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Cam Noltemeyer: Is city trying to confuse the public?

Environmentally Speaking

Posted: December 1, 2010 9:37 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

We are now in that brief time between holiday celebrations. What is often called the warm and fuzzy time when everyone is of good cheer, and thoughts are of family and friends.

Unfortunately, it also is the time when the city and county seem to present proposals and decisions that greatly affect the public.

Whether it is that last-minute rush to complete items before the end of the year or deliberate in the hope that people are too busy to notice is anyone’s guess.

We have covered the questions regarding the mythical One Valley, One Vision general plan. By now, I hope readers realize that there isn’t a One Valley, One Vision general plan.

As much as city staff would like citizens to believe they spent 10 years preparing it, it doesn’t exist.

What really exists are two new separate general plans. One for the city, which includes the high-density development, and one for the county which is supposed to reduce density.

Even Paul Brotzman, the city of Santa Clarita‘s director of planning and community development, in his guest commentary in The Signal Oct. 23, refers to “the city’s joint general plan.” 

Somehow he wants us to believe that the county will reduce density, while in the same column he says, “the county is already under pressure from many property owners in the unincorporated area who feel that their future development potential has been unfairly reduced.”

He also said, “property owners do have legal rights to develop their property so ‘just saying no’ to any and all future development is not an option.”

It doesn’t sound like he even believes. Why should we?

Another decision important to the community was the selection of a recycling site or MRF. It’s interesting that two of the three sites presented to the City Council by the site selection committee were the same sites Burrtec had already proposed to the city which weren’t approved.

Robert Newman, director of Public Works for the city of Santa Clarita wrote a Signal guest commentary on Nov. 20. He said, “to correct misinformation written by Cam Noltemeyer” regarding the site review. I couldn’t find in the column where he corrected anything. Unless I am not allowed any opinions.

 He did say that, “It should be noted that the previously considered site on Sierra Highway near Golden Valley Road (purchased by Burrtec) is not on the list of staff-recommended sites.”  Staff-recommended sites! 

But it was on the list that the site selection committee voted on, and it was one of the three sites already presented to the City Council and rejected. If the staff had a “recommended sites list,” was the site selection committee aware of that list?
It appears his so-called corrections bring up more questions about the process than it supposedly clears up.   

When a citizens’ committee is formed, they should be given complete information.

This will be what is called a “dirty” MRF rather than a “clean” one. That should be explained to this community by the City Council when it makes its final selection.

The public has a right to know.

The Signal article from Monday titled, “Land deal builds dream” is very interesting. It is the settlement of two lawsuits that the city lost and had under appeal.

The city settled by paying $25.3 million. That was for eight acres of Golden Valley Road and the right to use the Metrolink parking lot.

Both sites were part of the Whittaker-Bermite property, a contaminated site in the center of the city that is also known as Porta Bella.

The city took both sites by eminent domain. 

If I remember correctly, the appraisal the city had for the eight acres for the Golden Valley Road was approximately $500,000.

The question I have is, where did the city get the $25.3 million, and how was it paid? Don’t the taxpayers have a right to know? How much will it really cost the taxpayers?

There is another very important event for this community on Thursday, Dec. 9 at the Santa Clarita City Hall’s City Council chambers from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The California Department of Public Health will hold a public hearing regarding a drinking water supply permit.

Two water wells were shut because of perchlorate contamination on the Whittaker-Bermite site. Because of this, these wells were classified as  “extremely impaired sources.”

CDPH must follow a special permitting process before this water may be served to the public.

Please attend, it is your water and your health.

Don’t be confused, be informed.

Cam Noltemeyer is a Santa Clarita resident and member of Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. “Environmentally Speaking” appears Thursdays and rotates among local environmentalists.


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