- Second District
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday awarded a contract to National Demolition Contractors to remove the hazardous materials from the Ujima Village housing development and demolish the property located at 941 East 126th Street in the unincorporated area of Willowbrook. Residents moved out of the 300-unit complex in August 2010, after an environmental investigation found asbestos and other hazardous materials on the property. Since that time, the empty complex has become a source of decay and community blight. Today’s action paves the way for new uses of the property by authorizing the contractor to begin demolition this summer. The County of Los Angeles is committed to using the space for parkland and recreational purposes and will seek feedback from interested community residents and stakeholders on the site’s design.
“We are starting fresh and setting a new path for the Willowbrook community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Once Ujima Village is demolished, the site can be re-envisioned and redeveloped into a quality, community serving destination.”
The recreational improvements will be planned in consultation with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. The agency is responsible for overseeing an environmental investigation and clean up activities at the site and within the surrounding community.
Prior to the demolition of Ujima Village, the privately operated daycare center Honey’s Little Angels, which is adjacent to Ujima Village, will be relocated to a County building located at 8300 South Vermont Avenue in Athens. On June 6, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion was unanimously adopted by the Board to facilitate the prompt relocation of the daycare center.
As is typical of many structures built before 1978, the units in Ujima Village were found to have both lead-based paint and asbestos-containing materials. Although the Los Angeles County Housing Authority considered investing in the rehabilitation of the property, the rent revenue would not cover the cost of the significant repairs and remediation that would have been required to eliminate the hazardous material found throughout the property.
The demolition cost of $3 million will be funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Second Supervisorial District Community Development Block Grant funds and Second Supervisorial District discretionary funds.
Nonetheless, we don’t have a complete understanding of the potential risks and appropriate regulations, and it’s important that the State of California, which has authority over this activity, act nimbly and thoroughly to develop regulations over this practice.
The Los Angeles General Plan Update will guide growth and development in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County through the year 2035. It provides a framework of goals, policies and implementation strategies centered on the theme of sustainability – basically how to meet our current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their economic, social and environmental needs. Major policies include:
- Expanding Transit Oriented Districts (TODs) to focus growth in areas with existing infrastructure and access to transit choices.
- Promoting Mixed-Use to encourage higher-density commercial/residential development along identified major commercial corridors within proposed TODs.
- Expanding Significant Ecological Areas to ensure long-term biotic diversity in the County without precluding development in those areas.
- Creating Employment Protection Districts to ensure that valuable industrial land remains available for quality jobs-producing industries and businesses.
- Protecting Agricultural Resources by recognizing the importance of local agriculture and protecting it from incompatible surrounding development.
The Revised Draft General Plan and Land Use Policy Maps can be found here.
Click here to look up any parcel in the unincorporated areas to find out its current and proposed land use designations and other related information.
The General Plan Update is lengthy and comprehensive in scope. If you are interested in particular information, please contact the General Plan Update Team at (213) 974-6417 or firstname.lastname@example.org and they will provide you with the specific information you are looking for. Your comments and questions are welcome.
At the urging of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today voted to relocate Honey’s Little Angels day care center, which sits on the site of a state-led toxic substances investigation in Willowbrook. Beginning this summer, the center will be housed in a brand new County-leased building in Athens. Moving the center from its present location — the site of the former Athens Tank Farm, where there is residual oil contamination — has been a priority for the Supervisor.
For the past year, negotiations have been taking place between ExxonMobil, which bears substantial responsibility for the resulting pollution, the day care operator and the County. The County, however, ultimately took the lead in identifying a location and will facilitate the day care center’s move. The facility’s residence at 8300 South Vermont Avenue in Athens is expected to be temporary, and all three parties are still working on identifying a permanent site.
”I have consistently maintained that it is best to act out of an abundance of caution and move these young children as soon as possible,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. . “Fortunately, environmental assessments indicate there is no present risk to the children’s health, but the families with children at the day care center deserve complete peace of mind.”
Acting on a motion sponsored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, the board also took a number of other steps with regard to the investigation at the site and to address concerns voiced by neighbors in the community. In addition to moving Honey’s Little Angels, the Supervisors also voted to:
As a whole, the steps are part of comprehensive program undertaken by the Supervisor to promote the prompt and thorough remediation of the contaminated site and safeguard the health of area residents.
At his urging, in May the Water Board convened a community meeting to update residents on its investigation. In response to related concerns about health care access, the Supervisor also arranged for the Department of Health Services to enroll eligible residents in low-cost health insurance programs. “ExxonMobil and the State of California should be exhausting every available resource to provide comprehensive and timely justice for the Willowbrook community,” Ridley-Thomas said. This site has been under investigation for over six years. The residents deserve answers and a resolution to this issue.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has completed the final component of the Baldwin Hills Community Health Assessment, which consisted of a health survey of the residents surrounding the oil field. One thousand individuals were interviewed and self-reported illnesses, including asthma and other health concerns. The findings were compared to information for Los Angeles County residents as a whole.
The report can be found here.
Representatives from the Department of Public Health discussed the findings of the health survey at the July Meeting of the Baldwin Hills Community Advisory Panel. Click here to see their presentation.
The Department of Public Health previously presented the findings from the first phase of their Community Health Assessment in February 2011. The initial phase analyzed cancer rates, and mortality, low-birth weight and birth defect data for the communities surrounding the oil field. The report was peer reviewed by Professor Vickie Mays of the UCLA Center on Minority Health Disparities, Dr. Stephen Thacker, Director, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Carlos Castillo-Salgado, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University.
To see a PowerPoint Presentation on Phase 1 of the community health assessment click here.
To see the Phase 1 report click here.
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
A contentious legal battle over oil drilling in the Baldwin Hills has been settled, resulting in a reduction in the number of oil wells in the area, tighter restrictions on new wells and a series of measures to protect air quality, reduce noise and beautify the landscape.
The settlement, approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on July 5th, will be implemented immediately.
“This settlement is the victory area residents and I have sought after working together for nearly five years,” said supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
“Those who live near the oil field will see fewer wells, hear less noise from drilling and have in place stronger air quality protections than exist today. I’m confident this set of reforms is far more thorough than what could have been achieved through a contentious and protracted court battle,” he said.
Covering 1,100 acres, the so-called Inglewood Oil Field is not in the city of Inglewood, but surrounded by Culver City and Los Angeles communities including Baldwin Hills, View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights. Its name is derived from its position on the Inglewood fault.
Oil drilling at the site dates from 1924, long before sprawling residential communities were built around its perimeter. Over the decades, as the number of homes surrounding the site increased, so too did the concerns of residents.
In 2008 four lawsuits challenged the County’s set of environmental regulations of the oil field and its operator, Plains Exploration and Production Co. The plaintiffs were the City of Culver City, Concerned Citizens of South Los Angeles, the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community and Community Health Councils, Inc.
Approval of the settlement by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors completed the acceptance of the agreement by all parties.
Key elements of the settlement include:
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas began working with area residents and advocates to address oil field concerns in 2007, when he was a State Senator; members of the Empowerment Congress, a grassroots governing partnership founded by the Supervisor in 1992, brought the issue to his attention.
Two years ago, Ridley-Thomas sought assistance from then-Attorney General Jerry Brown to help mediate the disputing parties in the law suits. Brown assigned two attorneys to the task, who worked with his office to find common ground among the parties. When Kamala Harris was inaugurated attorney general last year, she continued to uphold mediating the Inglewood oil field dispute as a top priority.
“The arrival of the Attorney General’s experts marked a turning point,” said Ridley-Thomas, “they brought cool heads to a heated environment and in doing so guided us all to a solution that gives all sides more than we would have gotten from a court battle.”
Community Health Assessment – Phase 1
The Community Update on the Inglewood Oil Field on April 25, 2011 at the Junior Blind of America Auditorium provided an opportunity for ongoing candid dialogue regarding drilling and oil field operations at the Inglewood Oil Field.
The Department of Public Health presented the findings from the first phase of their Community Health Assessment of the communities surrounding the oil field. This report was peer reviewed by Professor Vickie Mays of the UCLA Center on Minority Health Disparities, Dr. Stephen Thacker, Director, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Carlos Castillo-Salgado, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University.
To see a PowerPoint Presentation on DPH’s findings click here.
To see the full report click here.
For more information about the CSD, please contact:
Contact: Leon Freeman
Website: Department of Regional Planning
To report a complaint, please contact:
Ombudsperson: Lisa Paillet
Phone: 800-766-4108 (24 hours a day/seven days a week)
In addition, please also contact SCAQMD if the complaint specifically relates to smoke, dust and odors:
On August 4th, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas initiated a review of the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District (CSD), the zoning ordinance which regulates oil drilling and operations in Baldwin Hills. With the goal of identifying additional enhancements to the CSD, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a Town Hall meeting to gain community feedback on October 15th at West Los Angeles College. Read about the Town Hall meeting.
Town Hall Meeting Slideshow
To watch videos from the public comment period click here