Santa Margarita quarry plan riles up county residents

December 12, 2014

LP-areamap-336At least 200 people attended a contentious San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission hearing Thursday on a proposed rock quarry near Santa Margarita.

Las Pilitas Resources, a limited liability company attempting to create the quarry, is planning a 41-acre mine that would produce up to 500,000 tons of aggregate annually. The proposed site of the mine is situated about three miles east of Santa Margarita on Highway 58.

At Thursday’s hearing, dozens of members of the public addressed the planning commission, many falling on both supporting and opposing sides of the project. After more than four hours of public comment, the planning commission opted to postpone its decision on the project.

Supporters of the proposal said the quarry, if built, would provide a boost for the local economy, lower the cost of road repairs and reduce emissions from transporting aggregate for long distances.

Opponents criticized the impacts on the town of Santa Margarita. One speakers wept during public comment because he said the quarry would put county residents at risk of contracting Valley Fever.

Other said it would ruin the sanctity of Santa Margarita. Many bicyclists also spoke in opposition to the project, saying trucks going to and from the quarry would disrupt their riding route.

Las Pilitas Resources says it would monitor truck traffic and only allow it at certain times of the day.

The planning commission will reconvene on Jan. 8 to take more public comment and come to a decision for or against the quarry. Any ruling made by the planning commission will likely get appealed to the board of supervisors.

Jorge Estrada

A rural county road with less than 1000 vehicle trips is a class 4 road, very low priority as the pecking order goes. It would be interesting to know what percentage of Highway 58 (also known as Laguna 58 by some) traffic, a 175 trucks would be? As far as safety goes, professionaltruck drivers are far safer.


The Quarry will be sending 120-273 gravel trucks down the main street of Santa Margarita every day they are open.

Would San Luis Obispo put up with gravel trucks down Higuera??????What about gravel dust from the trucks everywhere????

The number of trucks through Santa Margarita on a daily basis will make this town an industrial roadway, and no one industry should have the right to kill a town.


The 273 trucks a day figure is the average as disclosed by the final EIR. To put that in perspective that is a 70,000 pound diesel spewing dual dump truck in an 8 hour day EVERY 1.75 MINUTES FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS!


The Quarry owners have been arrogant about driving these trucks through the main street of Santa Margarita during the day. Why can’t they drive them through at night? Why can’t they send half of them up toward Atascadero to get onto 101?

You have a small company without any resources and they don’t care what they do to the town. A larger company would look at bypassing the town. These people are apparently convinced that they have the support from county officials to push this through. And if aggregate is so scarce. then why has the county turned down gravel operations along the Salinas River in the North County? How many jobs are they talking about–5 to 20?

This whole thing stinks of insider collaboration and corruption in the county government.

Downtown Bob

It is an #80,000 truck and the way it is distributed is to minimize wear and tear on roads and bridges.

There Is no way in hell, that there will ever be a truck going out of the rock quarry every one minute 45 seconds. There is not a rock quarry in San Luis, Santa Barbara, or Monterey county that can do that and certainly not a small quarry like this. That number is not possible.

Where is this rock going to go? It is going to go to your yard, house project, and road project to make it less expensive along with giving the folks that live near Santa Margarita potentially a job. 5-20 jobs…they all add up. Not everyone wants to work at the liquor store or the coffee shop. These are good paying living wage jobs we should be happy for,

I am just appalled that ,as a person who lives on 58 past the quarry, I have no many LA scumbag NIMBY and tight pants bike riders going ape on the issue of someone running a business harvesting rock for crying out loud. You folks are sick. Where do you think your houses were built. Where do you think the materials came from? Why do you think housing is so expensive here in San Luis?


Dear Downtown Boob,

The truck traffic every 1.75 minutes was calculated using the EIR number of 273 trucks trips was based mathematically on the fact that in an 8 hour day x 60 minutes in an hour = 480 minutes divided by 273 = 1.75 trips.

If the EIR that was PAID for by the applicant stating an AVERAGE of 273 trips is WRONG then PLEASE give the REAL number. That is ALL we have to go on. The final EIR numbers represent $HUNDREDS of THOUSDANDS of DOLLARS spent by both the APPLICANT and the SLO COUNTY STAFF. What else are we supposed to go on…

As far as the bicyclist goes, IMO, they have no business on ANY road that cannot provide the three foot clearance required in the new ridiculous law that has no provision for hindering the tax paying motoring public.

And the term NIMBY seems to be bantered about by those that projects like these are NOT in their back yard. Hell yes I don’t want something in my ‘back yard’ that grossly infringes on my peace and quiet for the profitability of a few.

And you claim to be a resident of Highway 58 that I presume to live further than the 3 miles out than the quarry, Those that ignore the 35 MPH speed limit through town at 70 MPH with no regard to kids in the crosswalk and rivaling the best NASCAR drivers once on 58,

And BTW the jobs at the liquor store and the coffee shop are not going to go away because the truckers STOP in the middle of 58 like it is their parking lot patronizing those businesses and sometimes blocking the fire station in entirety with no regard for the law not to mention exceeding the speed limit.

The bottom line is most opposed to the project vehemently object to the noise and excessive truck traffic that already has exceeded the threshold of acceptability BEFORE the quarry.

I am all for the argument for property owners rights but NOT when it infringes on their neighbors property rights of expected quiet enjoyment.

How about a compromising SOLUTION.



Downtown Bob

I am not associated with the project, I am just educating you that is would be impossible for them to ship out that many truck in a day. 273 would be close to 7000 tons of material. Not sure if Hanson or Calprtland has ever hit that before.

I live past 3 miles on family land that has been owned since the 60’s

I obey the speed limit in town and on 58. What’s your point? There are idiots driving out there most of the time it seems to be the ones you see pulling into their yuppie homes or meth heads.

I have seen truck delivering and buying stuff at the stores in margarita often. Sometimes in the middle lane (gasp) so what it is a sleepy town doesn’t hurt anything wtf do you care? Follow the rules is your response…well this town is a little more laid back than that craphole that you came from down south deal with it. Not once have I seen a truck blocking the fire station…ever! And I pay attention to that you are full of crap.

If you live off of 58 or ECR you knew it was a freaking highway, before you bought it, and the trucks will not be driving down the residential streets. Living on a State highway, despite what you thought, does not entitle you to your Oprah watching time to be utterly silent while the rest of the population if working during the middle of the day week days so get a grip NIMBY..


QUOTING DOWNTOWNBOB: “I am just appalled that ,as a person who lives on 58 past the quarry, I have no many LA scumbag NIMBY and tight pants bike riders going ape on the issue of someone running a business harvesting rock for crying out loud. You folks are sick. Where do you think your houses were built. Where do you think the materials came from? Why do you think housing is so expensive here in San Luis?”


“You folks are sick”? REALLY? How dare you. My first impulse was to reply to you with “And you, sir, are a doooshbag,” but I controlled myself. You might try that approach sometime.

There is NOTHING wrong with an American using the political corridors available to protect what they value about the area in which they live. Indeed, I encourage others to be proud of NIMBYism because it is a sign that Americans are still not intimidated sufficiently by big business interests (like the quarry) to remain silen.

Again, REALLY? How dare you demonize someone for speaking out on a development which they believe is harmful to their home and surrounding environment.

The demonizing of Americans using their rights to protest something they find harmful to their neighborhood is despicable, AND it stinks of someone far to involved in serving the likes of the proposed quarry–despite what you say.


WHY did the PC do an honest, good long hours job of listening? 4 hours? I mean, that’s their duty, GOOD JOB, but why not adopt the Gibson Plan, where you shush public comment, describe it as repetitive or not in your purview, and shush away (with an armed sheriff in the room) the ardent public that wants to testify?

Thank goodness they didn’t take a lesson from the Master and shut down public comment.

Downtown Bob

Using a bunch of BS arguments to keep a legal and worthwhile activity from taking place miles from your house because you crawled up from LA and now think you have the right to tell everyone else what you believe to be proper activities. Well, I happen to despise savor the central coast. Bet you love that event right? But then again I am not out trying to stop that because it may cause traffic or food scents from wafting towards my area. NIMBY people enjoy the benefits of having a place in Santa margarita while denying anyone else from progress on their own property.


For your consideration…Found this from Margarita Proud:

The truck trip numbers are just an average and some days will have less trucks and other busy construction days there will be very high numbers of trucks.

100% of all trucks would route through the school crossing and past residences on 58. ~ nearly all (80-90%) would go through the town of Margarita.

If they were to take business from Rocky Canyon and Hanson as they claim, there would be much higher numbers of trucks through Margarita, because Rocky Canyon trucks do not go through Margarita, and only 35-40% of Hanson trucks go through Margarita.

The develpoers say that we have an aggregate shortage and that the State Geologist says we could run out in a short time if new quarries are not permitted.

The State Geologist numbers do not count the aggregate resources that are in our existing quarries that are already earmarked for the future. They only count the current permitted phase. There is plenty of aggregate identified in our Specific Plans for existing quarries that can meet the future needs.

The developers say that the property is “zoned for mining”. They are referring to an Extractive overlay on a huge area within this region.

Many properties in the region have this EX1 overlay including Residential Rural parcels. Each site must be evaluated on a project by project basis to determine if it is appropriate to permit a mine based on existing uses nearby and the off-site impacts created throughout the community. An objective Staff Report has determined that this proposal is not appropriate for the proposed location.

Jorge Estrada

This parcel affronts State Highway 58, unlike the others and from the testimonies I saw on the live stream cast, it appears that Caltrans may have to post a sign, NOT SAFE FOR BICYCLISTS. It sounds very dangerous for any pedestrian traffic and it is unlikely that vehicles will ever be outlawed from any State Highway.

Only in California, do the Psycolists think they can outlaw trucks on a State Highway or doesa Local Gov claim authority over a State Gov jurisdiction inorder to show cause for denial.


I can’t speak for all cyclists, but the ones I know would not be opposed if Hwy 58 from the quarry to 101 was widened to include a substantial shoulder on each side. If the expense of doing that is too much, then the quarry is essentially asking others to abandon their interest in the road so that they can use it to increase their profits. That is the sort of corporate socialism that keeps me from trusting “free enterprise” too much.

Downtown Bob

Maybe the cyclists can buy their own lanes, the trucks pay huge sums of money into the highway system, practically support it since cars are secondary in funding. I would love to see a license required on bikes for recreational purposes and licenses required for recreational riding. They all have money for fancy clothes, expensive bikes, why not pay their fair share of maintaining things they enjoy right?


The reason trucks pay heavy license fees is that they do heavy damage to the roads due to their weight. (That is why the biggest part of a truck license fee is the weight fee.) A gravel truck towing 2 dump trailers with a vehicle weight of 20-80,000# creates road maintenance expenses that render insignificant the wear and tear caused by a 150-250# bike and rider combination.

Road construction fees are not sourced primarily from license fees. We all pay them. (Even if they were, I own 2 motor vehicle upon which I pay license fees. When I am riding my bike, I am not using them.)

Downtown Bob

Weight fees, and gas taxes highest in the nation here in Cali pay for roads. Without trucking, not only would you have no food or products, you would have no roads or highways because that it the essential reason for the highways as well as the funding. Buy a mountain bike like a real man then you can say you don’t need the roads.

Jorge Estrada

That is a good idea, how about requiring a CEQA review before converting our public roads and highways into an event forum. Since these recreational events place liabilities on licensed drivers and require improved shoulders, let the event developers fund their own review and mitigation?

Downtown Bob

I, for one, am sick of these lame bike events like tour de califonia. Special interests ruin the day for everyone except the Lycra wearing bloated ego and steroid using dirtbags to pedal past on closed roads while the rest of us are trying to make a dollar. Then to find out that our taxpayer money is used to provide at taxpayer expense security etc for them rubs salt in the wound. What a mess.


Has an environmental document been prepared yet? All the concerns voiced by the community will be addressed as well as all the CEQA requirements.

The public review period will afford the interested parties to provide all of their input.

Jorge Estrada

So far the quarry opponents have force the applicants trucking company to relocate from across the highway from the proposed quarry site to the middle of town in Santa Margarita.

On his rural ranch property, Cole Farm Trucking had an 18 year non-conforming use. In retaliation to his quarry application, someone noticed the county to initiate an enforcement action. This action resulted in the relocation of his trucking company to land that is zoned for such use.

It appears that our stringent zoning laws have provided Santa Margarita with more local industry and it appears that there will be more to come.


I am a firm believer that property owners should be able to do with their property as they see fit. If the 200 opponents thought that a quarry would be so devastating to their community, perhaps they should have pooled their resources to purchase the property and setup a conservancy?

Is this 41-acre property going to ruin all of highway 58 so that the spandex-clad cyclists no longer have anywhere to pedal? No.

Will this operation create a valley fever pandemic? No.

Will trucks add to road-wear? Duh, but who cares? The increased revenue from direct taxation of the quarry and indirect taxation of the increased economy can be used to fill in a pot hole or two.

Grow up Santa Margarita. We all hear you selfishly crying “not in my back yard”.


Wow, way to throw your owner card out there. Duh ! We care about the road wear. Obviously you don’t share the road, and obviously you don’t care anything about this area or respect any one who lives here. All about the $$ Cha-chingy. JMO


Where do you live? I ask because I’d like to open a strip mine, and think proximity to your home might be the best location.


Makes no sense to allow this quarry when you have two quarries back to back in the same area. The truck traffic on that 2 lane road would be devastating to the residents as well as increased road wear. Just saying.

Downtown Bob

That is like saying you don’t want a coffee shop in town, since there is a peets and a Starbucks in town? Where is your hate for big corporations and hometown business?


A third quarry will not generate more demand, nor more trucks. It will provide a pricing competition, free enterprise, which functions well wherever it is used. The demand for aggregate is mostly inelastic and economy driven. Lower prices, better roads, lower taxes, better shoulders for the cyclists. Everybody wins when NIMBY’s don’t get to block free enterprise.


If the third quarry wouldn’t generate more demand or truck trips then how would it be

creating any jobs? If it’s just competition with the existing quarries then wouldn’t the

third quarry just be causing a redistribution of the jobs and truck trips from the existing quarries to the new quarry?