By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer
Walnut City Council will meet in closed session tonight to consider whether to sue Mount San Antonio College for going ahead with construction of a five-story, $45 million parking garage directly across the street from homes.
The consideration of “possible litigation — status report on proposed parking structure, Mt. SAC” by the council may have been precipitated by two actions taken by the school’s governing board on Feb. 11.
First, the board passed a resolution saying the college does not have to abide by City of Walnut zoning laws because the parking structure will be an educational facility owned and operated by the district.
And second, the college board approved an $8.4 million contract with Tilden-Coil Constructors, Inc. for work on the first phase of the new parking structure, including relocation of utility lines, demolition, grading and soil movement.
The college, located in Walnut, has put up numerous new buildings that didn’t require approval from the city. Colleges and university projects are approved by the state architect. Also, the college’s resolution notes it doesn’t have to meet Walnut zoning codes because they do not address the location of schools.
If the facility is not considered educational, it is possible a city would have a say, but the resolution states the parking structure will also be used “for student instruction in subjects such as astronomy, administration of justice and fire technology.”
The City Council voted in August to oppose building a parking structure at the location, finding it would cause air pollution, traffic and potential ingress and egress problems for emergency vehicles, as cars would be using Mountaineer Road to access the structure — the same street used by hundreds of residents of Timberline, a neighborhood in north Walnut.
Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PARKING.