News Briefs

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State water board begins review of La Paz appeal

The State Water Resources Control Board on Oct. 7 announced it began reviewing a petition submitted by Malibu La Paz Ranch, LLC regarding a water quality appeal it filed against the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in August.

In its 10-year effort to build a shopping center on a parcel at the intersection of Civic Center Way and Cross Creek Road, Malibu La Paz Ranch, LLC filed the appeal against the L.A. water board’s decision deeming that its project application was incomplete.

Judy Panneton, research analyst for the SWRCB, wrote in an e-mail last week, “After receiving the regional board’s record and its response, the State Water Board staff will conduct its review of the allegations made by Malibu La Paz Ranch, LLC.”

The SWRCB is accepting written responses to the petition from the public until Nov. 6. The water board is requested to file the administrative record by the same date.

La Paz claims its project application is complete by law under the Permit Streamlining Act, which requires that development project applications be reviewed and their completeness determined within 30 days of submission. The appellant states it submitted the application and all required documentation on Dec. 2, 2008, but did not receive any response from the LARWQCB until after Jan. 2 of this year.

Contrarily, the regional water board has deemed La Paz’s application incomplete. Though the application includes a conceptual Title 22 engineering report, which details the capabilities of its proposed wastewater treatment system, a final engineering report approved by both the LARWQCB and the Department of Public Health must be obtained, the board states.

The SWRCB may dismiss the appeal or order the L.A. water board to reevaluate the application before taking further action. Regardless of its decision, the state board must finish its review within 270 days, although that deadline may be extended, SWRCB Public Information Officer Judy Panneton wrote in an e-mail in August.

The Malibu City Council in November approved the La Paz development plan, which contains an offer to donate 2.3 acres of the parcel and $500,000 to the City of Malibu for “any municipal purpose,” including a wastewater treatment plant.

Water board meeting location changed

The location of the Nov. 5 Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Board meeting, during which the board will vote whether to ban septic systems in certain areas of Malibu, has been moved from Simi Valley to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 700 N. Alameda St., in Los Angeles. The agenda for the meeting has not changed.

“The Malibu Civic Center Area-Proposed amendment to the Basin Plan to prohibit On-Site Wastewater Disposal Systems is still scheduled,” stated the board in a press release. “Although the meeting starts at 9 a.m., the estimated times when each item will be heard is not yet determined.”

More information can be obtained by calling Dionisia Rodriguez at 213.620.6122 or emailing her at drodriguez@waterboards.ca.gov.

City of Project of the Year Award

The City of Malibu announced last week that it is the winner of the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s Project of the Year Award for the extensive changes it made in Cross Creek Road to ease traffic congestion, create a pedestrian-friendly environment and help improve ocean water quality.

The Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association, a professional organization of more than 1,400 public works leaders, will present its 2009 B.E.S.T. (Building Excellence; Shaping Tomorrow) Project of the Year Award to the City of Malibu on Dec. 10. The association said it picks an award winner every year to “recognize public agencies for their outstanding projects and programs and to share the wealth of good ideas.”

The city launched the Cross Creek Road Project in 2005 with $2.4 million from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city and a local developer. The project improves ocean water quality by reconstructing the street’s drainage system to better capture stormwater and urban runoff. The new drainage system sends stormwater and urban runoff to the recently constructed Civic Center Stormwater Treatment Center to be filtered and disinfected.

The city also installed permeable concrete and surfacing in parking lots, crosswalks, bus stops and walkways to allow stormwater to percolate through the surfaces and into the ground below, rather than flowing directly into the ocean. New landscaping of native, drought-resistant plants eliminated the need for pesticides and herbicides, which harm wildlife and degrade water quality.

To ease traffic congestion, the city changed the contour of the street, installed stop signs and improved access for commuter buses. It also installed sidewalks, benches and other amenities to attract pedestrians.

Santa Monica northbound lane of PCH to be closed

Work will begin Monday to stabilize 1.6 miles of the historic Palisades Bluffs in the city of Santa Monica along Pacific Coast Highway.

The California Department of Transportation has issued an encroachment permit to the city allowing the closure of the northbound lane nearest to the bluffs on Pacific Coast Highway between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday until April 30, from the McClure Tunnel and Santa Monica’s northerly city limits (near Entrada Drive).

This work will reduce the risk of future landslides and bluffs erosion. The federally funded project is being managed by the City’s Public Works Department.

More information on the project or road closures can be obtained by calling the Project Hotline at 866.755.7679 or online at www.PCHPartners.org

-Laura Tate, Olivia Damavandi