By Ken Stone
Updated at 9:10 a.m. April 13, 2018
The decision was made by the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees and the Walnut City Council at their respective closed session meetings Wednesday “following much negotiation,” said the statement.
Terms of the settlement include a hint that Mt. SAC may try to assure another source of financing for the $83 million stadium project — since its original bond issue is subject of another lawsuit.
“Mt. SAC’s Board of Trustees is considering placing on the November 2018 general election ballot a Proposition 39 bond measure,” says the memo. “The city agrees it will not submit any ‘argument against’ the bond measure for publication in the voter pamphlet.”
The memo doesn’t say what the bond — needing a 55 percent “yes” vote to pass — would be for. Mt. SAC spokeswoman Jill Dolan said Friday that “no decisions have been made about its size or project list. The board will consider the matter in July.”
The separate lawsuit by United Walnut Taxpayers has the potential to doom the stadium rebuilding project.That group says Measure RR bond money — $353 million approved by local voters in 2008 — can’t be legally spent on the stadium because the project wasn’t specified in bond language.
Wednesday morning, Judge Holly Kendig in downtown Los Angeles Superior Court tentatively denied a request by UWT for a preliminary injunction to halt the money flow to stadium work. But she also set a Jan. 14, 2019, trial date in the civil case.
Still, Mt. SAC officials and USA Track & Field now have less to worry about.
“The Walnut City Council and staff are dedicated to protecting the quality of life valued by residents in our community,” said Walnut Mayor Mary Su. “By settling the lawsuits, both parties have agreed to work together to ensure Mt. SAC is able to meet the needs of its students and campus operations, while the city is able to uphold the health, safety and quality of life for its residents.”
Mt. SAC Board President Manuel Baca added: “Our focus is, and always has been, providing our students with a high-quality education in the best facilities as well as being environmentally responsible.”
Baca said the college looked forward to reestablishing a “relationship of cooperation with our partners at City Hall.”
In 2014, homeowners began voicing their concerns regarding a proposed Mt. SAC parking structure and its proximity to existing residential development.
Following the parking structure, new concerns from residents were brought forth regarding the proposed solar panels for the West Parcel Project.
The city filed suit against the projects in November 2016.
As part of the settlement, Thursday’s statement said, the city will support ongoing construction and will exercise best efforts to complete review of grading and drainage plans submitted by Mt. SAC for the stadium project at the earliest possible time.
“Mt. SAC will also commit to stabilizing the West Parcel site and agrees it will not build the solar project or any similar energy project, but rather look for better and more efficient uses once the site is stabilized,” said the statement.
“The proposed multilevel parking structure will also be eliminated from the Mt. SAC Master Plan, but the agreement will allow Mt. SAC to consider alternate parking facilities near a proposed transit center.”
The settlement also sets up guidelines helping Mt. SAC and the East Los Angeles County city of 30,000 to restore and maintain a productive working relationship.
“Going forward, Mt. SAC and the city will meet quarterly to review projects that affect both parties and to discuss planning and project implementation,” the statement said.
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