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MMWD Delays Pipe Project, Cites Edna Maguire Lawsuit

District board set to discuss $318,000 project that would divert 115-year-old pipe around school campus.

The Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) has delayed its plans to replace a 115-year-old water pipe near . In doing so the district cited a by the school’s neighbors, who claim the Mill Valley School District about the parking, traffic and aesthetic impacts of the school district's planned overhaul of the school’s campus.

The MMWD project, set to start in July and last 75 days, was to remove and replace 1,300 feet of water pipe that was installed in 1906 and runs through the Edna Maguire campus, according to MMWD spokesperson Libby Pischel. The school district was counting on MMWD completing its work long before the Edna Maguire work is set to begin next spring.

Water district staff decided not to begin work while the lawsuit remained unresolved, Pischel said. The MMWD board is set to discuss the matter at its Aug, 17 meeting but won’t receive a staff recommendation about what to do about the project. Given the impact of the pipeline replacement on the Edna Maguire campus, it is unlikely the work could take place during the school year.

Under the name Designers, Engineers, Constructors for Better, Safer Schools, four neighbors  on July 14, claiming the school district’s environmental review process for the $36 million Edna Maguire project didn’t sufficiently address their concerns.

The neighbors asked the court to order the district to void its adoption of the environmental review documents and direct it to either revise those documents or to expand the scope of the review to an environmental impact report (EIR), a broader and more expensive process.

Tim Ryan, the school district’s director of maintenance and operations, said the MMWD delay would impact the Edna Maguire project, although it was unclear to what extent. The district’s plan calls for a that starts in the spring of 2012 and finishes the fall of 2013.

In district board meetings earlier this year, Pete Norgaard, program manager for district construction consultant Van Pelt Construction Services, said getting the MMWD work finished in 2011 was key to finishing the Edna Maguire project in the 15- to 18-month timeline. 

The MMWD board meets Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the district’s offices at 220 Nellen Ave. in Corte Madera.

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