Wednesday, May 25, 2011

HWPAC May 24 Meeting report

The Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee had a full house and a full agenda at its May 24 meeting which began with an item concerning the temporary use of an Annex building by the Pasadena Fire Department. Fire Station 39 located on Avenue 64 was found to be structurally unsafe and the City closed it immediately. The Fire Department has requested the use of the Annex main administration building garage to store equipment and fixtures. The equipment will be out of service and not in use by fire personnel so there will be minimal impact upon the park. It is expected that the Fire Department will need the use of the space for about two years. Staff emphasized, however, that should work on the Environmental Education Center move forward, the Fire Department is aware they might need to find a new storage area.

As you may recall, the Forest Service, which was displaced because of the Station Fire, was also temporarily using a portion of the Annex. They have now moved out and will be returning to their own facilities.

Brad Boman, Pasadena Water & Power, gave an informative presentation concerning the department's extensive work in the Upper Arroyo necessitated by the massive sediment flows out of the mountains. He stated that the major maintenance activities have now been completed. The next steps are to hire a consultant to upgrade/replace the water intake structure, to renew the Fish and Game permit, and to integrate the JPL east parking lot into the water spreading operations. (There were several inquiries as to when JPL will be leaving the east lot. The city does not have this information yet but expects to shortly.)

The presentation on grants, both pending and recently denied, elicited the most comments from both the Committee and the public. Rosa Laveaga reported that the city just narrowly missed approval for a Nature Education Facilities grant awarded by the California Natural Resources Agency, a real disappointment considering the long delay in the implementation of the Environmental Education Center. The grant for the Pasadena Equestrian Center was also rejected as were two grant applications for the restoration of Berkshire Creek. in 2010 and 2011 only two grants were awarded which have Hahamongna components, a trail restoration grant for the Eastside Neighborhood & JPL (Altadena) Connector Trail and a $100,000 habitat restoration grant. Things are not looking so good on the grant front. Money is scarce, competition fierce, and the city staff much reduced.

Staff gave a report on the agreements with the Annex tenants, Rose Bowl Riders, Tom Sawyer Camps, and Mach 1. The process is very time consuming since it involved multiple city departments including Public Works, Planning, Human Services and Recreation, the City Attorney's Office, and the Real Property Division in the City Manager's Office. The first step is the application for a multi-tenant Conditional Use Permit. Public Works will be the lead department in moving the process forward. No funding has been identified for the projects.

Another item on the agenda concerned the LA County Post Station Fire Sediment Removal Project but there was no one from the County there to give a presentation. Committee members and the public were urged to attend the County's meeting on Thursday, May 26, 6:00 pm at La Canada High School at which the various sediment haul routes will be presented.

Last but not least, staff provided the Committee with an update on the Hahamongna Basin Multi-Use Project, one of the Greater Los Angeles County Integrated Regional Water Management Plan projects to be funded by Prop 84 funds and administered by the Arroyo Seco Foundation. There were a number of errors in the grant application which staff is correcting. The completion date of the CEQA process was listed as June 2011 which has now been corrected to an estimated completion date of February 2012. The number of acres of open space created by the sediment moving has been corrected to 15 acres not the 23 acres originally stated. The update also makes clear that, although IRWMP funds will not be used to build the controversial sports field and expanded parking lot, the funds to do so will provide the matching funds which will allow the IRWMP projects to proceed. In non-bureaucratese, you can't have one without the other.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Advisory Committee will be Tuesday, July 26, 2011.