Preparations for a controversial project to place more than 30,000 truckloads of dirt from the Warner Ridge development on the Pierce College farm are well under way, but the actual soil transfer may not begin until next month, the developer said Monday.
"The big machines probably won't hit until the first week in November," said Jack Spound of Warner Ridge Associates. "We'll probably start preparing the Pierce land within a couple of weeks, but we don't want to go flying onto their property prematurely."
Work was originally scheduled to begin in early September, but was delayed because details of the contract had not been completed.
Community college district spokesman Fausto Capobianco said the contract, worth about $2.1 million in cash and improvements to Pierce, may be signed within a few days. The developer is free to begin preparations on Pierce land before that, he said.
So far, the groundwork to move 425,000 cubic yards of dirt has been limited to the construction site, where during the past few weeks crews have poisoned rodents and, this week, begun removing concrete and debris from the topsoil, Spound said.
At the 40 acres of Pierce farmland designated to receive soil, the first phase of work will involve poisoning gophers, ground squirrels and other rodents, to keep them from fleeing to the yards of nearby homes, said Glenn Green of Western Exterminator Co., the contractor for the job.
Neighbors have expressed fears that delays could place completion of the project during the rainy season, creating a possible mudslide hazard. Spound said the developer will take steps to protect the slopes.