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WOODLAND HILLS : Dirt Deal May Be Worth $2.1 Million

July 23, 1993|KURT PITZER

Pierce College stands to gain up to $2.1 million from a proposal to move 425,000 cubic yards of dirt from the planned Warner Ridge development to the college farm, the developer said Thursday.

Although no deal has been made, Warner Ridge Partners would offer Pierce, which dropped 130 classes from the fall semester due to budget cuts, the same amount it would cost to move the dirt to a landfill, said Jack Spound, one of the firm's two partners.

The developer may offer to pay for storm drain and other repairs at Pierce, rather than just giving cash, Spound said. So far, the lowest bid is $2.125 million, he said.

"We've had to close the college several times in the last couple of years because of flooding," Pierce President Lowell Erickson said. "And, quite honestly, we don't have the money to fix the drains ourselves." Any cash from the deal likely would go toward restoring some of the classes that were cut, Erickson said.

Meanwhile, Woodland Hills homeowners, who bitterly fought the approved Warner Ridge development, have asked for another 45 days to comment on the proposal to move the dirt, alleging that Los Angeles Community College District officials broke public notice rules.

But a spokesman for the district said state notification requirements were followed, and that the extra time will not be granted.

"We want the comments from the public," community college spokesman Fausto Capobianco said. "We need the comments from the public. But we feel we have already gone out of our way to more than comply with the requirements."

In a letter to the district, Woodland Hills Homeowners Assn. President Robert Gross said a report on the environmental impacts of moving the dirt to Pierce's campus farm was not sent to the city of Los Angeles or two state agencies, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act. He said the homeowner group may take legal action if the deadline for public comment is not extended.

Community College officials "want to certify this (report), because they want the project," Gross said. "But the issue here is following the law and doing it right."

A hearing on the proposed dirt deal is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Pierce College. The deadline for public comment is July 27, and the community college board could vote on the matter as early as the following day.

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