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San Gabriel Valley Digest

West Covina : Hillside Destruction at Issue

March 14, 1993

City officials say they will soon determine whether BKK Corp. has the right to continue to cut hillsides at its landfill to cover the tons of trash hauled there daily.

At the city's request, BKK stopped shaving ridges at the western end of the West Covina landfill early last fall. The ridges help shield neighboring residents from the view, stench and noise of the landfill operation.

As hillsides in portions of the landfill visible to nearby residents began disappearing last year, people began to complain to the city.

City officials said the Planning Commission will probably discuss the matter of how much hillside destruction at the landfill is appropriate at its March 23 meeting. The issue will ultimately be decided by the City Council.

BKK officials say their city-issued land-use permit allows them to lower the ridgelines on their property in order to bury new trash--as much as 12,000 tons daily--a foot deep, as required.

City officials acknowledge that BKK's permit calls for ridgelines to be preserved "as much as possible"--opening the door to debate on how much grading is absolutely necessary.

However, city officials noticed last fall that some ridgelines at the landfill were being cut to elevations lower than those shown on landfill development plans BKK filed with the city 10 or more years ago, according to Steven Samaniego, Covina's waste management enforcement manager.

BKK President Ken Kazarian said continued hillside shaving will be necessary as the 583-acre landfill expands toward Azusa Avenue.

He said residents in the area who have complained about his company's hillside grading often don't realize that, eventually, BKK will restore some of the contours of the land.

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