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LCF City Council bids farewell to retiring Atty. Mark Steres, IDs 3 sound walls for $12M project

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La Cañada Mayor Terry Walker, left, bestows a plaque of recognition to outgoing City Atty. Mark Steres, who will retire at the end of the year after 15 years in the position, Tuesday during a City Council meeting.
(Photo by Sara Cardine)

In their last meeting of the calendar year, a festively attired La Cañada Flintridge City Council bid a fond farewell to City Atty. Mark Steres, who retires at the end of the year after serving 15 years in the position.

The council joined City Manager Mark Alexander and state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) in sharing their appreciation for Steres’ counsel over the years. An attorney for Los Angeles-based firm Aleshire & Wynder, Steres worked with the city in a deputy position before being named city attorney.

In staff comments, Alexander said he and Steres were both appointed to their respective positions in 2003.

“Mark has been a colleague and a friend during that entire time, and a confidant,” he said. “His counsel and his advice to me have been a tremendous support and help. It’s been a great ride for both of us in this partnership — thank you.”

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Steres, in turn, thanked council members and City Hall staff for the privilege of working with them and thanked wife Suzie for her love and support.

“Today feels like an awards show, and I won all the awards,” he said.

“You earned all the awards,” Mayor Terry Walker corrected.

Sound wall locations ID’d

Councilman Greg Brown and Mayor Pro Tem Len Peironi, members of a council subcommittee convened to study and prioritize sound wall locations along the Foothill (210) Freeway, shared their recommendations for three walls to be paid for by the city’s recent acquisition of $12 million in transportation funding.

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Brown said Metro had previously selected four walls without consulting the city on their locations, including one wall partially inside Pasadena city limits. After poring through data related to costs and the number of affected residents in various parts of town, the subcommittee selected three sound walls.

Two border the north and south portions of the 210 Freeway that pass over Hampton Road near Flintridge Preparatory School, an area where hundreds of residents recently petitioned the city for noise abatement. Cost estimates for design and construction for the pair is roughly $8.7 million.

The third is located on the south end of the freeway, from Alta Canyada Road east nearly to La Cañada Boulevard, parallel to Verdugo Boulevard. That estimated cost is nearly $2.8 million. Brown said costs will likely vary, as engineering and environmental studies are considered, especially on the overpass sound walls.

RV parking rules to be revised

Council showed approval for an ordinance that would limit recreational vehicle parking in the city’s public right of way to 14 days per year and stipulate such vehicles park only on a street directly abutting an applicant’s property.

The discussion came after a group of Alminar Avenue residents complained a neighbor was using loopholes in the city’s municipal code to park his RV permanently on their street, which they claimed presented safety hazards to drivers and pedestrians.

The new ordinance would require applicants to make requests online for up to 14 days per vehicle license plate. During that time, RVs would be allowed to park in frontyard setbacks or on city streets fronting the applicant’s home. Applicants would have to be able to prove residency.

“I just want to say thank you,” said resident Jon Burke of the ordinance. “It fixes everything we were looking to get fixed.”

The item will return for a second reading at the council’s Jan. 15 meeting.

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Also Tuesday, council members:

- Introduced an ordinance amending the city’s hours of solicitation, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in residential areas and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in nonresidential and mixed-use areas.

- Heard concerns from La Cañada Unified parents about the potential negative health impacts of the county’s Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project, scheduled to begin in April. City Manager Mark Alexander said he plans to meet with county officials on the matter after the new year and would return with information from that meeting.

- Adopted an ordinance adding a chapter to the city’s municipal code relating to onsite wastewater treatment systems, adopting by reference Los Angeles County ordinance 2018-0037. Through a new replace and repeal ordinance, the council added language recognizing the county’s acceptance of a 2009 agreement outlining certain exceptions to county code when applying the law in La Cañada.

- Requested an update on La Cañada’s emergency preparedness and plan for disaster response and asked to explore holding a community workshop conducted by the city’s new emergency services coordinator, in which new policies and safeguards might be identified.

sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine


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