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Norwalk Council Delays Decision On Auto Impound Yard Expansion

Car being impounded. [(C)James Porter/Getty Images]

(C) James Porter/Getty Images

By Kristin Grafft


Norwalk residents expressed concern over the possible expansion of Loftus Corporation’s auto impound yard at the Norwalk City Council meeting on July 2.

Up until this time, a portion of the Loftus property has remained unused and left as a sort of alleyway, buffering the neighboring houses from the impound lot. However, due to the widening of the I-5 freeway, the Loftus Corporation had to relinquish a portion of their impound yard to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

In response to this reduction, Loftus Corporation has proposed a reconfiguration of their property that includes shifting the yard 50 feet east into this “alley”. A 10-foot sound wall would then be constructed right on the eastern edge of the Loftus property bordering the houses.

However, neighboring homeowners have long been concerned about the state and maintenance of the Loftus property. Residents expressed greater concerns regarding health and safety issues should the buffer zone between themselves and the impound lot be removed. Many residents also expressed fears that the 10-foot wall could become an access point into their backyards.

Tony Aldana lives in one of the bordering houses and said, “We oppose this venture vehemently. We want to keep the alley as it is.” Aldana said that without the alley as a buffer the wall would be easy to jump over.

“They do very little business. We live there, we know. They don’t need an expansion.” He said.

Rebecca Alonzo raised another issue with the proposed 10-foot wall. “My garage is too close to this fence. It’s going to ruin my garage. And it’s going to ruin other people’s garages.” She said.

Alonzo explained that many of the older houses in this area were built right up to the property line with the eves hanging over. If a wall that high were to be constructed on the property line it would hit the eves of some of the garages.

Candace Roni, another resident, has lived there for 11 years. Roni said that there have been problems with that property for the entire time she has lived there. “At no time has it been secure or maintained,” she said.

Roni listed unauthorized dumping, dumping of hazardous materials, problems with rats and, at one point, a chop shop, as some of the many problems.

In conclusion Roni requested the council make sure all codes are met before going ahead with any sort of approvals. “If we’re going to have a development lets have it be sustainable, reasonable, equitable, fair, no trash, no dumping, no transient people lighting fires, codes enforced… it effects my property value,” she said.

Many of the councilmembers shared similar sentiments with the residents. Cheri Kelley said, “The Loftus property has been a problem ever since I’ve been on city council,” and Vice Mayor Marcel Rodarte said, “I know I wouldn’t want that right up against my property, especially if they’re doing things they’re not supposed to be doing there.”

However, as Councilman Mike Mendez pointed out, “First of all this is Loftus’ property and if he wants to put a fence up on it it’s his right to do that.”

Mendez added that a buffer zone within that property would be a good idea though. “Something like employee parking only there to prevent junk cars from being right there and leaking liquids and catching on fire… The rest of the issues are things that need to be strictly enforced (either way).”

In the end the council decided that that proposal be rewritten to address the concerns brought up at the meeting and the revised version would be presented at the August 6 meeting. It will again be open to public comment to address the new conditions at that time.



In other items, the city council honored Norwalk’s hometown heroes currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. After being on display for a year on city boulevards, family members were presented with a banner of their loved one. The Hometown Heroes presented at the July 2 meeting were Talia Brooke Alejandre of the US Navy, Eric Ayala of the Marines, Aaron Edward of the Army, Macario Leon of the Army, Sandra Rojas of the Army and Radley Wyatt Turner of the Army.

Council members also wanted to wish everyone a happy Fourth of July and remind residents to be safe. Mayor Luigi Vernola said, “Don’t forget why we celebrate the Fourth of July. Things are illegal for a reason.”

The meeting was then closed in honor of the 19 firefighters killed in Arizona.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16 at the City Hall Council Chambers.

  • Smitty says:

    My Grandma lived next to an ally, trust me a 10′ wall with a towyard with guard dogs on the other side is waaaay safer, a public alley with garden walls is an access point for anybody to climb over.

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