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Construction outfit ordered to pay $850k

Valencia Hills developer accused of polluting Chollas Creek

 City of Lemon Grove issued 13 violations in a five-month period
City of Lemon Grove issued 13 violations in a five-month period

The development company behind the 78-home Valencia Hills project is facing nearly $850,000 in fines for letting water pollution end up in Chollas Creek, according to a complaint filed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board Monday, October 19.

The 18-acre site was referred to the water board after the City of Lemon Grove repeatedly issued stop-work orders, administrative citations, and orders to correct problems that the developer apparently ignored, according to water-board spokesperson Chiara Clemente.

The orders required the developers to implement routine practices to reduce the sediment moving off the construction site. According to the complaint, the City of Lemon Grove made seven inspection visits before it sought the additional muscle the state board wields.

"Repeat noncompliance tells us they didn't take the city or our inspectors very seriously," Clemente said. "These requirements are not new. It's unfortunate that it's taking a large monetary penalty to motivate them to do basic measures that the industry considers routine."

The complaint alleges 13 violations by builders between December 2014 and April 2015. The builders allegedly stored chemicals improperly, didn't take steps to control concrete waste, and didn't try to control sediment that would end up in the Encanto Channel and from there, in Chollas Creek, according to the complaint.

Houses in the project, located north of Imperial Avenue and east of 69th Street, start in the low $400,000, according to the company website Valencia-Hills.com. The website includes some pictures of graded hillsides — which is where some of the violations occurred.

New Pointe Communities president Scot Sandstrom, whose company specializes in urban-infill projects — including some in Imperial Beach, Poway, and Encinitas in the past two years — returned a call for comment at his Rancho Bernardo office.

"We are evaluating the state's claims and we don't have any comment at this time," Sandstrom said. Sandstrom is past president of the San Diego area Building Industry Association, according to his LinkedIn profile. A hearing on the complaint is set for Dec. 16th.

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 City of Lemon Grove issued 13 violations in a five-month period
City of Lemon Grove issued 13 violations in a five-month period

The development company behind the 78-home Valencia Hills project is facing nearly $850,000 in fines for letting water pollution end up in Chollas Creek, according to a complaint filed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board Monday, October 19.

The 18-acre site was referred to the water board after the City of Lemon Grove repeatedly issued stop-work orders, administrative citations, and orders to correct problems that the developer apparently ignored, according to water-board spokesperson Chiara Clemente.

The orders required the developers to implement routine practices to reduce the sediment moving off the construction site. According to the complaint, the City of Lemon Grove made seven inspection visits before it sought the additional muscle the state board wields.

"Repeat noncompliance tells us they didn't take the city or our inspectors very seriously," Clemente said. "These requirements are not new. It's unfortunate that it's taking a large monetary penalty to motivate them to do basic measures that the industry considers routine."

The complaint alleges 13 violations by builders between December 2014 and April 2015. The builders allegedly stored chemicals improperly, didn't take steps to control concrete waste, and didn't try to control sediment that would end up in the Encanto Channel and from there, in Chollas Creek, according to the complaint.

Houses in the project, located north of Imperial Avenue and east of 69th Street, start in the low $400,000, according to the company website Valencia-Hills.com. The website includes some pictures of graded hillsides — which is where some of the violations occurred.

New Pointe Communities president Scot Sandstrom, whose company specializes in urban-infill projects — including some in Imperial Beach, Poway, and Encinitas in the past two years — returned a call for comment at his Rancho Bernardo office.

"We are evaluating the state's claims and we don't have any comment at this time," Sandstrom said. Sandstrom is past president of the San Diego area Building Industry Association, according to his LinkedIn profile. A hearing on the complaint is set for Dec. 16th.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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