The Silver Strand News is grateful to Bill Boyd, Marilee Karlsen, Nora Nicosia, Beth Holden-Garland, Lynne Shapiro, Kris Ellenberg, Beth Holden-Garland, Cassie Hermiston-Boyd and Jon Nahhas for their contributions to this report.
October 22, 2014. As estimated 70 people, including many Silver Strand residents, attended a City of Los Angeles’ “Community Briefing” at Burton Chace Park on October on the City’s proposal to route an auxiliary sewer line across the Grand Canal, down via Marina to Playa del Rey and terminating at the Hyperion Sewer Plant. No doubt more people would have attended if notice of the meeting had been sent out in a timely manner to all City and County residents living on on both sides of Via Marina, i.e. those who will be most directly impacted by the project. This was the first major briefing held for these residents. The City had made three earlier and very brief presentations to the Marina del Rey Lessees Association, the Westchester Chamber of Commerce and the Venice Neighborhood Council.
While everyone agrees that the auxiliary pipe is needed, the route has been a subject of controversy for several years. The other viable alternatives to the Via Marina route were:
1) along Pacific Avenue
2) on the beach on the Venice Peninsula beside the existing pipe line. Pacific Avenue was deemed too narrow given the scope of the construction:
The concerns about the beach route, where the main sewer pipe is currently located, were 1) that the new relief line should be separated from the old line in order for it to function in the event of an earthquake/tsunami and 2) Putting a new line on the beach would disturb the least tern nesting site. Members of the public said that in terms of a major earthquake, the impact on the line, whether it is on the beach or a few hundred yards east on Via Marina, seems academic. It was also pointed out that the beach route is the shortest and least expensive method of putting in the new sewer line and also that construction could take place during the period when the least tern is not nesting. Compared to the Via Marina route, the beach route would be the least expensive route and have the least impact in terms of numbers of affected residents.
The presentation given by the City dealt mainly with the importance of going ahead with the sewer line. Very little time (10%) was spent talking about the impact of construction on residents. Instead of allowing the audience, as a body, to address questions, attendees were directed to disperse and talk to various representatives, one-on-one style, stationed at tables around the room. Nora Nicosia described the meeting as being very tightly controlled and designed to dissipate residents’ extremely negative feelings about the project. A “Town Meeting” format, with City representatives seated on the dais, would have produced a more satisfactory and meaningful debate between the public and the City, something the latter appeared to go out its way to avoid.
The project will include 11 shafts 25′ in diameter and 40-50′ in depth. Three of the shafts will be on Marquesas Way between the Venice Pumping Plant and Via Marina. Micro-tunneling will be used for the majority of the route. Only the last 1000 feet, in Playa del Rey, will involve open trenching. If the necessary permits are granted, the work is scheduled to begin in early 2016. Construction on Marquesas Way and Via Marina is expected to last for 20 months. The entire construction period will be three years.
Following the October 22 meeting, the City appeared at a Small Craft and Harbor Commission Meeting and gave another presentation It was obvious that both the public and the Commissioners were not happy about the project (the County went to court with the City over the proposed route, but lost).
1) Damage to the coral trees at the Silver Strand Triangle and in the median strip on Via Marina. The City has said that only 5 trees at the parking lot at the southern end of Via Marina will be removed. However, the boring shafts are 25 feet in diameter and Coral trees have wide spreading roots, so there is no guarantee that they will not be affected. These are mature trees and due to their age drought tolerant.
2) During the 20 month period construction on Marquesas Way and Via Marina, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction. This will exacerbate the already existing traffic congestion on Via Marina, making it difficult for residents on either side of Via Marina to enter and exit. It will also impact access by emergency services. In addition, if the two proposed Marriott Hotels on Via Marina are eventually approved by the County, their construction will coincide with the sewer line work creating an untenable traffic situation on Via Marina.
3) The boring process and vibration from same. As Jon Nahas, of The Boaters Coalition has pointed out, the route along Via Marina is sited on landfill, subject to liquefaction in an earthquake and also lies along many abandoned oil and gas wells. The capping of the wells began in the 1940s and continued into the 1980s. However, the capping standards in those days were not as stringent as they are today. The dangers of boring in the vicinity of these wells must be considered. There are also concerns about de-watering and on-site toxic waste storage and its effect on residents.
4) Jon Nahhas also asked that City furnish him and the public with the Court documents relating to the suit between the City and the County.
5) The working hours proposed by the City will impose an intolerable burden on residents. The City and the County are still negotiating this and other issues.
The project is currently in the permitting phase and needs final approval from the County, the Los Angeles City Council and the California Coastal Commission. You can review documents about the sewer line here:
Since this City of Los Angeles is still in the permitting process, now is the time to express you opinion and concerns about it. When you do, remember that this is City of Los Angeles proposal, not a Los Angeles County proposal. The County was vehemently opposed to the Via Marina route, but lost in court. Here is a list of whom to contact:
City of Los Angeles:
The Honorable Mike Bonin, City of Los Angeles Council District 11 :email: <email@example.com> (213)473-7011.
Debbie Dyner Harris, District Director, Council District 11: email <firstname.lastname@example.org> (310) 575-8461.
[Mike Bonin represents residents living on the west side of Via Marina south of Marquesas Way and also the residents of Venice Peninsula. Despite the Marina del Rey zip code, both of these areas are under the City of Los Angeles jurisdiction.]
Dr. Jan Green Rebstock, Environmental Supervisor I, City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Engineering: email: <Jan.Green.Rebstock@lacity.org> (213) 485 5761.
To contact the entire City Council see:http://lacity.org/government/ElectedOfficialOffices/CityCouncil/CouncilDirectory/index.htm
Los Angeles County:
The Honorable Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Supervisor : email: <email@example.com> Phone number of her assistant (213-974-3333
[Sheila Kuehl, Third District, represents residents of the east side of Via Marina, south of Marquesas Way, along with residents on the west side of Via Marina and the Venice Peninsula, all of which are part of the Third District of Los Angeles County.]
To contact all members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors see:http://bos.co.la.ca.us/