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Soil Cap Back On Wetlands Property

published 4/16/2009 on Grunion Gazette

Crews were out this week putting a new dirt cap on top of the land along Loynes Drive and near Studebaker Road where a property owner recently had torn up land designated as wetlands.


 The land is a former landfill and the use of bulldozers and other equipment exposed methane and other toxins on the site, according to officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

    That is why last week the state Coastal Commission issued an emergency permit to allow a dirt cap to be put on top of the exposed land. The work should be done by this week.

    There were concerns from some environmental groups that the soil needed to be from another wetlands area. The issue was that in a future delineation study of wetlands, this site now could be left out because of the type of soil. City officials said the order called for “clean fill dirt.”

    Sean Hitchcock, the owner of the land, has said he had torn up the land to comply with city orders for weed abatement and he had no idea it was  wetlands. It was city officials who came out and gave Hitchcock’s crews a stop-work order when the incident first took place.

    The action led to widespread protests by environmental and wetlands protection groups, who called for financial punishment of the property owner. Long Beach will not be fining Hitchcock for unpermitted work on the land because it is not within the city’s jurisdiction to do so, said Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick at a public luncheon last week.

2 comments to Soil Cap Back On Wetlands Property

  • This issue has gone to Coastal as an appeal to the permit…it will be approved as a “special condition”, which is native plant restoration as erosion control. Note this property is directly adjacent to a tidal channel/Alamitos Bay, run-off erosion could contribute to water pollution. To be determined what kind of plant restoration should take place on how much of the property…proposals include “pest control” and herbicides which could also contribute to water pollution…Coastal Commission Meeting on this issue is Friday Nov 19th in Santa Monica. Community briefing and letter writing meeting by Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust is Mon Nov 15th at 7pm Belmont Mobile Estates on Loynes Dr. Also see “Save Los Cerritos Wetlands” Facebook group for info…thx!