New sewer district goes to a vote

After years of debate about the need for sewer connections and what type of sewer systems to select for the remaining, unserved portions of La Cañada Flintridge, property owners south of Foothill Boulevard in proposed sewer districts 5, 6E, and 6J will be asked to cast their ballots by Oct. 5 to move forward with design and construction of an anticipated $39.9 million low-pressure sewer system project.

Additional maintenance and operation charges also would be assessed the homeowners on a “forever” basis, said Edward Hitti, director of public works for the city of La Cañada Flintridge. Those charges are expected to be between $300 and $500 per year, based on property lot size.

Those charges would be to replace the system grinder, as well as for other repairs and routine maintenance, Hitti said, adding, “Operations and maintenance is over and above construction costs, in much the same way as a person pays to maintain their septic system. That cost goes on forever.”

The upcoming sewer system election comes following a unanimous vote of the City Council Monday night to adopt resolutions to formally initiate formation of the combined sewer district area.

The council this week approved three resolutions concerning the sewer district: to set boundaries for the proposed district to proceed; to initiate the mail in ballot process and send out the assessment ballots; and to schedule the public hearings, community workshops and a deadline to receive those completed ballots.

At the conclusion of the public hearing at the Oct. 5 City Council meeting, residents of those areas will have a last opportunity to cast their ballot as to if they agree to pay for the design and construction of sewers for that district — at a cost to residents of between about $40,000 to nearly $73,000, based on property lot size.

A simple majority of votes cast will decide the election.

“I do want to emphasize though, you’ve got to vote,” Mayor Laura Olhasso said at Monday’s council meeting. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

In setting the district boundaries, the districts would retain individual Sewer Project Area (SPA) numbers; however, the process will move forward together, as if it is one district.

There are 680 homes in SPA No. 5, 15 homes in SPA No. 6E, and 27 homes in SPA No. 6J. Following previous ballot submittal from proposed districts 4,5 and 6, residents of district No. 5 showed majority indications they would like to connect to an LPS system.

Although the other two proposed districts were not in favor of that type of sewer system for their homes, portions of district No. 6 (now known as 6E and 6J) asked to be added to district No. 5 for potential design, construction and sewer hookups.

The ballots are set to go out in the mail on Aug. 21 to all residents of those areas. Community informational, question and answer workshops are scheduled for the evening of Thursday, Sept. 17 and Saturday morning, Sept. 19 at Lanterman Auditorium, 4491 Cornishon Ave. More information on those meetings will be available on the city’s website:, in documents provided at City Hall, as well as on the mailed ballot information.

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