Public Works debate: Who needs to address SMC antenna tower?

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During the short Public Works Commission meeting on June 22, commissioners addressed upcoming public safety projects, speeding concerns, and continued to raise the question of who’s responsible for the antenna tower? Photo by Julie Ellerton.

During the short Public Works Commission meeting on June 22, commissioners addressed upcoming public safety projects, speeding concerns, and continued to raise the question of who’s responsible for the antenna tower?

In the last Public Works meeting on May 25, commissioners voted to agendize the tower for discussion; however, when Chair Wade Major tried to address the item, Public Works Director Rob DuBoux interrupted Major and said they are not able to discuss it during the meeting.

“This is getting too much into the discussion kind of situation,” DuBoux said. “If there’s something that you want us to follow up on, we can.”

Major quickly answered with, “the question from last time was whether this is part of our work, who’s responsible for this because there was some real, real confusion over this,” Major said. “I wanted us to communicate so that our commissions don’t start stepping on each other.”

The Emergency Communications Facilities tower was erected at the Santa Monica College campus and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department substation in the Civic Center. According to the city’s website, since the tower is adjacent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helipad, it was built in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, which require lights and colors. 

DuBoux said if it is a regulation for development, it goes to planning. 

“This type of development or information is not on the work plan or is not on your assignments to actually discuss,” DuBoux said. “Things and comments related to this type of development are a planning issue and not a public works issue.” 

Major ended his commission report by saying, that based on what he has been hearing, “this fell through the cracks.” 

For public comment, resident Terry Davis said since there is no crosswalk at the bus stop near Moonshadows Restaurant near Big Rock Drive, there has been an increase in fatalities.

“A light at a bus stop when there is no sidewalk, no homes, the only way people can access that bus stop is by crossing four lanes of Pacific Coast Highway and we all know how fast people drive on PCH,” Davis said. “I know it’s in the works to be performed, but I just hope that it can be prioritized for safety reasons.” 

Commissioner Jo Drummond asked DuBoux for an update for the pedestrian improvement projects and DuBoux said they will be providing updates on the project this coming fiscal year. 

“There’s quite a few steps we have to get that going and right now we’re working on our staff to kind of make sure we have proper resources to apply to it,” DuBoux said. “Right now it’s close to having some availability, but we’re probably a few months away.”

Public Works Superintendent Arthur Aladjadjian presented the draft for the pavement management plan for the fiscal year 2022-23 major maintenance, mainly on Morning View Drive and some of the recommendations include crack ceilings, slurry seal with pavement repairs and 2-inch asphalt overlay with pavement repairs. 

The Pavement Management Plan (PMP) is a tool used by Public Works to plan for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. PMP uses a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) to evaluate the condition of a roadway. The pavement plan has $900,000 allocated and budgeted $620,000 over the next four years. 

With no new items on the agenda and just two project updates, the meeting ended shorter than usual. The next Public Works Commission meeting is scheduled for July 27.