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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : County Gives Dump OK to Design Ramp : Waste: Trash firm gets go-ahead to draw up plans for link to Elsmere Canyon landfill that has not yet been approved.

October 26, 1994|TRACEY KAPLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Over the objections of Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave a waste-disposal firm permission to start designing a freeway ramp for a controversial Santa Clarita Valley dump the board has yet to approve.

The 4-1 vote outraged opponents of the proposed Elsmere Canyon landfill, who argued that it is premature to allow BKK Corp. to draw up blueprints for a ramp linking the proposed dump to the Antelope Valley Freeway.

"It's like putting the cart before the horse," said Dave Vannatta, Antonovich's planning deputy. "You could create a situation where the county has taken the company so far down the road that there would be no way to turn down (the application to build) the landfill."

But county officials said that the action does not obligate the board to approve the 190-million-ton landfill when it comes up for a vote in 1995 or 1996.

However, they acknowledged that by getting a head start on the design work, BKK could be in a position to start construction of the off ramp immediately, if the board approves the landfill. It could take at least 18 months to complete the design, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works said.

A spokesman for BKK called the approval routine and refused to comment further.

The board had to take action before the design work could begin because BKK needs county engineers to act as intermediaries between it and the California Department of Transportation. The firm will reimburse the county for the engineers' expenses, estimated at about $150,000.

It is not yet clear who would pay for construction of the freeway ramp if it is built, the company or state or county government, but it may well be BKK, because the ramp is needed only for the dump.

Antonovich urged the supervisors to wait at least six months before allowing BKK to begin the design work. The city of Santa Clarita, which opposes the landfill on its eastern flank, requested the delay to hold public hearings on the issue, he said.

"An action today would indicate that some people would like to fast-track this landfill," Antonovich said. "It's better to go forward after you have public hearings about whether Elsmere Canyon is a suitable site for a landfill."

But the other four supervisors refused to postpone the matter.

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