For the second time, the state Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has refused to extend until July the review period on a work plan to remove toxic substances from the soil beneath a local storage facility that could be torn down to make way for a housing development project.
“DTSC has advised that while it will not extend the comment period as requested by the city, it will do so until May 14th,” according to a city staff report.
Mayor Terry Tornek requested the review period be extended after local residents expressed concerns about the state’s procedure. Tornek’s letter was a follow up letter to demands made by Councilmen Gene Masuda and Victor Gordo.
The DTSC agreed to extend the review period for 20 days after the pair requested a separate three-month extension.
According to the staff report, the city has hired environmental consulting firm Alta Environmental to review the draft removal action work plan (RAW) and provide comments to the DTSC by the May 14 deadline after reviewing the environmental studies of the project site.
The 550-unit project will include eight separate residential and mixed-use buildings, subterranean and above-ground parking structures, landscaping and 9,800 square feet of retail and restaurant space built on a former Navy torpedo testing site.
The site, now a personal storage business called Space Bank, is at 3200 E. Foothill Blvd.
Recent tests have revealed the presence of “hazardous materials in the soil and soil vapor, and potentially in groundwater beneath the property.”
In correspondence to the city, a critic of the project called on Tornek to place the project back on the council agenda.
“Although the developer promised the city repeatedly that he would do a ‘thorough and full cleanup of site contaminants’ — where hundreds of families and children will live — the documents released last week by California Toxic Substance Control show the site was never, and will never be, tested for RDX and TNT (explosives and propellants that are carcinogens and neurotoxins) which were used in 71% percent of weapons manufactured and tested onsite,” said opponent Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a Pasadena resident and an environmental science professor at the University of Notre Dame.