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Proposed Rock Quarry Sparks Debate

MADERA COUNTY – A new rock quarry proposed at the intersection of Highways 41 and 145 has been the subject of much debate over the past few years, with residents concerned about increased truck traffic, noise and dust pollution, huge ground water usage and lowered property values.

The Austin Quarry Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is now available for public review. The 45-day public review period will commence on Oct. 21, and end on Dec. 5.

Hard copies of the Revised Draft EIR can be acquired for a fee ($100). The document is available on compact disc at no charge at the Madera County Board of Supervisors, 200 West 4th Street, Madera, California, or by contacting the County Planning Department at (559) 675-7821.

Project Description

CalMat Co., dba Vulcan Materials Company, West Region (Vulcan or Applicant), proposes to develop a hard rock quarry and associated operations in Madera County. The proposed Austin Quarry Project (Project) would excavate, process, and distribute hard rock aggregate material, and would include facilities and operations for the production and sale of asphalt, the acceptance and processing of recycled asphalt for use in Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP), and the acceptance and processing of recycled concrete for use in base products. The Project also includes a reclamation plan to provide for use of the site following the completion of quarry excavation.

The Project site is located on 671 acres in an unincorporated area of Madera County, approximately 12 miles east of the City of Madera and approximately 8 miles north of the City of Fresno (see map below). The Applicant is requesting the following entitlements from the County:

1) Zone Change of a total combined area of 348 acres of the quarry and plant sites from ARE‐40 (Agricultural, Rural, Exclusive, Forty Acre District) to QMD (Quarry, Mining, Drilling);

2) Conditional Use Permit to allow for the mining and processing of a hard rock deposit at a maximum sales rate of 2.5 million tons per year for a 100‐year time frame on approximately 348 acres; the production and sale of asphalt; the acceptance and processing of recycled asphalt for use in Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP); and the acceptance and processing of recycled concrete for use in base rock products;

3) Conditional Use Permit (separate from above) for reclamation of the site following completion of mining in accordance with a Reclamation Plan that would establish agriculture and open space for future uses including, but not limited to, dry land cattle grazing and wildlife habitat; and

4) Findings Necessary for Cancellation of Williamson Act Contracts for 207 acres comprising the plant site, entrance road, and berm area; Phase 1 mining area; stormwater retention/groundwater recharge and freshwater storage basin and stockpile area (located in the Phase 6 quarry area); haul road; and water conveyance facilities.

Potentially Significant Impacts

The Revised Draft EIR identifies the following environmental issue areas as having potentially significant environmental impacts from implementation of the Project:

• Aesthetics
• Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases
• Biological Resources
• Cultural Resources
• Geology and Soils
• Hazards and Hazardous Materials
• Hydrology and Water Quality
• Noise
• Traffic and Transportation

Public Review

Madera County is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lead agency for the Project. The County circulated a Draft EIR for the Project in 2012. In consideration of comments received and other factors, decided to prepare and circulate a Revised Draft EIR. In compliance with CEQA Guidelines, the County will not prepare individual responses to comments on the 2012 Draft EIR. Although part of the administrative record, the previous comments do not require a written response in the Final EIR. The Final EIR will only respond to those comments submitted in response to the Revised Draft EIR. The Revised Draft EIR review period begins on Oct. 21, and ends on Dec. 5. Comments on the Revised Draft EIR must be submitted to the County by no later than Dec. 5, 2014.

Please send your comments regarding the document to the following contact person. Please provide your name and an address or telephone number where you may be contacted. Matt Treber C/O Madera County Board of Supervisors 200 West 4th Street Madera, California 93637, e-mail: Matthew.Treber@madera-county.com

The Madera Oversight Coalition, who are adamantly opposed to the project, will hold two informational meetings, one in Oakhurst and one in Madera Ranchos.

Monday, Nov. 10, 6 to 8 p.m.
Oakhurst Community Center
39800 Road 425B, in Oakhurst

Thursday, Nov. 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
Liberty High School
12220 Road 36 in Madera

Austin Quarry map

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