LASD disputes claims that unapproved helipad was under construction near Villanueva's home

LA HABRA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday disputed claims that it had started building a helipad near Sheriff Alex Villaneuva's home in La Habra Heights without the land owner's approval.

"As is standard with all Los Angeles County elected officials, a threat assessment was conducted at the Sheriff's residence, due to numerous credible threats, doxing, and protests," the agency said in a statement, adding that sheriff's detectives met with Southern California Gas Co. officials on Jan. 14.

According to the Sheriff's Department, approval was obtained to clear a small area of land to use in the event of an emergency, "just like an intersection or school field" is sometimes used as a contingency in such situations.

The gas company said it declined the department's request to build the helipad -- but added that construction began anyway.

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The utility has filed a cease-and-desist letter to get the work stopped.

"Contrary to erroneous reports, the work performed consisted primarily of brush clearing," the Sheriff's Department said. "No dirt was ever brought in, no fencing was ever built, and there was never a plan to pour cement or build a helipad."
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