La Cañada residents protest drain plan

La Cañada Flintridge plans to repair storm drains in three areas of the city, but residents in one neighborhood believe the project is costly and excessive.

The $200,000 project is designed to address water runoff and drainage issues. At Fairmount Avenue and Palm Drive, one of the project's locations, water can overflow onto the east side of the intersection quickly.

Officials plan to install underground storm drain pipes, catch basins and a parkway outlet drain. But neighbors seek an alternative solution.

Ellen Multari, a La Cañada school board member, told the City Council on Monday that the project is misguided and a waste of money. Instead, she proposed that crews install a concrete cross gutter, which she said would save the city thousands of dollars.

She also complained that the city did not seek advice from neighbors.

"The city would benefit greatly from the input of area residents," she said, "who have observed this problem over the past four years."

The water runoff issue on Fairmount and Palm developed after the area was repaved in 2009.

Paul Kirste, who lives on Fairmount, echoed Multari's comments that the issue does not require a costly solution.

"We don't have some big flooding problem," he said. "What we have is a minor water-channel problem. A simple problem with a simple solution."

But city officials pushed forward with the public works proposal, calling it the best way to capture water before it reaches the intersection.

"I think this the right way to correct it," said Councilman Dave Spence. "I am strongly in favor of the proposal. I understand the neighborhood disruption, but we all have that from time to time."

"We have a staff that we trust," added Mayor Laura Olhasso. "They continue to be flexible and look at other solutions. They are not recommending other solutions."

The drain project also includes improvements at La Cañada Boulevard at Olive Lane and 4265 Beresford Way. A catch basin and new shallow drainage system will be installed at the locations, respectively.

Multari has started a petition on the website In it, she calls for residents to urge the city to delay the project. The petition had nine backers as of Wednesday afternoon.


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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