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Claremont Wilderness Park lot construction remains in limbo for now

Despite the past year’s bustle of activity surrounding the Wilderness Park parking lot construction, which finally began last August, activity has grown quiet in recent weeks as the city deals with an unanticipated mishap.

Last month, City Manager Tony Ramos announced an unexpected halt in construction after the city was contacted by a representative from the LA County Flood Control District (LACFCD). The representative claimed the district was unaware of the construction  project, which included an easement over the property owned by the LACFCD. A permit from the LACFCD will be required for construction to continue.

The unforeseen stoppage occurred due to miscommunication with the Pomona Valley Protection Association, owners of the land where the new parking lot is being constructed, according to Brian Desatnik, director of community development.

“We were aware that the easement existed, however, we assumed that the property owner [Pomona Valley Protection Association] had received the necessary approval for the easement,” Mr. Desatnik said. “They are the ones that leased us the land to build the lot. The lease didn’t say anything about being contingent on approval of the easement holder or anything like that, so we assumed that they had authority to go ahead and build.”

Though building has been temporarily stopped, the review process with the LACFCD is now underway, says Mr. Desatnik.

“We have been in communication,” he said, adding that comments on the plan were received by the city last week. “We are addressing and revising the [parking lot construction] plans to address their comments.”

Though a few adjustments are being made to construction plans, nothing significant will change, Mr. Desatnik said. Fixes include putting safety measures into place to protect the lot’s power source, if inundated with water or flooding.

“Other changes are relatively minor,” he assured. 

The LACFCD is still in the process of reviewing the plans before issuing the city a building permit, according to city officials. Construction will not begin until the review is complete. An estimated completion date is still unknown to city officials.

Mr. Desatnik maintains that there has been no financial impact as a result of the delay and added review process. He added that future costs associated with the review are not expected to arise. However, because of the delay, completion of the Wilderness lot is not expected until the end of 2012.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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