By Katta Hules
The Arcadia Reclamation facility quarry at 12321 Lower Azusa Road is getting a new lease on life. The Arcadia City Council has approved a new development project, turning the former sand and gravel quarry into the Arcadia Logistics Center, a master-planned warehousing center and industrial park.
Reclamation of the former quarry must be completed by March 1, 2018, according to a city staff report. The Arcadia Logistics Center’s website (http://arcadialogistics.com/) says reclamation will conclude and construction is expected to start this year. It also says the coming project will bring 844 jobs to the Arcadia, El Monte, and Irwindale area and that, “for every $1 the project costs the city of Arcadia, the Arcadia Logistics Center will generate $1.94 for the General Fund.”
The project was set to be decided during the Feb. 16 council meeting but representatives from the City of El Monte asked for a continuance. The proposed Logistics Center sits on the border between Arcadia and El Monte. Citizens and members of the El Monte city government were concerned about possible traffic and public safety issues from the influx of semi-trucks the Logistics Center would bring. Wishing to further discussions with the developer Yellow Iron Investments and owner of the facility John Edwards Jr., El Monte asked for Arcadia to stay its decision. The council agreed and the issue was left until this week’s meeting.
At this week’s meeting, more requests from El Monte were discussed. The neighboring city requested Arcadia add some conditions to their approval of the project. First, in accordance with the suggestion from Caltrans, the developer would help pay for a study on improvements to the I-605 freeway, but the cities would cap the developer’s costs at $100,000.
Secondly, El Monte requested sharing the cost of public safety services to the 81.27-acre property. Jason Kruckeberg, the assistant city manager and development services director, pointed out Arcadia already had similar measures in place with other cities. “We have mutual aid arrangements with cities within our region. We also have … a standing agreement with L.A. County Fire … to reciprocate services.”
The third condition El Monte requested was that the two cities share revenue generated by the Logistics Center. This was met with contention from the council. “It’s one thing to be a good neighbor,” Councilmember Mickey Segel said, “it’s another thing to unjustly share revenue derived for our city … I found it a tad appalling.” He went on to hope Arcadia would never be in a situation where they requested a similar condition.
The council shelved these conditions as issues to deal with later and approved the project. This will not preclude them taking up the discussion with El Monte later. Kruckeberg elaborated, saying, “as with any project, we are going to be monitoring what happens over time … we’re here, we’ll be meeting with El Monte … trying to make sure that none of these problems that may be expected actually happen.”
David Gondek, El Monte’s deputy city attorney, later took the podium during the public comments portion with Edwards to thank the Arcadia City Council for approving the project and cooperating with his city during the discussion.
The public comments section also saw a lively debate on Measure A, the Utility User’s Tax repeal. Proponents on both sides took turns rebutting accusations and figures from their opponents. Brian Ortiz, president of the Police Association, on the anti-Measure A side, said the Measure’s cosigner Domenico Tallerico “stands on the sidelines throwing rocks” and has never done the jobs he is trying to tell them how to do. Tallerico in return challenged the city council to a “half an hour to an hour debate” on the Measure, saying they could bring whoever they wanted and only he, armed with the numbers would stand for the repeal.
After the public comments were closed, Councilmembers Segel and Roger Chandler rebutted the proponents. Segel mourned, “Our system is broken,” because, “500 out of the 55,000” citizens of Arcadia could impose their grievances on the ballot. He went on, amongst protestations from the Tallerico and his co-signer Larry Papp, to say they had never presented an alternative solution.
The “intent of our budget is to try and set money aside for a rainy day,” Chandler said, adding, Arcadia is “one of the few cities … that have any reserves at all.” He wondered why their money management methods were in question when “it’s good management that is able to save money.”
The city council will meet again March 15 at 7 p.m.