Dutra Just Can’t Fit Their Big Foot Into Cinderella’s Glass Slipper

The Noise Report on Dutra’s proposed asphalt plant is in. The PRMD Staff reports that the Dutra Asphalt Plant Barge Docking and Unloading Activities will produce noise levels that exceed the allowed limits set by the General Plan. This excessive noise level cannot be mitigated. It is 14 dBs above the existing ambient noise. The human ear perceives every increase of 10 dBs as twice as loud. So the project will create a public noise nuisance, which the General Plan had the forethought to restrict, but this restriction is being tossed aside.

The Dutra Asphalt Plant project has been seeking approval based on touting the environmental advantages of barging their aggregate to the site (which may or may not be a reality due to navigation issues on the river.) Seems like barging and unloading aggregate is Dutra’s Achilles heel. Despite all possible mitigations, despite the County Staff averaging decibel levels instead of looking at maximum levels, and despite the absence of any scientific analysis of the effect of loud noise and unmeasured frequencies of noise on wildlife, they still can’t make their project fit this site. The noise levels at three locations in Shollenberger Park, including the viewing pier opposite the heron and egret colony’s nesting grove of Eucalyptus trees, exceeds the allowable level.

Just like Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters, Dutra is trying to shove its foot into our glass slipper, Shollenberger Park. But we all know how the fairytale goes: the ugly sisters try cutting off some toes, pushing, pulling and tugging with the help of their servants – but still the slipper won’t fit. 143 mitigations later, the Dutra Asphalt Plant still won’t fit at Haystack Landing. The noise factor just won’t shut up and go away.

But Staff is ingenious, and proposes inventing a new policy LU-19i to exempt Dutra’s Barge off-loading facility from the General Plan’s noise level requirements, and give them their own special levels. Wouldn’t that be lovely if every owner of every asphalt plant proposed in Sonoma County from now on could emit as much noise as requested by the applicant...and the public peace be damned?

According to Dutra supporters we need this asphalt plant in the South County, presumably to give them an advantage at winning the 101 Narrows Project. But the Dutra EIR states there is more than sufficient production capacity from the three existing plants in Sonoma and Marin Counties and I quote:

“… Based on these plant locations, it appears that the region’s needs would still be met for asphalt production and recycling without the proposed project.” Dutra EIR

Once the new policy LU-19i is in place it sets a precedent for the next company who wants to locate an asphalt plant near the next road project. Will we be told we need an asphalt plant near every job site to deliver cheap asphalt? Imagine plants at the city limits of each of Sonoma County’s cities making excessive noise. All duly and ”lawfully” recommended by our Planning Commissioners and approved by our Supervisors. That’s how you make the shoe fit, when it doesn’t. You change the rules. You stretch the shoe.

It’s still the “Wrong Plant and Wrong Place!” Write your elected official to stop this General Plan Amendment.

Joan Cooper


Popular posts from this blog

Regional Water Quality Control Board Ruling

Community Health Forum Announced

Dutra's Track Record - History in Miami, Florida