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Planned Housing Next to Contaminated Plot has Locals Concerned

Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

RMS Corp and Pinyon Group's plans to build 468 housing units in Lincoln Heights is drawing fresh scrutiny from locals who claim that insufficient testing has been done to the soil to determine if it's safe to build.

The site of the old Welch's Dry Cleaning in Lincoln Heights was known to have been contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals for decades. A clean-up effort ensued after the dry-cleaners closed for business and the land is still being monitored years later.

Now, neighbors are worried about what lies beneath the plot of land next to it and the proposed 468-unit development that is looking to occupy it. The developers behind the project, RMS Corp. and Pinyon Group, have tried to assuage locals' fears but many are not hearing it. Memories of what children used to call, "the sick land" years ago and the inordinate cancer rates that plagued the neighborhood are still fresh in many Lincoln Heights residents' minds.

Opponents of the planned project have pointed out that the toxic chemicals have been detected previously in surrounding areas and that there is no reason to believe that this is not the case with the land directly adjacent.

“Contamination doesn’t stop at the property line,” said Jane Williams, executive director of California Communities Against Toxics,

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