Strict Limits on Lopez Canyon Landfill Expansion Sought : Waste disposal: Nearby residents want any decision delayed until after air quality hearings. And they want the dump permanently closed in 1995.


Northeast San Fernando Valley residents and their elected leaders urged Los Angeles planning officials Tuesday to tightly limit expansion of the city-operated Lopez Canyon Landfill and close it for good in 1995.

Councilman Ernani Bernardi and other speakers also asked the Los Angeles Planning Commission to delay any decision on an application to expand the dump until a regional air quality board concludes hearings into gas emissions at the dump.

The hearing at the Airtel Plaza Hotel in Van Nuys was scheduled so that planning commissioners could hear public comment about the city Bureau of Sanitation's application to expand dumping operations into unused parts of the landfill in Lake View Terrace. The expansion plan calls for increasing the number of trucks allowed to dump at the landfill from 400 to 650 a day, raising the height of the dump by 70 feet and allowing the landfill to stay open until 2005.

A planning staff report to the commission released earlier this month recommended that the expansion be approved but with limitations. Planning official Michael F. Davies suggested that the required permit be approved only for five years so that the case can be reviewed in 1995 "in the context of the projected opening of Elsmere Canyon," a proposed dump in the Santa Clarita Valley that city and county officials say could handle most Los Angeles County trash for decades to come.

Davies also said he sees "no compelling reason" to increase height limits at the dump.

Delwin A. Biagi, sanitation bureau director, said Tuesday that he agrees with most of the staff recommendations because "the project we originally intended has substantially changed" because of the Elsmere Canyon agreement between city and county officials, the city's planning recycling program and other factors.

Bernardi said he agrees with Rogers' recommendations but opposes allowing an increase in the number of trucks at the landfill. "There is no justification for increasing the maximum daily inflow above the current level," he said.

"I personally think the dump should be closed in 1992," Bernardi said. But he said he wants to make sure it closes forever in 1995.

Lewis Snow, president of the Lake View Terrace Home Owners Assn., said the bureau should be told, "You get five more years and that's that."

He said truck sizes as well as trips should be limited. "The city's now sending semis in there."

Snow and other residents said the city should postpone a decision until the conclusion--expected next month--of hearings being conducted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District into excess methane gas emissions at the dump. The air district "might impose some conditions of their own" that would affect the city's plans, Snow said.

The Planning Commission is expected to make a decision on the application Sept. 26. About 50 people attended Tuesday's hearing, leading several community members to charge that residents who live near the dump were not notified.

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