By Mike Sprague

 LA MIRADA – Plans to acquire key property for a new Valley View Avenue underpass at the BNSF Railroad are being challenged by two property owners who say the project could cripple their businesses.

The La Mirada City Council already has approved resolutions to condemn portions of 14652, 14830 and 14950-14952 Valley View Avenue for easements for construction and utilities.

The city isn’t expected to file eminent domain action in Los Angeles Superior Court until Nov. 10, the day after the Santa Fe Springs City Council is expected to approve similar condemnation action, said Steve Forster, director of public works.


 Valley View underpass

Motorists wait as a train crosses Valley View Avenue near Stage Road in La Mirada on Monday November 2, 2009. The city of La Mirada is working on creating an underpass for Valley View Avenue as it crosses the BNSF railroad tracks at Stage Road. (SGVN/Staff photo by Keith Durflinger/SWCity)

The $72 million grade-separation project at Valley View Avenue just to the south of Stage Road has been proposed for more than 10 years. But the cities of La Mirada and Santa Fe Springs now have enough state and federal money to pay for it.
Construction is expected to take 30 months and begin in August 2010, Forster said.

Arnold Applebaum, owner of Solid State Devices, 14830 Valley View Ave., and Ed Roski, owner of 14950-14952 Valley View Ave., said the grade-separation plans will create problems for both of the businesses.

“The project at this point has been designed in a way that will impact the operations at the site,” said Michael D’Angelo, attorney for Applebaum.

“There’s a serious risk of expanded interruption of electrical power,” D’Angelo said.

Another concern is that trucks won’t be able to get into Applebaum’s or Roski’s property, D’Angelo said. D’Angelo is not Roski’s attorney, but his firm also represents him.

“The project calls for only single-lane access,” D’Angelo said. “(Applebaum) wants the project designed in a such a way there is truck access or void the project all together.”

Roski, whose property had a distribution center, now can’t lease it out because of concerns about truck access, D’Angelo said.

Forster said he believes the grade-separation project as designed won’t cause the problems Applebaum describes.

“We believe all those things have been mitigated,” he said. “We can never say there’s 100 percent there won’t be an accident.”

But there shouldn’t be a problem, Forster said.

In terms of trucks, Forster said the plans should provide enough turning radius.

It is possible there will be times when a truck can’t get in, but that should be for a short time.

“But we’ll make accommodations to facilitate movement for trucks in and out of the property,” Forster said.

Forster said the city won’t disclose how much money it has offered, but Applebaum was offered $181,448, according to a letter from D’Angelo to the city.

In addition, the City Council at its 6:30 p.m. meeting is going to approve $301,354 as a total amount for the Applebaum, Roski and small easements needed for three other residential properties.

Forster said the grade-separation is an important project.

“Over 150 minutes a day are realized in traffic delays, Forster said.

With Amtrak, freight and Metrolink trains often crossing Valley View, even sheriff’s cars often are blocked, Forster said.

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