EL MONTE — The state has reached an agreement with the owners of the Operating Industries landfill in Monterey Park that an estimated $6 million expected from the sale of 45 acres of the dump site will be put into a trust fund for landfill cleanup.
The agreement was revealed during testimony before the South Coast Air Quality Management District hearing board by William Marlin, a staff attorney for the state Department of Health Services, who said, "We estimate that it will take $20 million to effectively close the site and $1 million a year for 30 years to maintain improvements."
Marlin's testimony came during eight days of hearings over five weeks on an application by the City of Monterey Park for permission to move 158,000 cubic yards of waste from one area of the 190-acre dump to another to make way for construction of a multimillion-dollar commercial development and a new freeway interchange. The application was denied on a 4-to-1 vote.
Threat to Drop Project
The City of Monterey Park had threatened to drop the development project as economically unfeasible if its application for permission to transfer refuse within the landfill was turned down. But after the board's denial, city officials already were talking about studying costs of trucking the rubble to a site acceptable to the board.
Monterey Park City Manager Lloyd de Llamas said after the hearing that he was encouraged by the fact that the board seemed to support the proposed development, even if it would not allow the relocation of the refuse on the landfill itself.
City officials have identified the developer as Trans-Pacific Development Co., which would buy the 45-acre site from Operating Industries for the estimated $6 million to be put into the trust fund.
Residents Oppose Application
During the hearing, residents near the dump and officials of the City of Montebello spoke against the application. The opponents said they were concerned about potential odors and health hazards that relocation of the refuse might create.
Peter Greenwald, attorney for the district, said his agency does not object to a development on the 45 acres, but he said there was no proof that a new freeway interchange was needed or that the excavated wastes needed to be redeposited at the Operating Industries site. He said that although Monterey Park claimed it would cost $4 million more to truck the trash to another landfill, testimony had indicated the difference in cost was $700,000.
Jack Dutton, the hearing board's most vocal opponent of Monterey Park's request, said that although he realized the desire for the development, he was opposed because he felt the use of the property should not injure the neighbors. B. C. Escobar said he was voting against the proposal because of on-site disposal. And Chairwoman Koralee Kupfer said she did not think denial of the request was the death knell for the project.
Essential to Development
De Llamas said relocation of the refuse is essential to development of the commercial project, which would occupy the one-fourth of the 180-acre landfill that lies north of the Pomona Freeway. Most of the landfill is south of the freeway and west of Paramount Boulevard. The entire landfill is within the city limits of Monterey Park, but most nearby residents live in Montebello.
The proposed $110-million commercial development would include construction of a new freeway interchange at Greenwood Avenue, de Llamas said. He said construction would take two years. It has been projected that the office-commercial project would generate $1 million a year in sales tax revenue for the city and create 3,000 jobs.
The district's approval had been envisioned as the city's first step in an effort to clear a series of administrative hurdles in its efforts to develop a portion of the landfill, which was closed to further dumping in October.
May Propose New Plan
De Llamas said he did not know how long it would take to reevaluate the cost of off-site dumping. But if the project still seems feasible, he said, the city will return to the AQMD with a new plan.
Tom Winfield, an attorney representing the City of Monterey Park, said the project would work only within a specific budget. He said his cost figures were only engineering estimates, but that unless the project came within $1 million of budget, it would fail.