Los Angeles, CA – In 1970, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) purchased over 1,200 acres of land in the Puente Hills canyons of the San Gabriel Valley to create a new, regional landfill known today as the Puente Hills Landfill. Under conditions laid out in a 1987 Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) entered into by the Sanitation Districts and the County of Los Angeles (County) and per Assembly Bill 2632 (Solis), the Sanitation Districts were required to provide portions of the site to the County for park and recreation purposes after the landfill ceased operations.
Following a dispute surrounding the financial responsibility for development, operation, and maintenance of the park, the County filed a lawsuit against the Sanitation Districts in March 2020 seeking $283 million plus funding for operations and maintenance, and the Sanitation Districts, in response, filed a cross-complaint against the County.
Today, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn on bringing the Puente Hills Regional Park project to fruition as the County and Sanitation Districts have now negotiated a settlement agreement (Settlement) that resolves these disputes and allows for the park to move forward.
“I am delighted that the Sanitation Districts are fulfilling their promise to the communities that have faced decades of impacts from the Puente Hills Landfill,” shared Chair Solis. “While families in the San Gabriel Valley find beauty in the wilderness of the San Gabriel Mountains, many throughout the region don’t have access to parks and open green space. To that end, I am proud to have led the original effort to create this 142-acre park resource for our community. Many thanks to all of the cities, community members, and advocates that took a stand to support environmental justice and helped us get to this resolution.”
The Puente Hills Landfill closed its doors in 2013 after 56 years of receiving trash from homes and businesses in over 60 cities and unincorporated areas across the County. After the closure of the landfill, the County worked with the Sanitation Districts and stakeholders to develop the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan (Master Plan) which lays out the vision for the buildout of the County’s first new regional park in more than 30 years. This Master Plan, which was approved by the County Board of Supervisors in 2016, suggests a phased approach to construction with Phase 1 of the Master Plan offering basic park amenities.
“This community has had to deal with having a landfill in their backyard for decades and at long last, we are going to be able to give them a park,” shared Supervisor Janice Hahn, who helped to negotiate the settlement. “People have been waiting for this moment for years, and I am so grateful that we can finally take this step forward.”
The motion approved today allows Chair Solis to execute the Settlement, authorizes the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation to negotiate and execute a JPA with the Sanitation Districts, establishes the Puente Hills County Regional Park Development project with an initial project budget of $600,000, and authorizes the County’s Department of Public Works to proceed with initial preconstruction activities.
To view the full motion, click here.