Abigail DeSesa | Are You a Good Neighbor? (Part II)

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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In January 2015, I wrote a commentary asking people if they thought they were a good neighbor and were willing to pay a higher trash service price to close down Chiquita Canyon Landfill during their request for a new conditional use permit to remain open and expand. Closing the landfill would have allowed home values in the area to increase, the air quality to improve and be safe, our groundwater to be safer, the truck traffic to be reduced, and the cost of trash service would have to go up. I know I was and still am willing to pay a higher price for trash service to have this happen. So, where does the term Good Neighbor come from? Chiquita Canyon Landfill and their website boast how they are just that, a good neighbor. Clearly, that has not been the case. 

No other business in L.A. County would be allowed to stay open with over 79 notices of violation in less than six months, and counting. The landfill gases trespassing on hundreds if not thousands of private residents, schools and businesses nearly daily in Castaic has been verified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, ending with the landfill being put under an abatement by AQMD, but it is still open for business. It appears L.A. County cares more about cheap trash and lots of fees paid to the county over the residents of Castaic who are suffering. What about residents of Castaic who aren’t here yet? Yup, they, too, do not matter. 

Last month L.A. County’s Regional Planning approved another 222-home housing development in (the area). Many people in Castaic are complaining they are sick with a list of symptoms from a reaction occurring at the landfill, since November 2022. Chiquita Canyon Landfill is in Val Verde. A little-known fact, this is not Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s only abatement order. In 2020, just three short years ago, this same landfill received 19 NOVs in four months, putting them under an abatement order for months. Keep in mind that their CUP only allows for three in an entire year. It seems this landfill is not only a bad neighbor; it is a repeat-offending bad neighbor. Why would L.A. County even consider MORE people living in the shadow of this monster?   

Developing more houses is big tax money for the county. Sacramento, in all its wisdom, has ordered all the counties and cities to build! There is a housing shortage in California. Well, that is not entirely true. There is a housing shortage for low-income and moderate- to low-income people. There is no shortage whatsoever of million-dollar homes. Today, if the 222 homes were put on the market as described in the Sterling Ranch Development, they would range from $800,000 for the smallest to $1.4 million, plus homeowners association fees. Who does that really help? The county and filling its coffers. 

As a reminder of what was in Part I of “Are You A Good Neighbor,” there is an option out there you already paid for. Mesquite Regional Landfill sits nearly empty all these years. You can read about it in the April 18, 2014, Orange County Register. It is titled, “L.A.’s $400 million trash train going nowhere, to O.C.’s benefit,” www.ocregister.com/articles/trash-610499-county-landfill.html.  With the price of fuel these days, the train is looking better and better.  

Do you think Chiquita Canyon Landfill will all of a sudden become that Good Neighbor they claim to be? Well, I don’t and I believe it is irresponsible of L.A. County to allow even more people to become victims of this poor, unsafe community planning. Many of us are sick from the landfill gases trespassing on our properties and we want our lives back. If you want to voice your opinion about the continued building in this area, please write to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and tell them, stop building homes near landfills.  

Abigail DeSesa


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