We got a call from the OCTA on our lawsuit post from this morning. Spokeman Joel Zlotnik gave us this statement:
“OCTA offered to pay half the cost of moving the waterline and Yorba Linda Water District declined. In an effort to avoid litigation and keep the project moving forward, OCTA offered to pay the full cost of moving the waterline up front and then go to a mediator and allow them to determine who should pay for the work. Yorba Linda Water District also declined this attempt to settle the issue.
Yorba Linda Water District has a franchise agreement with the city of Placentia that allows the district to run the waterline under Lakeview Avenue at no cost to the district. As part of this agreement, the water district is required to move the line at its own cost if that becomes necessary for any road work.
This is different than what is occurring with utilities owned by the cities of Placentia and Anaheim in their city streets. OCTA is in partnership with the cities on the grade separation projects and we have cooperative agreements in place that determine who pays for utility relocation. In Anaheim and Placentia, there are city utilities that are in city streets. In contrast, Yorba Linda Water District utilities are in streets that it does not own.
OCTA is asking the court for two things and it is scheduled to be heard Nov. 16:
- Allow OCTA to move forward and relocate the pipes at OCTA’s cost
- Have a judge determine at a later date who should pay for the relocation
Unfortunately, the water district refused OCTA’s offer to pay for half the relocation and taxpayers in Yorba Linda, as well as throughout the county, will be paying for legal fees rather than moving forward on a project to improve traffic for residents in the region.”
The dispute seems to center on which document has legal authority, the franchise agreement between YLWD and the City of Placentia or the 1911 Prior Rights Easement held by YLWD for more than 100 years. Our source at the District insists it owes a duty to its ratepayers not to make a gift of public funds by subsidizing the costs of what amounts to a regional project from the OCTA.
In listening to Zlotnik and our sources close to YLWD, claims of who offered what to settle this dispute range from fact to fantasy.