South Pasadena City Council members this week will consider submitting a letter in regards to the final environmental impact report (EIR) filed by Caltrans in relation to the properties the transportation agency owns and is preparing to sell along the abandoned 710-freeway surface route.
There are a handful of properties Caltrans owns and if sold is looking at maintaining a sub-surface easement, according to South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez.
Caltrans is expected to release the SR 710 North Study Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), which contain the following options, next spring:
- No Build
- Transportation Systems Management/Transportation Demand Management
- Bus Rapid Transit.
- Light rail and Freeway tunnel
The City of South Pasadena will consider submitting a comment letter stating that the subsurface easement is applicable to only three properties and not the hundreds of other ones that should be returned to private ownership as soon as possible, said Gonzalez.
Action to send the letter to Caltrans will be considered during this week’s council meeting.
Properties recently released by Caltrans, which include 42 (33 in South Pasadena) along the proposed 710 corridor, are a mix of vacant and unimproved lots, homes not within the footprint of the 710 Freeway and those closest to the proposed tunnel route. The balance, about 500, in the cities of Los Angeles, South Pasadena and Pasadena, should be released sometime next year.
Some may ask what difference does it make if Caltrans’ homes remain on land above a freeway constructed below the surface. “When you own the (Caltrans’) home, you also own the rights to whatever is below it,” explained Gonzalez. “When Caltrans is considering a tunnel, and they own the homes, they want to sell them but maintain the subsurface rights. So, we’re stressing, when the tunnel is not selected as the alternative, the easements immediately go away, and the homes are owned outright by those who purchased them.”
A city report contributed to this story.