MADERA COUNTY — It was standing room only as supporters and opponents of Vulcan Materials’ proposed Austin Quarry packed the Board of Supervisors chamber and the overflow areas last night ahead of the Planning Commission’s vote on the project.
When the 6 p.m. meeting finally adjourned well after midnight, the Commission voted 3-2 to approve the 671-acre project, planned for the southwest corner of Highways 41 and 145.
The proposed Austin Quarry is hard-rock quarry and aggregate processing facility. The Commission approved the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the the mining and processing operation, the CUP for the reclamation plan, and a variance for the structure heights of the mining equipment, which will be about 70 ft. high.
Those who opposed the project now have 15 days to appeal the decision. Any member of the public has the right to file an appeal, which would then go before the Board of Supervisors. The Board would then give the public 10 days notice of the hearing of the appeal, and their decision would be final.
Opponents of the quarry have been very vocal over the past several years, citing their concerns over impacts on already low water levels, noise and air pollution, lowered property values and traffic problems caused by hundreds of large trucks daily on local roadways. Nearly two dozen opponents expressed those concerns to the Commission during last night’s six-hour meeting.
In a show of support, the board room was awash in blue shirts worn by those in favor the project, which Vulcan Materials says will generate approximately 125 new jobs in Madera County when the quarry is in full production, and would mean annual payments of approximately $250,000 in additional revenue, improvements along Highway 145 at the project entrance, and the purchase by Vulcan of two Type 6 Fire Engines for the Madera County Fire Department.
For details of the project from Vulcan Materials, please visit http://www.austinquarry.com/index.html
For details on the opposition to the project from the Madera Oversight Coalition, please visit http://www.noaustinquarry.org/
For all the documents filed with the County and the Final Environmental Impact Report, please visit http://madera-county.com/index.php/county-forms/category/773-austin-quarry-final-eir-06-2016