Liberty Quarry Final Environmental Impact Report is Released

The Riverside County Planning Department has released the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for Granite Construction’s proposed Liberty Quarry Project south of Temecula. At 8,500 pages, the document is easily half again as long as the draft EIR released last year. I haven’t slogged through the report yet but preliminary indication is that it backs up the draft EIR findings that Riverside County would benefit economically and environmentally from the proposed quarry location.

That will have no impact whatsoever on quarry opponents who argue that the blasting will disrupt the area, reduce property values, contribute to earthquakes, and produce clouds of deadly silica dust that will entomb our region. To say it’s been an impassioned argument over the past few years would be an understatement. Sadly, it has pitted neighbor against neighbor, city against county and logic against emotion more than once. The Letters to the Editor section of the local paper would dry up if not for the continual missives pro & con on this single subject.

I posted information on this two years ago after our Directors had visited another quarry site and the SDSU Preserve area adjacent to where the new quarry would be located. The Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors® has not taken a position on the quarry project but has attempted to bring accurate information to our members so they have some background should they choose to make their own informed decision. You can get that background here:

Liberty Quarry & Private Property Rights

SDSU Showcases the Santa Margarita Watershed

Public hearings have been scheduled for the project on April 26 and May 3 at Rancho Community Church (31300 Rancho Community Way) in Temecula starting at 4 pm.

The report is available for your perusal at: Liberty Quarry Final EIR

Few will actually read it, everybody will be quoting the ‘facts’ as they interpret them. And no matter which side prevails in the County’s final decision, we may be assured this will tie up the courts for several more years. Some people have more solid granite between their ears than would be mined from the Liberty Quarry in the next 75 years.

Attack!

SDSU Showcases Santa Margarita Watershed in Quarry Question

This is one of those issues where the more information you get the confuseder you become.  I hope you joined us on 4/21 for a presentation by Granite Construction on the Liberty Quarry project. After a brief overview of the project, they addressed some issues they have with the City of Temecula’s annexation request for the land where the quarry would be.

tourHaving toured Granite Construction’s Indio quarry site and the parcel in the hills south of Temecula, we thought it only fair to get the city’s views – since we have a long history of good relations with our cities. The result was two-fold. Today AOR Directors toured the Santa Margarita Watershed with Temecula’s Mayor Maryann Edwards, and Dr. Matt Rahn, Director of the SDSU Field Studies Program that manages the watershed project.

margaritaThe preserve occupies about 4,500 acres of pristine wilderness and has one of the last wild rivers in California., the Santa Margarita. They claim that the water in the Santa Margarita today started percolating through the granite mountains 1,000 years ago.

The mountain is solid granite for 1,000 feet.

margaritaWhich brings us to the divergence – all that granite. It’s the reason Granite Construction selected the site – all that granite. And where they want to quarry is about a mile and a half from this ecological preserve in the center of a wildlife corridor. SDSU and other groups conduct hundreds of experiments and on-going studies in the reserve including delicate seismic measures and species monitoring. Many of these groups are concerned that the nearby presence of a quarry mining operation would be disastrous to the preserve.

testsIt might seem that on one side it is a business decision based on supply & demand, dollars and cents, on the other is the emotional decision – and sometimes simply a NIMBY attitude. But there are at least five or more sides to this story and the outcome will be with us for 80 years, regardless of which side wins. There are so many angles on the issue there’s room for all of them to be right – at least some of the time. It will be up to LAFCO on June 4 to decide if the City or the County will determine the fate of that parcel of land.

Please join us at our 4/28 marketing meeting when Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards and Sean Nelson, City Manager, will be our guests. They’ll provide the City’s overview of the project and why they are proposing annexation.

In my next post on the subject, I’ll include some discussion from Senator Hollingsworth before LAFCO has their say.

Again, SRCAR does not support or oppose the quarry project. We are concerned about a possible property rights issue and that is our sole interest. We heartily encourage you to get ALL the facts if you plan to make a decision. Both Granite Construction and SDSU are available to provide information and/or a tour. It’s a worthwhile exercise in civic responsibility.

Photos courtesy of Walter Wilson & Howard Delsite.