Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
“Dear Sonoma County Planning Commission,
Please consider potential noise impacts to the breeding success of this critically endangered species prior to amending noise restrictions currently in place.
The linear marshlands along the Petaluma River upstream from Ellis Creek to the Petaluma Marina also support the state-threatened California Black Rail (Latterallus jamaecensis cortuniculus). This species could also be negatively impacted by increased noise pollution and industrial activity at this location.
Thank you for your attention to this issue.”
Jules Evens, Principal
Avocet Research Associates
"...these (egret and heron nesting) sites may be subsequently abandoned in response to changes in the frequency or intensity of human activity. Therefore...noise, artificial lights, conveyer activity...are likely to increase the risk of abandonment."
John P. Kelly PhD
Director, Conservation Science and Habitat Protection
Audubon Canyon Ranch
Bob Dyer – Senior Docent / Petaluma Wetlands Alliance
Press Democrat Article 2/21/08
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The forum will consist of presentations on health-related issues, followed by a question-answer period. All of the members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will be invited, along with several other people, including representatives of Dutra and the people who prepared the final environmental impact report.
The forum will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Petaluma Community Center in Lucchesi Park, at 320 N. McDowell Blvd.
Help spread the word by printing and distributing this flyer
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Verbiage from their Agenda reads:
"Consideration of approval of a letter to be sent to all Sonoma County cities and the County of Sonoma expressing the City of Sebastopol's position that decisions made by the elected bodies of the cities within the County with regard to issues within their respective sphere's of influence or urban growth boundaries be respected by the County of Sonoma (Mayor Gurney)"
Encourage the rest of Sonoma County to follow Sebastopol's lead!
Sonoma Mayor - Ken Brown
Cotati Mayor - John Guardino
Rohnert Park Mayor - Amie Breeze
Santa Rosa Mayor - Susan Gorin
Windsor Mayor - Robin Goble
Healdsburg Mayor - Eric Ziedrich
Cloverdale Mayor - Joe Palla
Monday, February 23, 2009
Written comments submitted by this Thursday (2/26) will be included in the packet submitted to the planning commissioners, but comments will be accepted up until the March 5th hearing. Email your statements to Steve Padovan: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department has received application PLP04-0046 from Dutra Group, et. al., requesting:
1) A General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation on APN’s 019-320-022 and 023 from Limited Commercial to Limited Industrial;
2) A General Plan Text Amendment;
3) An Area Plan Amendment to the Petaluma Dairy Belt Area Plan to change the land use designation on the above parcels from Limited Commercial to Limited Industrial;
4) A Zone Change on these same parcels from LC (Limited Commercial), HD (Historic District), SR (Scenic Resources), SD (Scenic Design), F2 (Floodplain) to M3 (Limited Rural Industrial);
5) A Use Permit for an asphalt batch plant, aggregate distribution facility and recycling operation with a maximum output of 665,000 tons per year; and
6) A Design Review Permit for a new industrial operation along a Scenic Corridor and in a scenic design area on three parcels totaling 38 acres located at 3355 Petaluma Boulevard South, Petaluma; Supervisorial District No. 2.
At the February 3, 2009 Board of Supervisors public hearing, the Board referred a proposed General Plan text amendment not previously considered by the Planning Commission back to the Planning Commission for consideration and recommendation to the Board. The proposed General Plan text amendment would add a General Plan Planning Area Policy to allow the project to exceed the noise standards contained in Table NE-2 of the General Plan Noise Element.
The Sonoma County Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on March 5, 2009 at 1:40pm to consider and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on the above referenced General Plan Policy. The public hearing will be limited solely to the above referenced General Plan Policy and will not include review of any other aspects/merits of the project or associated environmental impacts.
If you challenge the decisions on the project in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues previously raised at the hearing or in written form prior to or at the hearing.
Written comments should be submitted to Steve Padovan: email@example.com , Permit and Resource Management Department, 2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. 707.565.1352.
Friday, February 20, 2009
As you may have noticed, the Dutra Group has begun to spend a significant amount of money on local print media and web presence to publicize their "claims". Do you think they are worried? Their national record of violations, fines, and court orders tell us that they are not a “good neighbor.”
MYTH vs. FACT
Dutra describes the construction of this plant as a “relocation.”
Haystack Landing is a new large plant. Dutra’s temporary small operation was shut down Nov. 1, 2007 by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) for operating without a permit and failing Best Available Control Technology (BACT).
Dutra claims the proposed site is an “industrial” area.
The Haystack Landing parcels would have to be rezoned from commercial to “industrial” to accommodate the plant, with amendments to the recently adopted Sonoma County General Plan.
Dutra claims "[The Dutra Haystack Landing Project] is subject to more than 140 conditions ... that will ensure protection of air quality, the ecology of the Petaluma River, aesthetics and the environment."
Dutra has a record of non-compliance in Petaluma and in Marin Co. (See Marin Co. Grand Jury Report). BAAQMD has issued numerous violations to Dutra in Petaluma for noxious emissions.
Dutra claims they are interested in protecting our “aesthetics.”
Two 70 ft. storage silos and a large industrial plant would greet visitors to Sonoma Co. and Shollenberger Park. They would create a negative, stunning sight adjacent to the ‘view corridor’ protected by Measure D in 1998 by a super majority of Sonoma’s voters, as well as across from Shollenberger Park.
Dutra claims their normal operating hours are “7am-5pm, Monday through Friday.”
Use Permit allows 24/7 operations for Cal Trans and other government projects, their target customers.
Dutra claims emissions from the plant “will be contained.”
Fugitive blue gases outside the plant (carcinogenic PAHs) will enter the air from trucks loaded with hot asphalt. Diesel exhaust from these trucks, loading every 3 minutes, all day long, is a health hazard to nearby residents, visiting school children at Shollenberger Park, and wildlife. The risks to the public are too great and Dutra's record of noncompliance is of great concern.
Dutra claims noise from the operations “will also be contained.”
The EIR states that noise levels to sensitive receptors (people) using Shollenberger are unacceptable and cannot be mitigated. As loud as a rock concert (112 decibels).
Dutra claims this project has undergone extensive “review and public comment.”
Were you involved?
You decide who is telling the truth. Who would profit from this project? Who would lose?
~ Save Shollenberger Park
~ Protect Petaluma’s health
~ Stand up for local business
Help us win this fight. DONATE NOW. Every dollar will go toward combating this misinformation and funding the upcoming legal challenge. Thank you for your support!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 7:27 p.m.
For many years, the city of Petaluma’s economic stimulus strategy has focused on our unique environmental and ecological attributes along the Petaluma River.
The city, working with the Coastal Conservancy, Sonoma County Open Space District, National Parks Services, private companies and non-profit organizations, has invested millions of dollars to build eco-tourism and attract environmentally friendly businesses to Petaluma. The proposed Dutra asphalt batch and recycling plant puts this huge investment at risk that more than 150,000 people visit and enjoy annually.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has indicated they are prepared to amend the Sonoma County General Plan land use and text, amend the Petaluma Dairy Belt Area Plan, rezone property, authorize a Design Review Permit for a new industrial operation along a scenic corridor and in a scenic design area and approve a conditional use permit to accommodate this project.
The county has spent millions of dollars on these planning documents, products of extensive public input. In order to make changes to these plans, there should be overwhelming public support. Not only is there a lack of public support, the Petaluma City Council is unanimously opposed to this proposal.
The intent of the Sonoma County General Plan is to protect and enhance the gateway to Sonoma County and the city of Petaluma. The visual impacts of the asphalt plant’s two 70-foot asphalt emission stacks and storage silos cannot be overcome through mitigation. These emission stacks are not what Sonoma County residents ever envisioned for the entrance to the wine country or historic downtown Petaluma.
Don Bennett, Supervisor Mike Kerns’ appointee to the Sonoma County Planning Commission, unfortunately is misinformed about the level of scrutiny the Petaluma City Council and I as mayor of Petaluma have applied to studying the impacts of this proposal. Much information was analyzed and vetted, including air quality impacts.
The threshold for diesel emission impacts is calculated with a level of significance of one (1.0). This project reaches a level of .97. This impact is calculated from property line to property line. I am chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Manage-ment District, and we see an increase in situations where a use, such as an asphalt plant, is proposed in an area where the project’s impact alone may not be significant, but the cumulative impacts of the surrounding uses create a significant health risk. Because this project is located adjacent to one of the largest diesel particulate generators — Highway 101 — and other businesses, this project, in a cumulative analysis, would have a significant air quality impact.
The health risks for diesel emissions are analyzed over long-term exposure versus acute or short-term impacts. Adjacent businesses, recreational and wetland areas will be impacted on a daily basis.
Mr. Bennett discounts the overwhelming public opinion against the plant with: “All this despite the fact that Dutra has been operating a less environmentally friendly plant in the same area for a great long time without a single protest or evidence of pollution.” This is simply not true.
Actually, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Man-agement District records, Dutra’s asphalt operation has not operated since Nov. 1, 2007. They were shut down by BAAQMD after receiving two notices of violation because they were operating without a permit and they failed to meet Best Available Control Technology (BACT). In addition, since 2000 Dutra has received a variety of notices of violations from BAAQMD.
The findings required to amend the Sonoma County General Plan cannot be made to allow this project to be constructed in this location. The residents of Sonoma County want a sign saying, “Welcome to Petaluma and Sonoma County, a green, sustainable place to live, work and visit,” not “Welcome, please ignore the 70-foot asphalt emission stacks.”
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/SaveShollenberger/ and sign our on-line petition to let the Board of Supervisors know you’re against this plan.
Let your voice be heard! The final approval is March 24th. Contact the Board of Supervisors demanding them to join the Petaluma City Council with a “No” vote on this proposal.
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
First District Supervisor - Valerie Brown
Second District Supervisor – Mike Kerns
Fourth District Supervisor – Paul L. Kelley
Fifth District Supervisor – Efren Carrillo
(Supervisor Shirlee Zane has come out against this proposal)
Help fund the legal fight against this travesty by giving to our partner The O.W.L. Foundation, a Sonoma County group dedicated to preserving our precious land and water resources.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW
4. Spread the word.
Help us get the word out. Email, Facebook, Community Outreach…the key to our success will be raising awareness and education on this topic. Email us if you’d like to be part of our efforts: SaveShollenberger@Gmail.com
There is strength in numbers. Please stand with us at the public meetings and hearings to let the members know there’s a growing community against this proposal. Click on this link for a meeting calendar: http://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/saveshollenberger%40gmail.com/public/basic
Thank you for your support and participation!
-Friends of Shollenberger
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The real sounds of Industry (not a 'contained' plant)
Fire at asphalt plant, July 15, 2008
Truck driver's view: Arriving at Irwindale CA Asphalt Plant for pick up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P286V90xh0o
Getting an asphalt load, Irwindale (The EIR does not address worker safety)
Uncontained Plant: watch what follows the untarped trucks down the road
Crushing concrete at plant
Rock and concrete crushing, full volume
Rock crushing plant, concrete, more sounds of industry
Dr. Paul Damian reviews the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the DUTRA San Rafael Rock Quarry
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
YOU SOLD US DOWN THE RIVER
Let Mr. Kerns know how you feel: firstname.lastname@example.org
MIKE KERNS, PETALUMA’S 2ND DISTRICT SUPERVISOR voted for big business Dutra Co. and against the will of his own district in a straw vote approving the Asphalt Plant at Haystack Landing. If Mike had opposed the project it is unlikely the other Supervisors would have imposed their will over our District.
Despite hundreds of citizens and their children attending the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors hearing yesterday and 3000 signatures on petitions opposing the project, Mike chose to side with Dutra and their friends in the construction industry wanting cheaper asphalt.
Mothers, teachers, docents, artists, homeowners, business owners, and environmentalists presented fact filled testimony about the impact of an asphalt plant. They spoke of concerns about their family’s health, the visual beauty and serenity of Shollenberger Park, the valuable educational asset of a wildlife and wetlands preserve so close to our population center, the accessibility of Shollenberger Park to people with disabilities and life threatening diseases, and the negative impact of an asphalt plant on the image of Petaluma and Sonoma County as a healthy, green, and sustainable place to live, work, and visit.
Mike tossed out a laundry list of additional mitigations to make the plant safer, a short list that would only be added to the over 130 mitigations already attached to the FEIR for the Dutra project. The ability of the City and County to monitor and enforce these mitigations seems doubtful considering their limited resources. This list was handily accepted by the other yea voters with minimal discussion: Efren Carrillo, Paul Kelley, and Valerie Brown. They acted as if they had reviewed the list prior to the meeting, and orchestrated Mike’s presentation to appear responsive to the public’s overwhelmingly anti-Dutra position.
Although Efren Carrillo stated that for now he would vote yes, he at least wanted questions about the project’s water usage as well as its relationship to water table levels answered.
Kerns stated in his closing remarks that 4 years ago he anticipated the problems and questions being raised by the public now, so he held extensive meetings with County Staff and Dutra to work them out. But he never bothered to consult with the City of Petaluma nor with the residents who are affected by the Dutra Plan.
SUPERVISOR SHIRLEE ZANE
Shirlee Zane was the only Supervisor who spoke up against the project and voted no. She defended the County General Plan’s vision of Sonoma County and the concerns of Petaluma, its 2nd largest city. She noted that cumulative air quality impacts were not evaluated in the FEIR, and that these would be significant and unavoidable. She stated that Sonoma County’s goal to attract Green Business would be undermined and the long-term economic impacts of locating an asphalt plant at the Gateway to the County were not dealt with in the FEIR. She noted that in order to approve this project the Supervisors would have to amend the General Plan, a plan that was just adopted a few months ago and was the product of extensive public input.
That was supposed to be your job Mike, to defend your District.
There’s still time to stand with your community – Think hard.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Join us in Santa Rosa at 2pm!
Email the Supervisors, urging them to vote "NO" on this proposal:
First District Supervisor - Valerie Brown
Second District Supervisor – Mike Kerns
Third District Supervisor – Shirlee Zane
Fourth District Supervisor – Paul L. Kelley
Fifth District Supervisor – Efren Carrillo
Attend the Meeting:
Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Location: Supervisors' Meeting Room
Street: 575 Administration Drive, Suite 100 A
City/Town: Santa Rosa, CA
Sunday, February 1, 2009
former City Council member
founder, Petaluma River Council
This is a very noxious and dangerous project from Dutra Group, proposing a large asphalt batch plant and recycling facility (650,000tons/yr total production) along the banks of the Petaluma River, directly opposite the well-loved and highly used Shollenberger Park (marsh restoration, trails, national Audubon Society ranking as one of the top 4 new birding sites in the country a couple of years ago, outdoor classroom, research area), and adjacent to a 6 year old thriving egret/heron rookery in eucalyptus trees on the Dutra site itself. The Park itself is used by over 150,000 visitors annually, and would suffer permanent damages from this location and operations as proposed.
There are a huge number of unmitigable significant impacts of the project. On Jan. 26th, at the Petaluma City Council meeting, over 30 people spoke against it (including several from San Pedro Rd. Coalition in San Rafael), out of a crowd of 80 or so people. No one spoke in favor. The council unanimously agreed to send a strong letter to the Supes: fix all the problems, and totally enclose all the operations, and prevent hazards to navigation - or deny approvals. Opposition and doubting questions about the project come from the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance, Madrone Audubon, SCCA, PRC, Friends of Shollenberger Park & Clean Air (a new, ad hoc group doing tremendous outreach), Petaluma Health Care District, businesses, school groups, etc etc. See links at: http://savesbpark.blogspot.com/
The County PRMD staff and Supervisor Mike Kerns have not held any public meetings in Petaluma during the 4 year development of the project, and Mike Kerns declined an invitation to even come to the last Council meeting. It’s been said that many of the Superevisors are viewing this as a case of emotional, complaining Petalumans, who don't understand that this is really just an old industrial dredge spoils site with a path and a bunch of birds, and is in a traditionally (ugly, dirty) old river area, and who are just being NIMBY's for an asphalt plant which we all need, and which helps take truck traffic off the road and is a new employment site [at most 10 people], and who just don't understand the facts about how Dutra will be a good and responsive neighbor, and will not deliver any dirty, smelly air because the plant is 'totally enclosed.'
Most Petalumans are disgusted and very frustrated by this, and very few people even knew about this project until the last few weeks, when p.r. and outreach has ramped up virally.
Attorney Mike Lozeau was hired in October to provide comments on 12/8 to the Supervisors, on air quality errors and omissions of the FEIR. The project returns to the Supervisors next Tuesday, 2/3. We found that most of the FEIR's air quality impacts were grossly understated. For instance, no accounting for PM2.5 particulates. Truck traffic understated by a factor of 4. Barge traffic, noise, lights, runoff, diesel and blue smoke all understated, as we examined the EIR's own data.
We are left with significant toxic and noxious releases of blue smoke (PAH) and diesel fumes. David Keller took a tour, courtesy of and with Aimi Dutra and Brian Peer, to a 'model' plant in Irvine, owned by All American Asphalt, in November. Dutra presents this as their model 'neg. air pressure enclosed loading tunnel' for the trucks, ('state of the art') which is purported to cure all leakage of blue smoke and diesel fumes during loading. However, it leaked blue smoke and diesel fumes/particulates like a sieve, sickening one of the party who waited 1/2 hour in the parking lot for us to arrive from the airport, parked some 225' or so from the exit of the tunnel. No trucks were tarped (even though this is under the South Coast AQMD), leaving a trail of blue smoke down the road and canyon to Irvine. As Aimi and the rest of the group opened the car door when they arrived and parked about 200' from the tunnel exit, they were hit with heavy asphalt smells/smoke, causing Aimi to exclaim, "What's that? that's not supposed to happen! there must be something going on here."
There are also significant problems remaining with extreme noises + background noises, uncontained dusts and silicates from their crushing operation (outdoors, with outdoor exposed storage of aggregates), lights, permitted 24/7 operation (during high demand periods, e.g. CalTrans), unclear impacts to fish from drafting of Pet. River water for dust control, high truck activity (up to 750 trucks per day, ie, up to 1500 trips/day) and other aspects of poor asphalt manufacturing and recycling activities.
Most disturbing, this 40-50 year project (lifespan) occurs 2-300' from the trails of Shollenberger Park, and on the shore of the River - with prevailing winds blowing toxics and noxious smells directly across to envelop walkers, runners, bird watchers, families, school visits, research, recuperating patients and staff from Kaiser, eco-tourists, and the hundreds of workers in nearby office parks, (including PRBO's new national hq), many of which located there to be adjacent to the trails, vistas and tranquility of Shollenberger and the River. The City has spent well over $1M to work on trails and restoration of tidal marsh habitat in this former (and partially still used every 4-5 years) dredge spoils site. The restoration is proving extremely successful, attracting over 150 species of birds noted so far. It is adjacent to the Allman Marsh (purchased with Open Space funds) and the soon to be opened new municipal WWTP, with extensive new polishing wetlands and ponds and nature trails. This is truly a regional and national site for birding and marsh studies. On the north end of the Dutra property itself is a grove of eucalyptus which has become a successful rookery for egrets and herons over the past 6 years.
The operations and buildings would be placed within 70' of the grove (closest building would be the very peaceful new firehouse for the San Antonio Vol. Fire Dept), and John Kelley of Audubon Canyon Ranch's Cypress Grove Field Station (a national expert on egrets/herons) has testified that Dutra's activities will very likely cause abandonment of this education and birdwatching destination rookery.
Additionally, Dutra is also showing a mooring location for their 200' barges and 60' tugs along their bank in a location and position that is undoubtedly going to interfere with safe passage of Jerico Dredging's tugs and barges, as well as rowers and competitors in regattas, past this narrow and curved reach of the river. Jerico hauls their own oyster shell products, and aggregates for themselves and also over 1M tons/year for Shamrock's B.C. -originated rock (Polaris Co.), which Shamrock is using to displace Russian River aggregate. Dutra's mooring goes far into the channel, and probably would not fit within the length of their river frontage as well. Jerico wants the barge/tug mooring to be cut further inland into the parcel, but there may not be enough space on Dutra's property to do that. SoCo PRMD still has not even talked with Jerico's owners, who are the most experienced tug pilots on the river. They're waiting for the Corps to say something, which they of course won't do until there's a permit application, which won't happen until after the Supes approve Dutra's EIR and permits, zoning and land use changes, and GPlan amendment.
This proposed project is pushing the envelope of what California Asphalt plants are doing. It's not anywhere enough, and cannot be allowed to be built (especially by Dutra) in this very sensitive and popular location. It should be totally enclosed, navigational hazards must be eliminated, as well as and stormwater runoff, or it should be denied.