Old oil drilling site could be converted into affordable housing

But neighborhood activists are raising health concerns

April 10, 2017 12:45 PM
Herb Wesson and the site on 4th Avenue

An oil company is trying to build affordable housing at a drilling site in Arlington Heights, amid concerns over the safety of the parcel.

Sentinel Peak Resources acquired the 1.1-acre property on 4th Avenue in December, the Los Angeles Times reported, and is is now in talks with City Council about closing the site, cleaning it up, and converting it into an affordable housing complex.

The Denver, Colorado-based firm already has the blessing of Council President Herb Wesson.

“This is an unbelievable win for a very active community,” he told the Times.

Neighborhood activists, however, caution that the idle wells on the site could leak chemicals. They are demanding Sentinel Peak comply with a city review of the facilities, which planning officials say they will move forward with.

The wells were revived last year for natural gas production, and plugging them can cost up to $150,000 per well. But even a plugged well can leak in the future, according to Seth Shonkoff, executive director of the energy science and policy institute PSE Healthy Energy.

No official plan for the site has been drafted or submitted. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen