Editor’s note: Dr. Dean Kelaita, the Calaveras County health officer, sent this letter to the Calaveras County Planning Commission before the commission was scheduled to consider whether to require proponents of an asphalt plant near Valley Springs to obtain a conditional use permit for the plant. Kelaita concluded that a conditional use permit is needed to address risks to public health. A majority of commissioners disagreed with Kelaita. The commission voted 4-1 on Dec. 10 that it intends to allow the plant to operate without a conditional use permit. The commission was expected to formalize this decision on Thursday.

To: Calaveras County Planning Commission

From: Dean Kelaita, M.D., health officer

RE: Recommendation that the proposed asphalt plant at the Hogan Quarry be subject to a conditional use permit

Date: Dec. 7, 2015

The installation and operation of a hot mix asphalt plant at Hogan Quarry in Valley Springs will involve the use of a variety of hazardous materials that may have a significant effect on the environment and public health. After review of the plan for the plant in the M2 zone, Environmental Management Agency staff analysis and briefings and the subsequent follow up materials submitted by the asphalt plant applicants, the potential for significant impacts and risks to the public have not been addressed to my satisfaction.

In summary, after reviewing the plan and the additional information submitted, my determination is that the proposed asphalt plan poses a risk to the public health due to the insufficient description of the safeguards to be used to prevent unintended environmental effects from the types and quantities of substances used in this type of facility.

As Calaveras County health officer, it is my determination at this time that the proposed asphalt plant to be operated at the Hogan Quarry involves hazardous materials that have the potential for significant environmental and public health effects. I recommend the application to be subject to a conditional use permit before being allowed to move forward.

Dean Kelaita, M.D.

Calaveras County health officer, Public Health Services

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