Attendees at our July 23 meeting had the pleasure of hearing from John Monsen about completing the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. He is a consultant working for San Gabriel Mountains Forever, a non-profit whose mission is to protect the San Gabriel Mountains and the rivers that run through them (for details see http://sangabrielmountains.org/). Mr. Monsen explained how the President had limited power under the Antiquities Act to establish the new national monument when he proclaimed it in October 2014 but Congress will be able to add the national forest land north of La Crescenta, Sunland-Tujunga and other foothill communities to the new monument. CVCA was happy to provide Mr. Monsen a letter in support of the efforts. If you are part of an organization that is interested in helping with this issue please contact him at email@example.com.
By the time you read this the Aug. 5 deadline for comments on the 710 Extension project DEIR will have passed. I hope everyone got their comments in and the elected officials overseeing CalTrans and Metro will come to their senses and remove the toll tunnel option from consideration. As of now the hemorrhaging of tax money into this boondoggle continues.
You have a bit more time to comment on the management plan for the recently designated San Gabriel Mountains national monument because the comment period now ends Aug. 11. The Forest Service must have a management plan in place within three years of the October 2014 inception and they are soliciting comments from the public. Comments may be submitted online at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=46964 or mailed to Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006 Attn: Monument Plan & Amendment. Please let the Forest Service know how you would like it to take care of our local mountain resources.
The next big land use issue that affects the Crescenta Valley is the California High Speed Rail, Palmdale to Burbank segment route alignment. The so-called bullet train has been a dream of Gov. Jerry Brown since his first term way back in the 1970s and funding for the first phase, San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim, was approved by voters in 2008 via Prop. 1A. Prop. 1A had a lot of requirements including that the project link San Francisco with Los Angeles and Anaheim initially, and eventually with the Inland Empire, Orange County, and San Diego. It is required that the train be capable of sustained speeds at least 200 mph and operate without financial subsidy. Most existing high speed rail systems operate with government subsidy. The Fresno to Bakersfield segment is currently under construction.
When first proposed, the route alignment from Palmdale to Burbank was along State Route 14 and Interstate 5. Communities along that route had many complaints including disruption of streets and communities plus noise and particulate pollution during construction and operation. Three alternate routes were proposed to the east of the original, all going through the Angeles National Forest and newly designated San Gabriel Mountains national monument. All four suggested routes would be mostly underground with portions at the surface and elevated, as required by the terrain and speed requirements of the train. The California High Speed Rail Authority website has all the details: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/.
Of course, residents in the East Corridor are as concerned as their Santa Clarita and Acton counterparts and there is much opposition to these newly proposed routes. Save Angeles Forest for Everyone, S.A.F.E., is one group with a lot of information, https://www.dontrailroad.us/.
There were a series of community meetings in May and June where comments from the public were gathered and continued engagement encouraged. If you have further input you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. As the alternatives are analyzed, various interest groups continue to lobby for route adjustments and lawsuits have been filed and threatened. Although the situation continues to evolve, the CHSRA expects to have a draft environmental document on the Palmdale to Burbank segment in the summer of 2016.
The next Crescenta Valley Community Association meeting will be Aug. 27 starting at 7 p.m. at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd. when we expect to hear how the 4201 Pennsylvania condo project is moving along. The recirculation of portions of the DEIR for the proposed 220-plus home development on the Verdugo Hills Golf Course property is expected soon so the efforts to save the property for recreation and wildlife habitat will move to the forefront.