On Dec 10, the Calaveras County Planning Commission voted to allow the asphalt plant to operate without a conditional use permit. Commission members ignored the recommendations from Jason Boetzer, the environmental health officer and Dr. Dean Kelaita, the county health officer. They disregarded county code 17.42.035 that requires a conditional use permit due to the quantities, type and method of use of hazardous materials that may have a significant impact on the environment.

They were unmoved by the possibility the asphalt plant will use almost a million gallons of diesel every year or the prospect of 150 loads of hot asphalt per day traveling 1.6 miles through a residential neighborhood.  Their vote allows operations to proceed with no means to discover how to mitigate impacts.

Within two miles of the plant are 2,047 homes. Assuming an average of 2.5 people in each home, 5, 117 people will be put at risk of breathing contaminants released into the air by burning diesel and hot asphalt.

Children playing outside on Silver Rapids Road will be exposed to 300 asphalt trucks barreling to and fro, one every two minutes. Residents will be subjected to noise, dirt, stench and traffic 24/7.

By relying solely on state and federal guidelines, the planning commission shirked its duty to address local conditions that present unique challenges. We spoke in favor of the conditional use permit to protect the health, safety and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors. Who is the planning commission protecting?

Janice Bassett 

Valley Springs

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