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Sun Valley proposal shows new way forward for Valley.

Byline: Vicki Burch

AS the Los Angeles city planning commissioners considers Waste Management's application to build the Sun Valley Recycling and Transfer Center later this month, they need to consider the context of their decision.

Much has been written in this paper about the state of Sun Valley, mostly focused on environmental justice and our quarries, auto salvage yards, waste transfer facilities and landfills, as well as the city's own Department of Water and Power plant.

While we struggle to improve the area despite the legacy of bad zoning, irresponsible and illegal businesses and strident community activists, we occasionally have a positive proposal come forward that actually contributes to the betterment of the community.

For example, the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce has worked with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to improve air quality through new monitoring and pollution control programs, and has worked with local environmental groups such as the Sun Valley Watershed Stakeholder's Group to plant trees and to reduce storm-water flooding.

The chamber is just one of many groups partnering to create a better Sun Valley, including Sun Valley Beautiful, Rotary of Sun Valley, the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, Neighborhood Watch, Shadow Hills Property Owners' Association, and local schools and churches.

On Dec. 17, Waste Management will again be in front of the city Planning Commission to discuss its proposal for the Sun Valley Recycling Center - a $30 million, new, fully enclosed and attractively landscaped recycling and transfer center that will preserve 230 jobs and more than $30 million annually in positive economic impact in the East Valley.

This is the kind of responsible business - and the kind of attractive new facility - we need in Sun Valley. The planning commissioners have concerns, all of which are understandable. But I urge them to consider the context of WM's proposal and the precedent that it sets.

The community has worked hard to get Waste Management to make changes to the project, via Councilman Tony Cardenas' Citizens Advisory Committee. The committee is a broad-based group that represents various community groups, from churches to business groups and health care providers, and has continuously bettered the project during an unprecedented and transparent bilingual outreach effort.

We need Waste Management here in Sun Valley because the company has set the bar for all other waste and recycling related facilities in the area - and there are a lot of them. If this proposal doesn't go forward, the commissioners will be eliminating a positive, fully "vetted" proposal for community and business partnership as we negotiate with the other businesses to meet the same standard of listening, community participation and care that Waste Management has met.

WM's proposed facility is an industrial area in which buffers have worn thin over the years; this project represents a new way for often-disparate, rivaling communities to live and work together.

If current businesses can evolve for a better future, that's the best outcome for the Northeast Valley. We should all work to preserve the long-term, well-paying jobs we have now and, at the same time, set a new standard for companies coming to and investing in the community.

And we need the Planning Commission's help to make sure it happens.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Previous Article:PUBLIC FORUM.
Next Article:Time to let the masses in the party.

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