Environmentalists Continue Fight Over Space Bank Development Plans

first_img Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Top of the News [UPDATED] Pasadena environmentalists have filed an appeal in federal court in an effort to block the construction of a more than 500-unit housing project on a site formerly used for weapons testing by the Navy.Critics of the project claim the land beneath the site contains harmful chemicals.The appeal comes on the heels of a federal ruling against the environmentalists in which Judge Daniel S. Murphy decides in favor of excavation plans submitted by Trammell Crow Co.“The fundamental problem is that Trammell Crow is claiming to do a full cleanup, but its own scientific documents show the opposite,” said Notre Dame researcher Dr. Kristin Shrader-Frechette.Trammell Crow wants to build a 550-unit project, including eight separate residential and mixed-use buildings, subterranean and above-ground parking, landscaping, and 9,800 square feet of retail and restaurant space.The District 4 project was approved by the City Council in 2018.It was opposed by Councilman Gene Masuda, who represents the area where the project site is located, and Councilmembers Tyron Hampton and Victor Gordo. Gordo was elected mayor in the Nov. 3 election.The appeal is expected to cause an 18-month delay in the project.If the appellate court rules against the environmentalists, they could appeal to the state Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, the appellate court ruling would stand.The Trammell Crow Co. committed to testing for royal demolition explosives (RDX) and trinitrotoluene (TNT), but maintained explosives were not tested at the site.“As was confirmed by the superior court, we are implementing a removal action work plan,” said Brad Cox, Senior managing director of the Trammell Crow Co.“All work will be completed in conformance with state law and the CDTSC’s (California Department of Toxic Substance Control) oversight,” Cox said.“The Pasadena City Council hired an outside third-party environmental company to act on their behalf, and we agreed to have them as an additional oversight. So all of those parties are going to be there for the cleanup of the property on behalf of the city of Pasadena,” he said.According to Cox, the judge was very clear in his ruling that the extensive investigation of the site over the last 13 years and the state DTSC’s approval of the proposed work plan meets with the required full cleanup to meet the highest and best standard, which for us is going to be residential.The site, now the Space Bank Mini-Storage facility, housed the Naval Information Research Foundation from 1940-1978 according to the DTSC. During that time, the Navy conducted testing and other scientific work involving “classified materials, testing, and other weapons,” the DTSC wrote in a report about the site in 2018.The Navy vacated the site in 1974.Historical use of the project site for research, testing, and assembly of torpedoes and other weapon systems has generated the presence of hazardous materials in soil and soil vapor, and potentially in groundwater beneath the property.The project includes remediation required by and at the direction of the state DTSC. The remediation would be required to be completed before utilizing the site as a mixed-use development.Pasadena residents received a glossy brochure from Trammell Crow that claimed the company would clean up the toxic site “to highest state standards.” Trammell Crow repeatedly made similar statements to the city, Shrader-Frechette said.“Yet,” Shrader-Frechette said, “Trammell Crow’s own scientific documents show that because full cleanup ‘would be a costly and time-intensive process,’” and that “none of the roughly 35 site contaminants will be cleaned up to the highest state standard. For instance, Trammell Crow’s own approved documents allow it to leave carcinogens, solvents like trichloroethylene (TCE), onsite at 26,000 times higher than the state standard.”RDE is an explosive that can be combined with other ingredients to make plastic explosives, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease, (TSDR). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that RDX is a possible human carcinogen based on the presence of liver tumors in mice that were exposed to the substance for one to two years. People who inhaled large amounts of dust containing RDX suffered seizures.Trinitrotoluene (TNT) can cause birth defects, spleen enlargement, and abnormal liver function, according to the EPA.“Unfortunately for us, it just takes what under the normal process is probably 15 to 18 months to get an appellate court hearing day,” Cox said. “And with the COVID impact on slowing down the ability of the court to review various cases, you know, it could be a couple of years before we get in front of the appellate court because of their court backlog.” Community News Environmentalists Continue Fight Over Space Bank Development Plans Appeal filed after judge rules in favor of developers By ANDRÉ COLEMAN, Managing Editor Published on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 | 2:58 pm Community News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Donald CommunityPCC- COMMUNITYVirtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Your email address will not be published. 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