Letters to the Editor 4-19-18
Keep the Greenbelt green
Although this project has been under discussion for two years, the preliminary design phase has been completed and the location has already been chosen, according to Kristy Morris, the environmental analyst for Hermosa Beach (“Infiltration project to clean up local beaches,” ER April 5, 2018). But how could that possibly be the case when not one resident in the immediate area of the site was made aware of such a huge project until March 29, 2018 that would, on many levels, (i.e., turn this area of the Greenbelt into an industrial site in the eyes of an insurance company, construction noise, traffic/street closures/ impeding emergency responders, diminution in property value, the need to disclose its existence to potential buyers and/or renters, risk of contamination from storm runoff containing VOCs resulting from unintended events during installation, maintenance or natural disaster) impact our day-to-day lives for an extended period of time, and, worst case scenario, forever.
The current situation is extremely serious, one that needs to be further analyzed through an HIA (Health Impact Assessment), similar to the one prepared for the Department of Community Development, City of Hermosa Beach, by McDaniel Lambert, Inc. in February 2014, a study which is far more comprehensive than an EIR.
The proposed site was once a boatyard where, at that time, lead was present in the paint used to paint and refurbish the boats. There is also some historical evidence that the first Metlox manufacturing plant, before moving to Manhattan Beach, was located in this vicinity, also where lead was used in the manufacturing of clay pottery. It would need to be verified by a soils expert, but the presence of small pieces of clay along the Greenbelt seems to suggest that lead-laden soil was used as landfill at this location. These scenarios, according to BPM, would not allow installation of a storm drain runoff infiltration system with the presence of contaminants in the soil.
Another important aspect is the destruction of the Greenbelt, a sight that the residents of Hermosa Beach feel privileged to have as a source of relaxation and enjoyment. The area of the Greenbelt between Herondo Street and Second Street is home to squirrels, birds, butterflies and even raccoons, all of which would be displaced, since 97 of the 111, 30-plus-year-old trees would be uprooted, with only a small portion proposed to be re-planted and some of the original trees replaced with native, non-invasive ones, resulting in nonconformity with the rest of the 3.5 miles of the Greenbelt.
In 2010, when Pier Avenue was transformed, a public works project that collects storm water under the street and filters it with sand was installed, one that earned an environmental achievement award. No mention has been made as to why this same system could not be used underneath Herondo Street or an alternate nearby street, which would be in even closer proximity to the Herondo Storm Drain. Also, in 2009, a sand-based filtration system designed to remove bacteria, trash, sediment and toxins was installed on The Strand south of the pier. So why isn’t a similar system, with less negative consequences, being used to limit the flow of harmful material to the ocean, the intended goal of the Greenbelt project?
This is a joint project between the cities of Torrance, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, and certainly there are other adequate sites that meet the requirements of this, admittedly, beneficial project for the betterment of Hermosa Beach.
Judith A. Mango
by Judy Rae