As promised, the proponents of a new gravel quarry near Santa Margarita have appealed to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors the recent rejection of the project by the county Planning Commission.
In its appeal, Las Pilitas Resources said the Planning Commission’s Feb. 5 reasons for rejecting the project were not supported by the facts in evidence. They also contend that the commission erred by not considering the importance of the mine’s aggregate supplies to the region.
“Many of the findings amount to unsubstantiated conjecture and are based on inaccuracies and misunderstandings about the project that were presented by staff and others,” the appeal stated.
Ellen Carroll, county environmental coordinator, said it will take planning staff several weeks to respond to the issues raised in the appeal. No hearing date has been set.
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Opponents contend that the nearby Hanson and Rocky Canyon Quarry mines can supply the region with its gravel needs. They claim that it is the wrong project in the wrong location.
Tamara Kleeman, an opponent who lives near the proposed mine site, said she is expecting a large crowd at the appeal hearing. Several groups are opposed to the project including a group of Santa Margarita residents called Margarita Proud.
The project calls for establishing an aggregate mine on 41 acres of hilly, chaparral-covered land four miles east of Santa Margarita just north of Highway 58. The mine would annually produce as much as 500,000 tons of crushed granite rock that could be used for road building and other construction work.
The proposed mine has sparked intense controversy in Santa Margarita. When they denied the project, a majority of the planning commissioners cited concerns about traffic and safety associated with the hundreds of daily truck trips through the town the mine would generate.
The project was the subject of three emotional Planning Commission hearings. At those hearings, opponents said the mine is poorly planned and sited and threatens the safety, character and livability of Santa Margarita.