A group of Van Nuys businesses – facing possible eviction to make way for a proposed train yard – got disappointing news Tuesday evening.
A location they proposed as an alternative site for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority’s railcar maintenance and storage facility is not a viable option, according to a letter to Metro from the property’s owner, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The DWP plans to transform the site into the “Mid-Valley Water Facility Project,” which will break ground in 2019, the letter said.
“While the property appears to be vacant, LADWP plans to improve the property for the Mid-Valley Water Facility Project,” Richard Harasick, a senior assistant general manager at DWP, wrote in the letter. “Therefore the parcel should not be considered for potential use by Metro.”
Harasick did not return a request for comment.
Many local business owners who had supported the alternative site learned of the development Tuesday evening during an informal meeting with the agency.
By one count, 186 businesses northeast of Oxnard Street and Kester Avenue could be evicted because Metro considers their neighborhood “Option A” on which the agency wants to build its train storage and maintenance yard to serve a new rail line that would run from Oxnard Street to Sylmar. As a result of the letter, their neighborhood apparently remains a prime target for reconstruction.
Metro received the letter Tuesday afternoon, hours before its meeting with business owners, according to Metro Senior Executive Officer Manjeet Ranu.
“The rules about property takes are different between government agencies versus between government agency and private property (owners),” Ranu said during the meeting. “We will look into that...we are happy to consider other sites that are identified by others, because we are very open to this process.”