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Landfill Expansion Plan Angers Lake View Terrace Homeowners

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Lake View Terrace homeowners and Los Angeles City Councilman Ernani Bernardi have renewed their opposition to expansion of the Lopez Canyon Landfill.

At a meeting Monday night, Bernardi said the northeast San Fernando Valley “is not going to be the sole dumping ground for the city of Los Angeles.”

Bernardi, whose district includes Lake View Terrace, made the comments during the meeting at which a city sanitation official explained the plan to about 150 residents.

The landfill, the only dump owned and operated by the city, daily receives 4,000 of the city’s 6,000 tons of household garbage. The remainder is sent to private landfills, city sanitation officials said.

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With Lopez expected to reach capacity in the early 1990s, city officials unveiled a plan last August that would double trash intake at the dump and extend its life to the year 2005. The $16-million plan calls for extensive excavation and the bulldozing of a ridge.

The plan has enraged Lake View Terrace residents, especially those living in the rural Lopez Canyon area who were promised that the dump would close in 1992.

“The people of Lake View Terrace have been lied to,” said Rob Zapple, a leader of the Kagel Canyon Civic Assn.

One man said that increasing the size of the dump would block sunshine on his property. Another woman complained that truck noise already “sounds like a train going through my back yard” and additional traffic would worsen the problem.

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Several neighbors said trucks and bulldozers begin work at the landfill at 5 a.m., an hour before they are legally allowed to start. Bernardi said he will investigate the claim.

City sanitation official Mal Toy said the city is negotiating to purchase 180 acres of privately owned land on the west and south sides of the landfill to build an access road and provide a buffer zone from residential neighborhoods.

He said the land “is for maintenance purposes only and will not be used for the placement of additional trash.” If the space were later needed for dumping, he said, “a public review process would be started.”

Several residents in the crowd were suspicious of the acquisition plan, saying the land would eventually be used for additional landfill space.

No work to expand the landfill can begin until the City Council and Mayor Tom Bradley appropriate the $16 million. An environmental impact report is due Nov. 18, Toy said.

Lake View Terrace residents have begun circulating petitions to influence city officials to stop the expansion.

“I know it’s going to be an extremely uphill battle,” Zapple said. If the plan is approved, he said, there will be “a mass exodus” from the area. “I don’t think people are going to live next to poison.”

Bernardi urged residents to contact other city councilmen to oppose the plan.

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“There happen to be 14 other council members and the mayor,” Bernardi said. “That’s where the problem is.”


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