County Undoes Quarry Rejection, Critics Say
The Board of Supervisors today voted to certify an environmental impact report for a planned quarry near Temecula. The decision all but gives a green light to the project, critics say.
County officials today voted to certify an environmental impact report on a quarry planned near Temecula, and critics said the decision all but reverses a previous vote to reject the plan.
The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of certifying the document that Granite Construction, a Watsonville-based aggregate company, used as a basis for its application to build a mine on more than 400 acres just south of Temecula.
Jeff Stone and Bob Buster voted no on certifying the document. John Tavaglione, John Benoit and Marion Ashley voted yes.
When the board rejected the quarry, the vote was 3-2 in favor of rejecting. Tavaglione voted no on the quarry in February, but yes to certifying the document today.
The County Planning Commission also rejected the application last year, but the company appealed the decision, and the Board of Supervisors upheld the rejection in February.
Today's vote was expected to be a technicality to finalize the denial, and the handful of anti-quarry activists at the County Administrative Center during the vote were shocked.
"I just never imagined this would happen," said Jerri Arganda, a member of SOS-Hills, an activist group dedicated to stopping the quarry.
Certifying the report means if Granite decides to reapply for a permit, they will not have to make another report, which is a long, expensive process. The report cost Granite $10 million, according to Karie Reuther, a spokesperson for the company.
The certification means the county accepts the facts presented in the report and reliable. This means critics will be unable to cite problems with the report as their reason for urging the supervisors to reject the project.
"Our whole argument was that (the report) wasn't (reliable)," said Mike Naggar, Mayor Pro-tem for Temecula.
Other officials steeled themselves to launch another campaign of opposition against the plan. "This is a fight to kill. It was before, it still is now," said Mark Macarro, the Pechanga tribal chairman. "This project is a zombie. We thought we killed it... and it's alive again."
Temecula will likely sue the county for its decision, said Peter Thorson, the city's attorney. "We have no choice but to file a lawsuit, but that's just my recommendation," he said.
Granite ruled out taking legal action against the county earlier this year for rejecting the project, and company officials are still weighing their options, Granite spokesperson Reuther said.
"We haven't made any decision at all," she said after the meeting. "(The company's options) should be narrowed down in a couple months."
Tavaglione voted against the quarry as he voted for it.
I am in shock!!! There has to be something that can be done about this dishonesty!!
6:28 pm on Tuesday, May 15, 2012
If you had gone to the meetings, you could tell he pretty much was for it all the way. Tavaglione's wife is a teacher and he is voting from his personal perspective, not what is best for ALL residents. Now it is up to the Santa Ana Water Board and Camp Pendleton to hopefully put their foot up Granite's caboose!
This is a classic situation of the corporation with the big bucks that can even change a vote when they were defeated. When are the Republicans in Riverside County going to take a stand and say "No More!" Big bucks should not govern. Thanks to Jeff Stone and Bob Buster standing up for the people whose backyard is going to be defiled. Tavaglione should be voted out of office,