More than five years after state officials advised the city to delay residential development near the BKK Corp. landfill, the city has approved a project that will force the state to define precisely how close to the dump development will be allowed.
The council voted 4 to 0 on Monday to change the zoning designation of land near the dump from elementary school/park to single-family residential. Councilwoman Nancy Manners was absent.
UBS Partners, a Westlake Village developer, plans to build 25 single-family homes on a vacant five-acre tract on Woodgate Drive between Adrienne and Francesca drives. The property reverted to UBS after the Rowland Unified School District decided not to build a school there.
Before construction can begin, the developer has to apply to the state Department of Health Services for a border zone designation.
Department spokesman Bob Borzelleri said that after the application is filed, the state will schedule a public hearing to “determine what the appropriate land use should be, due to proximity of dump,” and declare a border zone within which residential construction would be banned.
In 1986, West Covina imposed a moratorium on development within 2,000 feet of the dump while the Department of Health Services assessed possible health hazards.
Borzelleri said officials are “constantly gathering information on (the dump). There are ongoing monitoring and investigations.” State law provides for a ban on housing construction within 2,000 feet of a hazardous-waste area if officials find there is a health danger.
City officials say the state has been dragging its feet since March, 1986, when West Covina asked for a determination on whether there should be a border zone around the dump. City officials add that where a 2,000-foot strip around the disposal area begins and ends has not been decided.
Ronald Sloan of UBS Partners said the company plans to file for a border zone designation because by some estimations the project site falls within the 2,000-foot margin.
“It’s either all in, or just about all out,” said West Covina Planning Director Pat Haley. “If you measure it from BKK’s closure plan boundaries, it’s in. If you measure it from the limits of the disposal area, it’s out.”