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PERMIT ERROR WON'T HALT BRIDGE : CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATED BY SAND REMOVAL.

Byline: Sherry Joe Crosby Daily News Staff Writer

Owners of a private bridge being built over the Sand Canyon Wash violated federal laws by removing sand from the stream bed without proper permits, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers said Friday.

Sharon Kenneally violated the federal Clean Water Act by excavating sand without proper authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers.

But agency officials said the infraction is minor and can be easily remedied by obtaining a waiver from the Regional Water Quality Control Board and a permit from the Army Corps.

``It's a technical violation,'' said Bruce Henderson, senior project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory branch. ``I think it's a matter of oversight. We don't think there's a blatant disregard of the law.''

Before construction started in May, Kenneally contacted the Army Corps, which sent a letter saying she didn't need a permit for project. Now, Henderson said that was a mistake.

``The description (of the project) wasn't clear enough on her end and our end,'' he said.

The wash falls under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Fish and Game Department, which had issued a permit for the sand removal.

``It was an honest mistake,'' said Kenneally who removed the sand to build ramps for the bridge.

The 90-foot-long bridge, made of flatbed railroad cars, is being built on private land at Sand Canyon Road. Neighbors donated the land and $100,000 toward construction costs. Los Angeles County contributed $250,000.

Supporters said the bridge should be finished this week after builders pave it and finish installing the earthen ramps. The city must inspect it and issue a certificate of completion, however, before motorists can use it.

On Wednesday, Henderson inspected the bridge after Jane Fleck complained that builders were removing sand from the wash without proper permits.

Fleck, who lives 80 feet away from the bridge, fears the earthen ramps lack adequate drainage and will cause flooding on her property.

The ramps ``will block the flow of water over the wash and will tend to cause flooding on my property,'' said the four-year resident who joined Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment in a lawsuit seeking an injunction to halt the bridge's construction.

Supporters, who said they need the bridge to safely cross the wash during rainstorms, said they will prevail.

``We've run into some obstacles that we really shouldn't have,'' said Marty Kovacs of the Sand Canyon Oaks Public Safety Committee. ``We've been waiting 15 years for this bridge. Nobody thought we would be able to do this.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: (color) Builder Bill Frederick, left, and Marty Kova cs, president of the Sand Canyon Oaks Public Safety Committee, look over the bridge that area residents say they need during storms.

John Lazar/Special to the Daily News
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 25, 1996
Words:473
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