Alternative school tentatively approved

February 22, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council unanimously, but conditionally, approved Wednesday the construction of an alternative school at 203 E. Ross Road.

Final council approval depends upon the Imperial County Office of Education meeting a dozen or so conditions, including an agreement to indemnify and hold the city harmless from the issuance of any permits associated with the school, the construction of a solid wall around the perimeter of the school, the building of a gate to shut off an adjacent private roadway and that ICOE provide and pay for crossing guards during the hours the new facility is used as an alternate school.

The council was split on the issue of the solid wall.

The school has been in the planning stages for several years and Mayor Cheryl Walker was determined the issue would be settled at this week's council meeting.

Previous council concerns such as student safety, parking and the potential effects on local businesses have been settled or must be settled as part of the conditional-use permit.


El Centro Fire Marshal Linual White reported with the exception of requirements imposed by the Air Pollution Control District regarding the handling and storage of hazardous materials in the vicinity of schools, other conditions imposed by the city would apply to all businesses including schools.

"The school can locate there and will not impede growth if the businesses that choose to locate there are willing to meet the Air Pollution Control District requirements on air pollution," White said.

The APCD requirements are that any business within 1,000 feet of a school must have a risk- management prevention plan in place for the accidental discharge of hazardous materials.

In the end, the ICOE agreed to the conditions imposed by the city.

In other business, the council:

l received a presentation on a proposal to develop and implement a plan to provide a water and wastewater treatment system for the irrigated areas of the Imperial Valley. Participants would include Imperial County, the Imperial Irrigation District and the county's seven incorporated cities. The presentation was made by members of the Imperial County Enterprise Community Infrastructure Committee, which is a part of the President's Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border Pilot Program. The ICECIC is a partnership among the county and 17 federal agencies. It was formed in September 2000.

The council took no action on the item but asked how the city would benefit and how much it would cost in light of having a 50 percent excess capacity in both water-treatment and sewer capacities.

"That's going to be the hard part, coming up with something that benefits everybody," said IID engineer Tina Anderholt Shields.

l received a comprehensive update on the new law affecting the Local Agency Formation Commission. Among the many changes are that cities will be required to pay half the costs associated with LAFCO beginning July 1;

l adopted a statement of investment policy;

l approved and accepted the city's comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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