February 18, 2014
Dear Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters, City Manager Jim McCann, and City Council:
This letter serves as a follow-up to issues raised in the neighborhood meeting on February 11, 2014. The meeting was primarily to address the problems stemming from the simultaneous multiple massive construction projects on Lovell Avenue. However, these same issues also affect Mill Valley as a whole.
A. Excessive On/Off-Haul
The amount of excessive on/off-haul throughout Mill Valley (not just on Lovell Avenue) raises four main concerns: (1) environmental; (2) erosion; (3) stress on the City infrastructure; and (4) the City’s complete lack of enforcement concerning approved on/off-haul.
1. Environmental: By not limiting the on/off-haul, the environment is greatly impacted (including the destruction of the natural fauna and flora (i.e., the natural beauty of Mill Valley)). Builders should be highly encouraged to work with and conserve the natural terrain instead of drastically altering the site. Prime examples of the literal nuking and denaturing of a site has occurred at both 351 and 432 Lovell Avenue.
2. Erosion: The drastic destruction of the natural terrain also creates serious erosion problems. For example, 432 Lovell Avenue was issued a stop work order due to erosion problems.
In the past, this kind of activity would have been greatly discouraged and an effort to maintain the natural terrain greatly encouraged. To destroy does not take much time and effort, but to restore to its original natural state, perhaps impossible and never. I have been a resident of Mill Valley close to 40 years. On small flat lots, structures are built to the maximum. This is destroying the character of Mill Valley.
3. Stress on City Infrastructure: The large amount of on/off-haul adds unnecessary stress and accelerates the deterioration of Lovell Avenue and all the other City streets.4. Specific Examples of Excessive/Unauthorized On/Off-Haul: The City’s mode of operation appears to be approving a plan, issue a building permit, and then disappear. The City had failed to enforce the approved on/off-haul for at least two sites on Lovell – even after numerous complaints from residents.
The on/off-haul for 432 Lovell Avenue was proposed at 80 cubic yards (as stated in a Mill Valley City staff report dated May 23, 2011). I (and other witnesses) can attest that Mack size 10 cubic yard (and larger) dump trucks continued to run numerous and non-stop for at least 6 months – busy hauling dirt away from the site – and still run to this day (the project started about a year and a half ago).
Similarly, 351 Lovell Avenue was initially approved for 93 cubic yards of cut//fill and eventually approved at zero net off-haul. As pointed out by David S. Rand’s February 9, 2014 letter to the City – 351 Lovell Avenue has off-hauled at least 370 cubic yards, but the probability is likely higher. The dump trucks for 351 Lovell Avenue frequently make U-turns at 437//467 Lovell Avenue, which is prohibited by their Construction Management Plan. I have sent numerous emails to the City concerning this activity.
B. Repair of Lovell Avenue
Does the City actually have any plans to repair Lovell Avenue to the level prior to the trenching of the road to lay down pipes, which occurred around either 2006//2007 and the continual massive construction projects? If so, what are they? The trenching company did not fill and pack down the dirt properly and as a consequence in numerous areas Lovell Avenue has sunken. The Lovell Avenue homeowners in the 1980s paid out of their pockets to completely repair a road full of big pot holes. This was done with the understanding that the City would henceforth maintain the road in the repaired condition.
C. Approval of Swimming Pools in Drought Conditions
Why did the City approve the pools at 351 and 432 Lovell Avenue when our state is in the midst of an ongoing serious drought for several years now? As shown by the history of California, droughts are a continuing pressing issue. The pool at 351 Lovell Avenue was approved without a public Planning Commission hearing and to be built on a very steep hillside.
It was much appreciated that both Mayor Moulton-Peters and City Manager McCann took the time to hear the concerns of Lovell Avenue residents, but there are still numerous issues that still need to be resolved.
Sincerely, /s/ Susan Auyang