Payouts OK’d for school’s dust bowl

first_img“The site was much bigger than their dust control and initial set-up for water and controlling dust,” said Bret Banks, management district operations manager. “Over time, we got them to add additional controls. Unfortunately, it’s right upwind of a nice residential neighborhood.” In addition, the high school district added its own water trucks for dust control, Banks said. But Banks noted that even with construction crews doing the best they can, windstorms like the ones that occurred on April 12 and the week before can still impact the neighborhood. Strong winds gusting as high as 100 mph blew through the Antelope Valley on April 12, uprooting trees, damaging roofs, knocking out power and forcing highway closures. Eastside High’s permanent campus at 35th Street East and Avenue J-8 is now under construction. Since early 2006, students have been attending classes in portable buildings on the campus. The lack of rain has contributed to the dust problem. Rainfall since July 1 has measured 0.65 inches in Palmdale and 1.4 inches in Lancaster, according to the National Weather Service. Normal for both cities for the same time period is more than 7 inches. “It’s been an abnormal year where there’s not a lot of water and some days much higher winds than normal,” Banks said. Neither Pickett nor Bishop received money in 2005 from the general contractor. They added that trash blowing from the school site also is a problem. “I never wanted to stop the school. I wanted them to watch out for the homeowners. It seems the homeowners are the ones not being treated the right way,” Bishop said. “We want the homeowners to be treated fairly and equitably.” (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We are at our wits’ end. We get dust throughout inside and outside,” resident Evelina Pickett said. “It blows through the windows. When we open up the windows it’s a good quarter inch of dirt. Every week I’m vacuuming the windowsills.” The $2,900 will go to people whose homes the district has identified as being directly downwind of the school construction site. Claim forms will be sent to those residents, offering $300 for homes with pools and $200 to those without, officials said. “Realizing the excessive winds that we’ve experienced, it’s impossible to control dust from the site. Our proposal to homeowners is to compensate them for the inconvenience they are having to suffer,” said Mat Havens, director of facility acquisition and development. In 2005, the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District fined the general contractor doing grading at the school site $3,750 for failing to control so-called fugitive dust and required the company to pay 16 homeowners $200 each and an additional $100 if they had a pool to cover costs related to dust cleanup. LANCASTER – For the second time since 2005, residents near the Eastside High School construction site will be paid to cover the costs of cleaning up dust that blew off the campus onto and into their homes. The Antelope Valley Union High School District last week authorized paying $2,900 to residents who live along 35th Street East whose houses were hit by dust churned up by high winds during the first two weeks of April. “I’m inundated with dust,” resident Linda Bishop said. “The dust blows right down the road and blows up right in front of my house. The street is dirty and blows into the front yard. My husband washed down the patio last week. Because of the blowing dust, my backyard is filthy again.” Residents of the upscale neighborhood with its large lots say the dust is almost as fine as baby powder and blows through windows and into their homes. Out on the street there’s six inches of dirt along the curbs. last_img read more

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