Following a phone-call query from The Silver Strand News made last Friday to Tonya Durell, Principal Public Relations Representative for the City of Los Angeles, she clarified the protocol for the meeting the proposed Via Marina sewer line scheduled for October 22 at the Burton Chace Park community room at 6pm. She said that this will not be a formal hearing. Instead officials from the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County connected with the project will be present to provide an “update” on the project and to answer questions from residents on a “one-on-one” basis.
Pros: Unlike a standard formal hearing, you will be able to ask questions.
Cons: Unlike a formal hearing, it is unclear whether the event will be recorded and minutes taken. In a formal hearing, all statements from the floor and officials on the daïs are included in the minutes of the meeting and entered into the public record. In the protocol for this kind of meeting, i.e. a “briefing,” it is likely that comments will be taken informally by officials and summarized in a general report.
In any event, it’s important that you prepare your questions prior to the meeting on all aspects of the project, currently estimated to be three years long. Good questions would include removal or mature trees and/or possible lethal damage done their root system by micro-tunneling, de-watering, noise from the micro-tunneling, the proposed six-day week and work hours, emergency services access to our community, hazards (we are in an earthquake/tsunami evacuation zone), on-site toxic waste storage, traffic (people who normally travel on Via Marina will likely short-cut through Via Dolce and Via Donte due to lane closures caused by the project), the presence of abandoned oil and gas wells (methane gas), and soil conditions (much of the area around Via Marina is landfill and subject to liquefaction).
Ms. Durrell also promised to send me documents on the “updated” plan for the sewer line which have yet to be put on-line. The reports that I have made on the project in previous posts on the project were based on on-line documents which I was referred to by Danielle Sevilla, a colleague of Ms. Durell, in an email she sent me on October 10, 2014, asking that I notify readers about the meeting. As soon as I receive the promised documents from Ms Durrell, I will post them.
According to the County, which lost it’s case protesting the Via Marina route for the sewer line, construction is scheduled to start in early 2016 and not November of 2015 as the City says. The project is still in the permitting phase and will need to be approved not only by the Los Angeles City Council, but by the California Coastal Commission.