It is estimated that mining should begin as soon as 2018.
Work at the quarry is monitored, as biologists regularly visit the site to check the reseeding process and officials from South Coast Air Quality Management District inspect the quarry for dust and air pollution. Vulcan’s plan will shift its mining operations from 80 acres on the eastern end of the 270-acre property to 80 acres on its western end, under a permit through 2038 to mine 190 acres of its land. The plan also includes tax revenues for Azusa, which Vulcan officials said have totaled more than $3 million paid to the city so far. The company’s agreement with Azusa also requires that microbenches be seeded with drought-tolerant and native plants. Since work started at the site in October 2013, Vulcan officials said 17 blasts have been used on the mountain. The company, which works with contractor Ames Construction, uses heavy-duty dozers and haul trucks to remove materials and uses blasts as a last resort. Blasting only occurs between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and never at night or on weekends. Legal challenges delayed work at the quarry for years, as Duarte officials and local activists unsuccessfully fought to stop the mining. Since then, Vulcan officials have opened a parking lot and access trail to the Fish Canyon Falls trailhead.
After spending millions of dollars to increase traffic safety but having no way to track how much money the city was getting in return from its red-light traffic tickets, Baldwin Park will let its red-light camera contract end. The city has contracted with Redflex Traffic Systems since 2006 to operate nine red-light cameras at six intersections. The contract was approved by the council in 2011 and costs about $360,000 annually. The major point of contention is a monthly report that Redflex promised the city detailing issued citations and how much was paid for each ticket. The company says it offers a cost-neutral system and generates more revenue with the traffic tickets than the city pays for the cameras, but the city has not been able to verify that. The city plans to use the approximately $30,000 it was paying Redflex monthly toward extra traffic patrols throughout the city, Redflex will have to remove the cameras at their own cost, according to the contract.
Pomona College will continue to serve as the venue for the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
Claremont agreed to alter the show, offering close proximity fireworks to comply with state water restrictions. The fireworks show has been held at Pomona College’s Strehle Track for the last decade and before that alternated between sites at Claremont McKenna College and the current location. The ongoing drought almost threatened this year’s show when Claremont declared a Level 2 water supply shortage. The declaration included several water-saving measures such as the cancellation of the fireworks show at Pomona College because of the water needed to irrigate the ember fallout zone.
By altering the show, the fireworks can only be seen from 75 feet to 200 feet high and will most likely not be as visible to anyone outside the venue. While the venue seats 6,000 people it has become the custom for people to gather outside to watch the show. The concert and fireworks show will from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Strehle Track. Tickets for the fireworks show are $8 pre-sale, $10 at the gate. Children 3 and under are free
A new proposal to build 108 single family homes on the site of a former Covina school is already receiving backlash from residents who say the project is too dense and would further congest traffic in the area. In March, One Charter Oak, LLC submitted initial plans to the city’s Planning Division to redevelop the 8.5 acre Banna Elementary School site into a community of 54 two-story single family homes and 54 three-story single family homes. In mid-May the developer The average lot is about 3,600 square feet with about 1,500 square feet of livable interior space. Each house will come with a two-car garage. The project site, which would include a park and public playground, is bounded by Cypress Street to the north, Colver Place to the south, Kidder Avenue to the east and Banna Avenue to the west. It is just south of Charter Oak High School and next to the San Bernardino Metrolink line. The Los Angeles County Fire Department station is across the street from the northeast corner of the site. Initial drawings of the site show two entry points into the housing project, one of which is on Cypress across from the fire station.
A small but spirited group of motorsport enthusiasts turned out for an Irwindale City Council meeting to petition officials to overturn a decision to demolish the Irwindale Speedway and build a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall in its place. As one of the last operating race tracks in Los Angeles County, racing fans nationwide were upset when news of the speedways closoure was announced in March. In response, an on-line petition entitled Save the Irwindale Speedway was launched. Since its inception, the movement has been gaining momentum. It has nearly 7,000 signatures as of late May 2015. About a dozen people from throughout the Southland attended a May City Council meeting to voice their support for the Speedway and their desire not to see it close. Six people addressed the council during public comment on the issue. Several said the closure of the track — the only one in Los Angeles County with a drag strip — would lead to an increase in dangerous and illegal street racing.
Speedway supporters pointed out that the council has voted to allow a proposed retail project to move forward. The council’s decision dates back to March 25, when officials unanimously approved a development agreement with Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC for the 63-acre side. The Speedway initially opened in 1999 but when the real estate investment company purchased the property for $22 million in September 2013, the owner extended the lease with the Irwindale Event Center on a year-by-year basis. As part of the agreement with the city, Irwindale Outlet Partners has allowed Speedway operations to continue until development begins, which may be as soon as 2016, depending on if the landlord can secure 65 percent of its tenants. The outlet mall is expected to add over 5,000 jobs and generate $2.6 million in sales tax revenue annually.
This spring, the La Verne Public Works Department has used goats and sheep to clear weeds for the first time in a move toward more ecologically friendly weed abatement in open space where sparks from machinery could start fires. Within two weeks, 150 goats and 30 sheep cleared weeds and dry brush from nearly 9 acres of undeveloped land off Golden Hills Drive and Monterey Avenue. The City of La Verne Public Works Department cited the benefits of using the goats; there is less disturbance to the natural area and the wildlife — squirrels, birds, snakes, mice — living there as well as less dust and noise, there is also less chance of combustion in the dry areas. Officials noted that the California drought has made the use of animals even more valuable, because the super-dry weeds, grass and tree limbs pose a greater fire hazard if even small sparks from a machine or plow touch them.
Ontario officials say that despite the California Public Utilities Commission’s decision to deny their request to put the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project lines underground in this city, they will continue to oppose the decision and find alternatives. After seeing the success of Chino Hills in getting the PUC to underground the lines in that city, residents organized and formed “Save Archibald Ranch,” recruiting the city to help them halt construction of the lines and put them underground. On Oct. 31, the city filed a request for modification and a stay on the construction of the TRTP, a 250-mile sustainable energy project that aims to bring wind energy from Central California to the Los Angeles area. On March 6, a PUC administrative law judge issued a recommendation for denial. On May 7, the PUC voted unanimously to deny the city’s petition, filing a written decision May 15. Officials will continue to oppose the decision.
The Lanterman Developmental Center site is a step closer to becoming part of Cal Poly Pomona.
Members of the California State University board of trustees authorized Chancellor Timothy P. White to negotiate with the state the planned transfer of the center, which closed Dec. 31. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration said in the 2015-16 Governor’s Budget Summary earlier this year that the Lanterman would be transferred to the university with some conditions. The transfer is contingent on CSU acknowledging that state funds will not be specifically appropriated for the operation, maintenance or development of this property; and the University accommodating the needs of other state departments for a portion of the land in the area. Because no additional funding will come to Cal Poly, the university will rely on public-private partnerships to generate revenue to operate the property. Past partnerships have resulted in the development of Innovation Village, a 65-acre research and business park on land owned by the university just southeast of the campus.
Through public-private partnerships the university has brought in large organizations such as Southern California Edison and the American Red Cross, along with smaller companies that are committed to providing learning opportunities to Cal Poly students. Such agencies and companies add about $700 million annually to the local economy, according to the university. The Lanterman Developmental Center closed after more than eight decades as a home for people with developmental disabilities. The closure of the 300-acre center followed a nearly five-year process that resulted in a gradual relocation of residents to specially designed homes across Southern California.
Should the transfer take place, the university would take over the site July 1 and be responsible for its maintenance and security, Acton said. Costs would be picked up through the combined efforts of the university, the Cal State system and the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, she said. Before anything can happen on the property, a historic survey must be taken. The property has more than 100 buildings constructed at different periods. The land could be used many ways, including academic, workforce housing and the creation of a development like Innovation Village.
The city completed a comprehensive plan that they say will help shape multi-modal transportation in Rancho Cucamonga by identifying ways to connect missing links and gaps in trails and bike paths. The “Circulation Master Plan for Bicyclists and Pedestrians,” aims to improve the infrastructure, outlines priorities for future projects and identifies funding mechanisms. The master plan identified 97 intersections that need to be improved to enhance walking in the city. It also proposes more than 30 miles of trails and more than 110 miles of bicycle facilities. For the past six months, staff from various departments in the city have been working with a consultant to develop a master plan that would address issues with active transportation. The plan suggests staff consider using off-street paths and cycle tracks to enhance bicycling throughout the city.
The City Council has given city staff and Foothill Gold Line Authority officials ideas about areas where a station and parking structure could be located for the electrified light-rail transit system. The San Dimas station is suggested in the area east of San Dimas Avenue, north of Arrow Highway and behind the Puddingstone Shopping Center’s CVS Pharmacy. A multi-storied parking structure would be located nearby on property along Arrow between San Dimas and Walnut avenues, but not involve the municipal maintenance yard on Walnut just north of Arrow. Property owners can conduct business as usual and won’t be approached until funding is secured for constructing the Azusa-Montclair phase. Sales tax funding will be sought in a Los Angeles County ballot measure in November 2016. City department directors said an Arrow Highway station location would be best because it has less of an impact on local motorists and residents, emergency response times for Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and firefighters in Walnut Avenue stations and access to the senior residential complex also on Walnut.
There would also be less restricted traffic movements from the west side of Walnut to the east, south and north. Possible alternatives for the intersection of Bonita and Cataract avenues, which is part of a shared rail corridor from Irwindale east to San Dimas, were also addressed in the study session.
City staff has proposed four alternatives: One leaves the cumbersome intersection with one freight rail line and two light-rail lines unchanged; another realigns it 80 feet to the south; a third shifts it 200 feet south and one keeps the freight line at street level, puts the two rail lines on a bridge and reduces roadway width.
A year and half since a pilot program launched joining Upland and Montclair fire departments command staff, officials in both cities have agreed to slight amendments to the agreement. The program started in 2014 and has resulted in combined command staff, including Upland Fire Chief Rick Mayhew, and dropping service boundary lines between the two cities to allow the closest engine to an emergency to respond to incidents in either city. Montclair and Upland have agreed to hire an emergency services coordinator officer, reassign responsibilities between departments and adjust the pay distribution costs for the fire chief. The cities had agreed to split compensation costs for Mayhew, who serves as fire chief for both departments, and a fire marshal, with Upland paying 67 percent and Montclair paying 33 percent. As part of the amendment approved May 12, Upland will now pay 60 percent and Montclair’s share will increase to 40 percent. Each city will continue to handle its firefighters, including workers’ compensation, liability, salary and benefits, and evaluations as well as disciplinary action.
KB Homes nnounced the grand opening of Cadanera in West Covina, a private, gated community where homebuyers have the opportunity to own a new WaterSense® labeled home. The commuter-friendly community is situated near I-10 and Metrolink stations, providing KB homeowners at Cadanera convenient access to major employment centers, entertainment venues and cultural attractions throughout Los Angeles County. The single-family, two-story detached homes available at Cadanera range in size between 1,855 and 2,283 square feet, and can be built with up to four bedrooms and three baths. Two of these home designs offer full bedrooms with attached baths on the first floor. Homes are riced from the mid-$600,000s. Cadanera has been designed to be some of the most energy-efficient available. Resource-conserving features such as programmable thermostats, ENERGY STAR® certified appliances, and smart USB outlets are all included as standard at Cadanera. The units are certified as WaterSense labeled new homes by meeting the EPA’s rigorous water efficiency and performance standards. According to the EPA, a new home that earns the WaterSense label can save a family of four up to 50,000 gallons of water, enough to fill five residential swimming pools, and $600 in utility bills each year compared to a typical resale home.