Board of Supervisors to rule on Santa Margarita quarry

February 13, 2015

los pilitasBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will choose whether or not to let two Santa Margarita residents construct a rock quarry on the outskirts of their town.

Project applicants Mike Cole and Steve Souza are appealing a county planning commission ruling against their project, attorney Sophie Treder told CalCoastNews. Trader is representing Cole and Souza, who are vying to build a 41-acre quarry that would produce up to 500,000 tons of rock a year on a property along Highway 58 about three miles outside of Santa Margarita.

On Feb. 5, the planning commission voted 3-2 to reject a conditional use permit that would allow Cole and Souza’s limited liability company, Las Palitas Resources, to construct the infrastructure for and to operate the quarry. The planning commissioners appointed by supervisors Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill and Frank Mecham voted against issuing the permit, while Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton’s commissioners cast the two votes in favor of the project.

The planning commission majority objected to potential truck traffic that the mining project could create. County planning staff said the quarry could generate up to 273 truck trips per day, although the applicants dispute that figure.

Opponents of the project argue that the trucks would create noise, endanger children who attend a nearby school, increase traffic and impede bicyclists.

If the board of supervisors rejects the planned quarry, the battle over the project could go to the courts. Some critics of the county suggest that officials are risking a viable lawsuit by denying the developers a permit.

The proposed location of the quarry is zoned for mining and has a state overlay deeming it prime property for a granite quarry. Also, the county does not have jurisdiction to control traffic on a state highway.

Hundreds of county residents attended a total of three planning commission hearings on the project. Speakers split almost evenly for and against the quarry.

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Methinks that the County of San Luis Obispo is going to run into some very costly litigation if they deny this request and it is subsequently appealed. The General Mining Act of 1872 will provide federal preemption of the BOS’s decision If the mining company wins, the citizens of SLO county will be on the hook for the bill. Our Supervisors need to seriously consider my pocketbook when they make these decisions.

For reference, consider the Oct 2014 appellate decision regarding the dredging ban in CA. The ban got kicked to the curb with the panel voting unanimously while citing numerous federal cases.

Lastly, for the folks that live in that area, mining & quarry work is nothing new for our county.

Dumb and Dumber will once again prove that they are!!!!!!

Could anyone give a link or url for specifics on the zoning in the rural Santa Margarita area? I went to the County’s site and was able to find zoning maps for Santa Margarita, but it did not go out past the residential section of Santa Margarita. And the zoning map of S.M. did have the various zones that were allowed, in downtown S.M., it appears that “industrial” zoning is not allowed, and Highway 58 is shown as a major arterial, until it gets close to the residential area.

Perhaps the suggestion that the quarry is in an area that it is zoned for is correct; if the entire operation were to take place on the site only, residents would not have too much of an issue with the operation. The fact that the very large trucks will be loaded to maximum allowable weight and driving through residential neighborhood streets, damaging the roadway and the relative calm of the area should be of a major consideration for permitting this quarry to operate. Since the other quarry has built a road for its’ trucks to use to avoid going through residential neighborhoods, why shouldn’t that be a stipulation for the operation of the new quarry?

Oh, absolutely, one of the first rules of house buying; make sure your neighborhood is not zoned for quarries. Right… Have you ever been on “I” Street in Santa Margarita? A tree-lined residential street…and they want to send 200+ semi trucks spewing gravel down that street? Ridiculous. It’s not fifty years ago, it’s now, and that scenario makes no sense (except to the greedheads, of course).

Preceding a reply to chocoholic

I’m going to find out where you live and put in a strip mine next door. See how you feel about it then.

That was a reply to abigchocoholic.

The planning commission majority objected to potential truck traffic that the mining project could create. County planning staff said the quarry could generate up to 273 truck trips per day, although the applicants dispute that figure.


And? What about it? How is this a reason for objection? The area is zoned for mining. That’s the whole purpose of zoning it for mining. Do industrial buildings not get built in industrial zones because it’ll create industrial traffic? Do commercial buildings not get built in commercial zones because of commerce traffic? Do residences not get built in residential zones because it’ll create residential traffic?

If you can’t quarry in a place specifically created for it, then where? If you don’t want to deal with the traffic from a quarry, here’s a suggestion—Don’t build your homes or schools in an area zoned for quarries.

Woah there… Tone it down a bit. You’re using logic to argue your point. Your opponents don’t care for that.

Besides, it’s not about what is fair, it’s about what they want.

And it doesn’t matter that they received the benefit of buying their homes for less (due to the proximity of a mining zone), what matters is that they don’t want one. And there are plenty of them, and only a couple of you, so they can steamroller whatever they want right over the top of you.

Whoa, there chocoholic. There is no truth in zoning law!

Industrial, commercial and residential developers get shot down all the time for proposing projects the comply with the zoning. Remember, this is SLO county and we have SLO growth. Only projects that are way below the allowed zoning have any chance of approval.