Push for Forest Lawn line

January 14, 2006|By By Mark R. Madler

Rancho District residents urge Los Angeles officials to keep proposed sewer project out of the city.LOS ANGELES -- Residents from Burbank's Rancho District came out in force Thursday night to implore Los Angeles city officials not to run a proposed sewer project through their neighborhood.

Of particular concern to the residents, who gathered in an auditorium at the Los Angeles Zoo, was how the proposed project -- which includes a treatment facility that would vent air from the sewer pipe -- would harm the area known as the polliwog, where homeowners like to come with their horses and dogs for exercise.

"An air treatment facility is something that is made from industrial-style concrete surrounded by a chain link fence and would bring urban blight to suburban bliss," Rancho resident Gail Just said.


Although the polliwog is not in Burbank, and is in fact a part of Griffith Park and within Los Angeles boundaries, it was described by Rancho residents as "a focal point" and "a treasured natural park."

"In a neighborhood that already suffers from noise from the [Ventura] freeway, now you are asking us to put up with a polliwog with a belching station," Reese Place resident Judy Priebe said.

About 70 people attended the last of four public hearings the Los Angeles Department of Public Works held to take comment on a draft environmental report for a project to build new sewer lines and expand capacity at wastewater treatment plants to address future capacity needs.

The Burbank Glendale Interceptor Sewer portion of the project includes two alignments, one on the south side of Los Angeles River along Forest Lawn Drive, which Burbank officials prefer because it is outside city limits; and a northern alignment that would cut through a portion of Burbank and include vertical shafts near Riverside Drive and Bob Hope Drive and Valley Heart Drive and Reese Place.

Burbank residents who spoke favored the alignment on the other side of the Los Angeles River.

"I think the residents in Forest Lawn [Hollywood Hills Memorial Park] would object less to the sewer line in their neighborhood than we will to it being in ours," 20-year Rancho resident James Franken said.

In an overview of the environmental impact report, Louis Utsumi, of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, explained that among the expected impacts from the project were surface settlement from the tunneling to install the sewer lines and loss of recreational areas.

"There could still be odor in close proximity to the air treatment facilities," Utsumi added.

Burbank Mayor Jef Vander Borght and sanitation engineer Rodney Anderson presented the city's stance on the project. "There's no question the southern alignment would be the best alternative," Vander Borght said. "That alignment doesn't include any air treatment facilities and we support that. Even being a half-mile away could still generate a negative impact."

Vander Borght's comments drew loud applause from those in the audience.

Residents have until Feb. 27 to submit written comments on the project's environmental review.

The draft environmental review is available at the Burbank Central Library, 110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.; the Buena Vista branch library, 300 N. Buena Vista St.; the Northwest branch library, 3323 W. Victory Blvd.; the Burbank Public Works Department, 333 E. Olive Ave.; and online at

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