Granite's Liberty Quarry appeal filed Thursday

THE TEMECULA BEAT: Granite's Liberty Quarry appeal filed Thursday

By AARON CLAVERIE aclaverie@californian.com
  • Northern California-based Granite Construction on Thursday filed an appeal of the county Planning Commission's denial of its Liberty Quarry project.
Granite representatives have long been on the record saying they had planned to file the appeal and that the company is looking forward to the hearing that will be conducted by the county Board of Supervisors.
The commission voted 4-1 in late August to deny the quarry project, an open pit aggregate mine proposed for land on the city of Temecula's southern border.
Earlier this month, the commission voted 4-1 to finalize that action, presenting a long list of denial findings that did not include many of the benefits of the project that have been touted by Granite and detailed by county planning staff in the project's environmental impact report.
Opponents of the project say it will harm the area's air quality, negatively impact the region's tourism industry and destroy land tied to the creation story of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.
Supporters say the mine will bring good jobs and produce an economic virtuous circle because the area will be able
to tap a local source of high-quality aggregate.
Call staff writer Aaron Claverie at 951-676-4315




$10.00 class as it will only be for two weeks start to finish.    

These are two of the purses I have made. 
Thanks Geri



As citizens in communities surrounding Pala Raceway, we are continually subjected to a compromise in our environment from the raceway’s noise. Over the past 2½ years, we have requested alleviation to the problem and patiently waited for solutions that never materialized. It is now time for neighbors and communities to join together in stopping the noise nuisance being generated by Pala Raceway.

If the noise from Pala Raceway affects you, please come to a community meeting. The agenda will be focused on formalizing a plan to move forward against raceway noise, establishing an effective communication network and organizing community resources.

The meeting will be held:
Saturday, January 21st
11a - noon
Rainbow Valley Grange, Rainbow Valley Road, Fallbrook, CA

If you have any questions or cannot attend the meeting but would like to be included in community efforts and communication, please contact palaracewaynoise@gmail.com.
We hope to see you there and thank you, in advance, for your contributions to the effort.





Bring your lawn chairs, blankets and family.  

Please join us in helping make the "1st Annual Christmas in Rainbow" a wonderful and exciting event for our community.  When local resident Mary Gore offered to donate a Christmas tree for the idea of an "Annual Tree Lighting", I was inspired to work with The Oaks and The Rainbow Oaks Flower Shop to create a beautiful holiday display and offer Rainbow residents a taste of the holiday spirit in the "town square". 

We hope you'll come down for some neighborly fellowship as we "light the tree" (at 6:00pm) and share in some holiday cheer with one another.



Remember, this is not over yet.
When Granite appeals (and they will within 10 days) this will then go to the
Riverside County Supervisors.  They will hold a public meeting (or several)
within 90 days after the appeal is filed.  They have the final vote.
I am finding that many people think the Commissioner's vote was the end.
Please let people know that we still need the support as much as ever and
will still need the people at the final meetings.
You can write to the supervisors up until the time of the meeting so keep
getting those orange cards signed.  There are cards available at Rainbow Oaks
restaurant in Rainbow as well as the Senior Center in Temecula to take and
can be brought back there and they will be picked up.
If you need more, call or e mail me.
Thank you,
Jerri Arganda 
 Commission completes denial of quarry
The mine, which was hotly debated in Southwest County for the past six years, was expected to produce up to 5 million tons of aggregate rock material at maximum production.
The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner James Porras dissenting. The decision was reached after the commission went page by page through the draft copy of its denial findings.
Most of the changes were cosmetic ---- a changed word here, adding context there ---- but there was a more serious discussion related to the benefits of the project listed in the findings. After some debate, the commission scrubbed most mention of the benefits from the document.
Those benefits, the commission argued, should not be included because they couldn't be verified as fact. Nor did they reflect the commission's conclusions, which held that the project is incompatible with neighboring land uses and would be an environmental injustice against the county because most of the aggregate would be headed to San Diego County.
Petty said he didn't think there were any benefits that should be included in the commission's document.
"If it was up to me ... I'd delete all of the alleged benefits," he said.
Other members, however, felt the section should be reworked instead of scrapped. A compromise was reached: The section heading was changed so that it read, "benefits as listed in the (Environmental Impact Report) and by the applicant."
And many of the specific numbers were removed.
For example, instead of stating that the "mine would meet 40 percent of all Western Riverside County aggregate needs" the document now reads "the mine would meet some of Western Riverside County's aggregate needs."
After the 33 pages of findings were edited to their satisfaction, the commissioners voted on the denial. In a separate action, the panel decided not to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors explaining its rationale.
Instead, the individual members, if they so desire, will be sending letters that contain their thoughts on the project and the findings.
Commissioner John Petty made it clear that his letter would be quite lengthy, adding in his comments and information that was provided by the city of Temecula and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.
The tribe has said the mine would destroy land that is tied to its creation story. It has introduced legislation that would allow it to block mining projects near its sacred sites.
Granite officials met with tribal leaders in an attempt to address the tribe's concerns, but no agreement was reached.
No one from Granite spoke at the meeting.
Company spokeswoman Karie Reuther said earlier this week that Granite was looking forward to seeing the denial made final so it could appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors, which will have the final say.
The crowd for Wednesday's hearing numbered in the dozens, a far cry from the thousand-plus people who attended commission meetings that were held in Temecula earlier this year.
Fred Bartz, president of Clean Air Temecula, said he and the other folks who drove north for the meeting were happy with the outcome, which was clear by their applause after the vote
"I really thought they wanted to be very careful the proper benefits and conclusions were included in the draft," he said, talking about the commission's lengthy review of the denial findings.
Totaling the commission's various hearings and meetings, county planning staff determined that the commission listened to more than 50 hours of public testimony and received hundreds of pieces of mailed correspondence.
That information was boiled down in the findings so that what was included was the testimony that led the Planning Commission to their conclusions, said Matt Straite, a county project planner.
Reuther dismissed those conclusions in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, saying the commission's findings are not supported by the county's planning staff, technical reports and scientific studies.
"They all show the project would clearly benefit Riverside County with new jobs, additional revenue and cleaner air," she said.
According to the county's report on the project, trucks that now stream south through Riverside County to the San Diego market from quarries in the Corona area and other points north of Temecula/Murrieta would be removed from the county's roads, removing the pollution produced by those rigs.
Project opponents and members of the commission dispute that finding, saying it is based on flawed traffic studies and assumptions that might change when the market for aggregate changes.
During the meeting, Porras said he didn't give much weight to worrying about changing market forces, noting that all projects brought before the commission could see their business models or results change in the future.
Reuther said Northern California-based Granite is looking forward to having its appeal heard by the Board of Supervisors, which will conduct hearings allowing folks for and against the project to weigh in once again.
"It's as if the Planning Commission hearing never happened. Essentially, it all starts over," she said.
Granite project manager Gary Johnson said the appeal will be filed within a week.



Quarry Permit Denial Upheld

A decision to deny an application to build a mine near Temecula was upheld today.
The Riverside County Planning Commission voted 4-1 to uphold a decision it made in August to reject the plan to build Liberty Quarry, a 115-acre mine just south of the city. Commissioner Jim Porras was the lone dissenter.
For details about the project, click here. To read what the commissioners said before they rejected the plan, click here.
Officials from Temecula, the Pechanga Tribe of Luiseno Indians and Granite Construction gathered at the County Administration Center in Riverside today to watch the commission make their vote.
About a dozen people in the audience wore orange T-shirts and hats emblazoned with anti-quarry themes. One audience member wore a green "Friends of Liberty Quarry" shirt.
Commissioners made small changes to a document that describes the commission's findings and lays out the reasons for the rejection.
Today's vote makes the denial official, and Granite Construction officials are now able, if they choose, to appeal the decision.
Granite officials vowed earlier to fight the decision. To read about what they said, click here.
If they do, the decision will go to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors for a final vote.
"I don't agree with any of the language, even if it's modified," said Commissioner John Petty before the staff changed the document.
Commissioners found problems mostly with the "benefits" portion of the document, which outlines what the commission concedes are the projects benefits.
It made the project sound too beneficial, said Commissioner John Roth, and swaths were stricken from the document.
After the changes were made, the document won the approval of the City of Temecula, said City Attorney Peter Thorson.
"You've addressed all the concerns we had," he told the commission.
One audience member and local anti-quarry activist, Fred Bartz, approved of the changes. "We support your findings and hope you'll move forward with this," he told the commission.