Board of Supervisors to rule on Santa Margarita quarry
February 13, 2015
By 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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