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With Foothill dip suit pending, LCF council approves $100K in emergency repairs

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A vehicle passes a dip on the 1700 block of Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada. On Tuesday, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council approved up to $100,000 in emergency repairs to safeguard the roadway before seasonal rain degrades conditions there.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

With a lawsuit between the city of La Cañada Flintridge and water retailer Foothill Municipal Water District over a noticeable subsidence on Foothill Boulevard still pending, the LCF City Council approved Tuesday the expenditure of up to $100,000 in emergency repairs.

Drivers heading eastbound on Foothill near Lutheran Church in the Foothills have had to navigate a pronounced dip in the road since a pressurized water pipe operated by the water district split on April 21, sending water up into the street.

The city accused FMWD of negligence in its response to and repair of the pipe in an Aug. 20 lawsuit. Two days later, the water retailer filed a claim against the city alleging that poor soil compaction compromised the integrity of the pipe, causing it to break. That claim was denied by the city.

While the two parties continue to determine responsibility, the City Council agreed Tuesday to fund a series of stop-gap measures to be implemented before seasonal rains compound the subsidence, creating unsafe conditions.

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An emergency contract will allow for the addition of asphalt to support water drainage away from the road to a nearby catch basin. Cracks along Foothill’s westbound lane will be sealed to prevent runoff from getting under the pavement and into the soil below, according to Public Works Director Pat DeChellis.

“Right now, we have a health and safety issue that will magnify itself if we do get some rain,” DeChellis said.

Tuesday’s 4-0 vote (Councilwoman Terry Walker was absent) authorizes an exemption from a portion of the city’s public contract code that stipulates public works projects costing more than $5,000 be subject to a competitive bidding process. It allows for the immediate selection of a contractor to perform the work.

DeChellis said bids for the work will be due Oct. 10, with the award of a contract anticipated for Oct. 15.

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“Bottom line is we’re getting this done on a little bit of an expedited basis,” he said.

Also Tuesday, council members:

• Heard a complaint from Chevy Chase homeowner Edward Antonini about what he claims is a poorly kept property on the 4300 block of his street. Antonini said he’s contacted the city’s code enforcement officer several times, yet problems persist. Community Development Director Susan Koleda said she was working with code enforcement to see if the city’s prosecutor needed to be involved in the matter.

• Extended an urgency ordinance approved on Aug. 27 which instituted a 45-day moratorium on the installation or expansion of electronic message signs by city business owners. The 10-month, 15-day extension gives the city time to adopt a new zoning code that includes regulations of such signs.

• Requested that the council hear in a future meeting the feasibility of the city’s installing automatic license plate reader (ALPR) cameras at key locations in town near the Foothill (210) Freeway as a law-enforcement tool against burglaries and other crimes.

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