People testify remotely about the proposed Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion at the Stevenson Ranch Library during a hearing in April. The issue is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors for final approval. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on RedditShare on Google+


County planning commissioners gave Chiquita Canyon Landfill a 30-year extension Wednesday, several hours after a public hearing.

The decision was made an hours-long meeting in which the Los Angeles County Planning Commission held a second public hearing on the issue. This time they held the meeting in downtown Los Angeles but live-streamed it for the public at the Stevenson Ranch Library.

At the end of the public hearing and after questions from commissioners to county staff, the commission approved Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s contract, authorizing them to operate for another 30 years.

John Musella, spokesperson for Chiquita, said the organization was pleased with the approval of the project.

Chiquita has valued working with community members in the past and hopes to reform a relationship with the community action committee in the future, he said.

“We hope that going forward, will be able to resume a cooperative relationship with that community group,” Musella said.

During the course of the hearing, community members were given two minutes each to speak, where 10 speakers in Stevenson Ranch and 15 in L.A. addressed the commissioners. Speakers were limited to those who did not speak at the first hearing on March 1.


Community member Deborah Myers expressed worry with the environmental impact of the landfill expansion.

“I urge you to follow California’s very strict environmental impact laws,” Myers said. “This is a grave concern to me. I believe that the expansion of this project is not environmentally safe.”

Five of the 25 speakers, however, were in favor of the landfill’s expansion, all of whom represented businesses or business organizations.

Santa Clarita Valley resident Louise Logan emphasized the financial gain for Chiquita.

“It is a corporation like any other,” Logan said. “Its goal is to make money.”

Holly Schroeder, the President and CEO of the SCV Economic Development Corporation, said she thought the impact on businesses should be considered and said she supported the landfill.

“It seems to be a very well run, flagship facility,” she said.

On the other hand, one speaker cited flaws with the study done on Chiquita Landfill.

Katie Hill, candidate for Steve Knight’s (R-Palmdale) District 25 Congressional seat, spoke from the Los Angeles location. Hill, deputy CEO of nonprofit PATH, appealed to the commission from both a county and local perspective.

“I understand the challenges you all face in looking for regional solutions,” Hill said.

She then cited a letter from NYU and UCI professors to the Board of Supervisors expressing concern with the “flawed environmental analysis” done at the landfill.

“It should be a huge basis for your decision,” Hill said. “Val Verde will bear the brunt of others’ waste.”

Bryan Caforio, Knight’s opponent in the last election, attended the hearing at the Santa Clarita Valley location.

Community member Laurel Taylor said she believed keeping the landfill open was either incompetent or ambivalent.

“Nobody’s hands in this are clean,” she said.

Val Verde resident Amber Elton said when she moved to the area, she believed the landfill would be closed and expressed concern with the expansion at the risk of her family’s health.

“I feel like I have to choose between my health and my home,” Elton said. “My home is being taken from me. Not my house, my home.”

Erica Larsen said she was concerned that hydrogen sulfite was not mentioned in the environmental impact report and recommended that air monitors be put in Val Verde to evaluate the air quality.

“You do not have enough information in this environmental impact report to make an educated decision,” Larsen said. “You are not basing your decision on solid information.”

Valley resident Faye Snyder said she did not believe the discussion was fair.

“This is an appearance so we can look like we’ve done all the proper things,” Snyder said. “It’s archaic. It’s taxation without representation to put it mildly.”


People listen remotely to a hearing from the Stevenson Ranch Library on the Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion happening in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

County questioned

After the public hearing, commissioners took several hours to ask county staff specific questions about the logistics and language of Chiquita’s request.

Among concerns were fees, times of day garbage trucks would be permitted to go to the landfill, how often the landfill would be evaluated, exceptions to tonnage limits for natural disaster clean up and reforming a community action committee.

Doug Smith, chair of the commission, also addressed concern that there was a promise made years ago that Chiquita would close after a certain amount of time.

The landfill’s contract did allow them to reapply, however, which is what the landfill company chose to do, he said.

Smith said he recognized the regional benefits of doubling the size of the landfill, but wanted to address community members’ concerns. He said he did not want locals to have to “take one for the team” on the matter.

“If this were to be approved, what is your commitment and strategy to meet the needs of those who expressed those concerns?” Smith said to a representative from Chiquita.

The Chiquita representative said he could not please everyone, but would take into consideration the grievances of community members.

Chairman Smith also said he wanted to ensure staff recommendations were based on fact and law, not opinion. Staff verified that it was.

Commissioners had not yet made a decision whether or not to approve Chiquita’s request by the end of the meeting.


On Twitter as @ginaender

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on RedditShare on Google+
Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017. You can contact Gina Ender at, 661-287-5525 or follow her on Twitter at @ginaender.
By commenting, you agree to our terms and conditions.
  • Castaic Clay


  • John Musella

    Great that the Commissioners and staff mentioned on multiple occasions how well run Chiquita Canyon Landfill is – referring to it as a “gold star” landfill and a “model facility.”

    • Tanya Hauser

      “They may be the best landfill operator in Los Angeles,” said Commissioner David W. Louie, “but I also see a much larger issue, as to whether or not there should be a landfill there, but that goes beyond the scope of what my role as a Los Angeles Regional Planning commissioner is.”

      Like I’ve said before, no matter how Chiquita is run, adverse effects to people, due to its current operations, already exist.

    • Clearly Incastaic

      It is still a landfill but I’m glad its at least run well

    • Courtney K.

      Dear Mr. Musella, as the spokesperson for the Landfill, can you please tell me when the appeal deadline for the expansion is? How do we further voice our concerns? Thank you.

  • Tanya Hauser

    The Commissioners and staff do not live or work near Chiquita so they do not feel the inevitable negative effects of being near this landfill for prolonged periods of time. A website, reports, and a field trip don’t tell the whole story. However, some were seemingly disturbed by the testimony of the many who spoke about the air quality and ill health effects due to this landfill. Commissioner Moon asked a pro-expansion witness, “Do you live there?!” He also asked Mike Dean (Waste Connections/Chiquita) to address enacting 24 hour air monitoring. It is my understanding that Commissioner Moon abstained from the final vote.

    Commissioners Smith and Louie also conceded that closure/re-permitting should be addressed at least ten years before a permit expires. Seems the county realizes people are already adversely affected but they have not prepared adequately for an alternative.

    Now it goes to the Supervisors. Chiquita may be allowed to remain open; however, at this point it seems that it will not get all it is asking for in its proposal.

  • Roger Foster

    Do the people living close to the landfill who are opposed to the the extension realize a landfill existed when they purchased their home? Caveat emptor

    • Tanya Hauser

      I believe the large majority of people who work in the Valencia Commerce Center, including the Castaic Post Office did not realize it was there. Postal workers have reportedly been told by their union that they may not register odor complaints during work hours.

      • Clearly Incastaic

        You’re kidding with this “you can’t file a complaint” right?
        Complaints can be made anonymously, so if someone wanted to, no one would be the wiser. NEXT

        • Tanya Hauser

          I’m hoping they file them.

        • Tanya Hauser

          I don’t believe you can file complaints anonymously with AQMD. It takes three verified odor complaint calls for a rep to come out, and 6 verified odor complaints for a violation to be issued. You are asked for your name and address or place of work if that is where you are calling from. One person could make three or six anonymous calls, and of course that would be a violation of the process, and unfair to the dump.

    • Tanya Hauser

      Many homeowners were told the landfill was closing at 23 million tons or 2019, whichever came first, per the agreement the landfill made with the community in 1997. Some bought based on this information. For others, the landfill was not mentioned by real estate agents or in disclosures, so they did not realize the gravity of the situation. Those who live the closest to it are obviously having the hardest time. Something that I don’t understand is that one of the schools that is proposed to be built in the Newhall Land project along the 126 is apparently drafted to be 500 feet from the current entrance of the landfill.

  • Anthony Breznican

    The name “Chiquita Canyon” = poison in our community. This toxic dump, which will now be one of the largest on the planet, is a metastasizing cancer in SCV. I guess we’re stuck with it. A terminal diagnosis. Any pittance donation Chiquita Canyon makes to gild its corporate image, with Little League uniforms or free bikes, should be remembered by all as disgraceful cover for the pestilent stink that will plume off its new garbage dunes.

  • Temp Temporary

    We had been looking at a home that would overlook this valley, but as of last night that is off the table. With this approval, the reality that the Newhall Land subdivision will inevitably be approved by the LA County Supervisors, and the complete lack of speeding/loud muffler enforcement by LASD, we are selling our home and I am moving my small business elsewhere. It’s not just the landfill, it’s the trucks. More and more trucks will haul trash from all over LA and San Diego filling the air with particulate matter that will be doubled by the clouds created by Newhall Land development. Blend that with the methane that is generated by the landfill and this slow motion disaster will inevitably ruin SCV.

    If you want to see the future of SCV, stand on the corner of Newhall Ranch and McBean for an hour today at 5pm. It sounds like a meth-head drag racing nightmare. The noise and Carbon Monoxide pollution generated by illegal mufflers in California makes Porter Ranch look like a joke. It’s time to move.

  • RaisedinSD

    This isn’t the first extension. Lived near there in the early 90’s when it would have closed in the late 90’s, except for the 1997 extension. It’s like the ‘temporary’ sales tax that NEVER goes away. In trying to save our valley, we must stop the 22,000 house Newhall project on fwy 126. Our freeways and limited resources cant support it!! Do the math, if each family has an ave of just 3 cars- that’s 66,000 more cars on I-5 EVERY day!! Not to mention added air pollution, as cars in gridlock are stuck in our valley every weekday and weekend. Stop the Madness Sheeple.