Operators of the 127-acre Chandler quarry and landfill say they have no plan to construct homes on their property, even though they are seeking permission to start using a fill method that would permit future development of a large portion of the land.
"It's long-term and we don't know what will happen," said John Robertson, vice president of Chandler's Palos Verdes Sand & Gravel Co.
The company, which has operated here for half a century, has applied to Rolling Hills Estates for a change in its landfill permit to allow a compacted-fill method in place of the present system of loose dumping. Compacting is required if buildings are to be put on the land.
As proposed, the fill--largely discarded concrete and asphalt--would be compacted in 75 acres of the quarry pit. Another 25 acres already has been filled by loose dumping and, therefore, could not be built upon.
The 75 acres, combined with other quarry land around the perimeter of the pit, would create 102 acres of buildable land.
The Planning Commission on Monday recommended that the City Council appoint a citizens advisory committee to study long-term consequences of the Chandler request. The recommendation will be on the council agenda Tuesday.
The committee would look at such issues as zoning, open space, traffic, a timetable under which the quarry could be filled and land made available for development, and anticipated demand on utilities and police and fire services.
While saying that Chandler has "nothing in mind" for the quarry once it is filled in 10 to 15 years, Robertson acknowledged that compacting would create prime sites for homes in a land-scarce city.
"We would have land suitable for something other than recreation or a golf course," he said. (The Rolling Hills Country Club now leases some Chandler property.)
As recommended by the commission, the advisory committee would be composed of homeowner representatives in the Chandler area, members of city departments, county Fire and Sheriff's Department officials, Chandler personnel and staff members from the cities of Lomita and Torrance, which border on Chandler property.
The Planning Commission has called for the committee report to be completed by April 1. It said the committee should hold all its meetings in public and notify the presidents of all homeowner associations in the city.
Robertson said the company is studying how compacting would be done and how much it would cost. The city has asked Chandler for more information about the compacting, including its grading and drainage plans for the site.
At Chandler's request, the commission postponed until Jan. 18 consideration of how to control noise and dust from the quarry, which have upset people who live across Palos Verdes Drive East.
The company said it needs more time to figure out how to meet conditions that city officials have said they will impose on the amended landfill permit to satisfy neighbors. These include elimination of all but one truck entrance to the quarry and construction of a landscaped berm along Palos Verdes Drive East.
The firm will not agree to another request by homeowners, that the company's ready-mix concrete plant near the street be removed or relocated to other Chandler property.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit continues to hover over an earlier, ambitious proposal by Cayman Development Co. to build 600 homes on 300 contiguous acres encompassing the quarry and other Chandler property, the adjoining country club and a public park in Torrance.
In a suit filed last May in Los Angeles Superior Court, Cayman asked the court to compel Chandler to honor an oral agreement to sell the bulk of the land needed for the development. Chandler denied that any such agreement existed.
Chandler lawyer John Lyons said the case is awaiting trial, which will not occur "for several years" because of a backlog of civil cases.