After months of silence, a Glendale city official this week conceded that a farfetched proposal to haul dirt by conveyor belt to complete a controversial hillside housing subdivision is just that: farfetched.
"It does not appear to be feasible," said City Engineer Don Campbell, who reviewed proposals from four companies offering to haul dirt by conveyor belt to the Oakmont View development. Campbell said all of the proposals indicated that the project would be costly and time-consuming.
More than a quarter of a million cubic yards of dirt are needed to fill in a six-acre hole and build the final 24 lots in the 197-lot subdivision in the hills above Oakmont Country Club.
The conveyor belt idea was proposed last fall during a public forum held by the Glendale City Council after homeowner groups objected to all other proposals.
The alternate plans included grading nearby hillsides to obtain the dirt or hauling it in by truck up narrow residential streets.
Gregg Development Co. of Glendale had originally planned to obtain the dirt by slicing as much as 70 feet off a prominent mountain ridge. While the ridge in the Verdugo Mountains does not fall within the city's ridgeline protection ordinance, the proposed cut would have been visible from La Crescenta Valley and Verdugo Canyon.
The council unanimously rejected that proposal following public outcry.
Campbell said the city "solicited information" from conveyor belt firms "to see if there is a workable alternative." But he said the submitted proposals "would cost considerably higher than conventional methods." He added that a conveyor system "certainly can be done, but economics play a part in this."
City Manager David Ramsay said he and other city officials met with developers John Gregg and Salvatore Gangi in late November to discuss the conveyor belt proposal.
Ramsay said he has not heard from the developers since. "The ball is back in their court," he said.
Gregg declined to comment on what steps will be taken next.