July 17, 2008

Critics Oppose Rock Quarry: About 100 Attend Yuba Planning Commission Meeting

By Andrea Koskey, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Jul. 17--Effects on prime agricultural land, water quality and noise were some of the major concerns that residents living east of Wheatland had for a proposed rock quarry south of Beale Air Force Base.

Nearly 100 project opponents attended the Yuba County's Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night, where the draft environmental impact report was discussed.

The Ostrom Road Quarry is proposed by DeSilva Gates Construction in Dublin. The project will sit on a 315-acre parcel east of Yuba-Sutter Disposal Inc.'s Ostrom Road landfill. The project would also include an asphalt batch plant.

"There's two ways to destroy prime ag land: one way is to pave over it and the other is to dig under it," Irene Creps, 74, a Spenceville Road resident, said. "This is nuts."

Creps said a study conducted by a professor at the University of California, Davis in 1969 found 6 percent of Yuba County's land to be considered as some of the best agricultural land in the county.

"There's probably less of that land now because of development, but I don't know how much less," she said.

Representatives from DeSilva did not speak during the public hearing.

The draft environmental impact report found that air quality, pollutants from emissions and noise levels to be some of the "significant and unavoidable" impacts if the project moved forward.

Philip Pederson, 70, of Eric Lane said those impacts are a major concern

"If approved, the result is permanent devastation to prime ag land, elimination of a wildlife habitat and elimination of the rural lifestyle of taxpayers and property owners," Pederson told the commission.

DeSilva Gates requested a conditional use permit in 2005 for the quarry, according to Yuba County staff documents.

According to the draft EIR, the average annual aggregate production rate would be 350,000 tons, with a permitted maximum of 600,000 tons. Of the 600,000 tons, up to 200,000 would be used to supply the on-site asphalt plant.

The remaining 400,000 tons of aggregate would be hauled off site by truck. Over the 20-year operational life of the quarry, total material is estimated at 6 million cubic yards.

After mining activities are completed, the document states, the project site will be returned to its existing use of agriculture and grazing.

Jud Waggoman, a Marysville attorney representing three families on Eric Lane, said there was no study included in the draft EIR that addressed the potential impacts to the residential water table.

Waggoman said the project description states that the site will consume an estimated 380,000 gallons of water each day.

"That's more than an acre foot of water," Waggoman said. "It's equal to a 400-home subdivision, and there's no mention of it in the EIR."

What's next

Comment period on the draft environmental impact report for the Ostrom Road Quarry ends at 5 p.m. July 30.

Written comments for review must be submitted to the Yuba County Planning Department, 915 Eighth St., Suite 123, Marysville, Ca. 95901

Contact Appeal-Democrat reporter Andrea Koskey at 749-4709 or [email protected]


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