Dear Friends of Shollenberger,
Welcome back from the Pandemic Years of isolation. We’ve held Dutra’s toxic and noxious asphalt factory proposal at Shollenberger Park to a standstill since 2007, but Dutra is still trying to avoid complying with the regulations of the Final Environmental Report (FEIR).
All has been quiet for three years on the Dutra front until now and our blog has also been quiet too. It's time to rally our community and continue our work to preserve and protect Shollenberger Park from the pollution of the proposed Dutra Asphalt factory. Operating an asphalt factory on the banks of the Petaluma River 150 ft. from our wonderful Shollenberger Park is still “The Wrong Place Wrong Plant”.
Our blog will be your main source of information and with our new volunteer Lia to keep it up to date, I invite you to read it and pass it on to friends and neighbors. So many residents have moved to Petaluma during the Pandemic years - new families, young adults, retirees. Speaking to new parents at McNear Park babysitting my granddaughter, I discovered that many new residents know nothing about this threat to the healthy environment and open space that brought them to choose Petaluma. It's news to them that a noxious and toxic Asphalt Factory has been approved by the Board of Supervisors at the gateway to our CIty and County. We have been fighting to stop this project since 2007, 16 years - we’re a community that will not quit.
McNear Park and neighborhood, hundreds of Quarry Heights subdivision homes and McNear Landing homes are in close proximity to the Dutra factory site. Kaiser Medical center and many corporate headquarters are situated east of Shollenberger and will be directly impacted. Prevailing winds blow SE from the Dutra site over the park, towards the Adobe Creek Subdivision and Keller Estates vineyards. An air quality scientist pointed out to me looking across the river to Quarry Heights homes as we were walking the Shollenberger path: “I’ve never seen a wind that didn’t change direction. These homeowners should be concerned.” By-products of asphalt manufacture include toxic heavy metals that are not filtered and are not soluble. They will be carried by the wind and accumulate in the soil. 250 diesel trucks emitting noxious exhaust are permitted by the FEIR to arrive at the site daily. Blue Smoke (PAHs) will rise from trucks loaded with hot asphalt and is carcinogenic. Work can go on 24/7 for state and municipal projects with all night truck traffic, noise, and industrial lighting.
The FEIR (Final Environmental Impact Report) was certified in 2010 by a close 3-2 vote of the Supervisors. Thousands of residents opposed the factory approval, wrote letters, spoke at hearings, raised and donated money to litigate the decision. The City of Petaluma joined us in the lawsuit. Our City Council was unanimous in opposing this County approved project so close to our city limits. Although we lost in Superior court and also lost our appeal, we learned a valuable lesson. Courts do not like to undo what the Elected have approved. It is imperative to elect Supervisors who understand the value of clean air, open space, and wetlands. The current sitting Supervisors may be more tuned in to what is at stake if this asphalt factory is built. With asphalt factory fires among leading industrial fire sites nationwide, Dutra poses a clear and present danger for fire and toxic smoke to Petaluma.
Dutra has a "new plan" that excludes the original wetland restoration proposed and required in the original plan. Dutra now maintains that the project has no protected wetlands so does not need a Wetlands Permit (404 - Clean Water Act) as required by FEIR. Dutra wants this Condition of Approval (COA) removed because they can’t get their 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The RWQCB rejected Dutra’s application because asphalt production is not “water dependent” and therefore does not need to be located on a sensitive river and wetlands to be economically viable. They told Dutra find an alternative site.
As you will read in the attached letter form Tennis Wicks, Director of Planning, only the Supervisors can amend a COA for this project. The request must go back to the Board of Supervisors (BOA). The “New Project” is indeed new - and different - and must go through the CEQA process. The public has a right to scrutinize and comment on the “new”
project. The Supervisors must vote yea or nay on modifying the FEIR or might even require a new CEQA process to evaluate and approve or reject the “new project.”
Dutra is appealing Mr. Wick’s decision to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). They want the BZA to override the Planning Director. That’s where we come in - when this meeting is scheduled, we’ll be asking you to send emails and letters and to make phone calls in support of the Planning DIrector’s decision. We look forward to the current Supervisors’ review and evaluation of the Dutra factory.
It’s 2023 - all eyes are wide open to the urgency of saving our open space and preserving our river, park, our air quality and our safety and to protecting our community from unnecessary fire hazards.
You may be asked to write a letter, attend a hearing, and support our fundraisers to preserve and protect Shollenberger Park. Join our efforts, donate, and "Friend" us at Save Shollenberger Park FB page.
Friends of Shollenberger
The existing wetlands, factory layout, and the original extent of proposed wetlands restoration (as approved by Board of Supervisors 2010)
The new, so-called "Reduced Footprint" project layout, showing the proposal for much diminished wetlands restoration and 'protection' of existing [and degraded] wetlands.
Letter from Tennis Wicks Letter to Dutra