Now: Judge Issues Tentative Ruling on Venice to Playa del Rey Sewer Project

Tentative Ruling on Venice to Playa del Rey Sewer Project

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio bars the city of Los Angeles from building a 54-inch sewer main through unincorporated Marina del Rey without approval.

ThePatch.com By Paul Chavez

A judge issued a tentative ruling Thursday barring the city of Los Angeles from building a new 54-inch sewer main from Venice to Playa del Rey through unincorporated Marina del Rey because the route would violate the state’s Public Utilities Code.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio ruled in favor of Los Angeles County’s claim that the city has no right to build its sewer line along Via Marina in unincorporated county territory when another comparable route along Pacific Avenue in city territory exists.

“He was not persuaded that the Via Marina route was so superior to justify an extra-territorial incursion into the county by the city,” said Deputy County Counsel Julia Weissman of the Public Works Division.

In a somewhat mixed ruling, the judge also ruled against the county’s claim that the city had not complied with the California Environmental Quality Act when it certified environmental impact reports related to the project.

The ruling stated that under the Public Utilities Code, the city of Los Angeles does not have an “absolute” right to use the county’s streets and if the two entities are unable to agree on terms, the city must take the matter to court for a final determination. The city did not proceed in the manner required by law, the ruling said.

Weissman said that the county’s legal team was pleased with the tentative ruling and was still analyzing its implications.

The judge’s ruling noted that a city engineering report found that the Via Marina route was 300 feet longer and would cost $1 million more. He also discounted the city’s contention that the Pacific Avenue route would have greater impacts on parking, noting that the difference was only three parking spaces.

County officials also have argued that the sewer main should be constructed within city limits due to the numerous construction and redevelopment projects slated for Marina del Rey during the same time the sewer pipeline would be installed.

Adel Hagekhalil, the city’s assistant director for the Bureau of Sanitation, said he was pleased that Torribio had found the city’s environmental reports satisfactory.

“The judge had different feelings about the Public Utilities Code and the city disagrees with that,” Hagekhalil said.

It was not immediately known whether the city would appeal the tentative ruling, he said.

“We’ll consider our options and what we’ll need to do over these next few weeks,” Hagekhalil said.  Read More…

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