The Jackson Valley Quarry outside of Ione has applied to increase its hours of operation from 6 am to 6 pm to 6 a.m.
Amador County Planning Director
The Foothill Conservancy supports the appeal for Jackson Valley Quarry Amended Use Permit (UP-06;9-2) application, which will be heard by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, January 23rd, as agenda item 5.b.
We wish to note the instance of “Project Creep” in this application history. Through amendments, the Jackson Valley Quarry has nearly doubled in size since its original approval in 2007, and now proposes a 25% increase in operating hours. By receiving the project changes in increments, the applicants are getting a project much bigger and more impactful than if this current full-sized project had been considered and environmental impacts disclosed, evaluated and mitigated as CEQA requires at original project review.
We object to the consultant arrangement in which the noise and vibration analysis of the project is done directly on behalf of the applicant, as well as paid for directly by the applicant. For impacts as large and critical as noise from a rock quarry operation and the mitigation measures needed to address them, County Staff should select and direct the consultant’s work on the subject, and the County should pay for the work and be reimbursed by the applicant, to ensure an objective analysis and mitigation measures.
We sympathize with neighbors’ concerns about the impact of this proposal on their lives, livelihoods, property values, and the peaceful enjoyment of their land. Extending quarry operations into evening hours negatively affects the quality of life of these residents, many of whom are engaged in farming and prefer to go to bed early, with windows open in summer months.
While we acknowledge the value of properly-run mining operations for the economy of Amador County, this must be balanced with the impacts to our members and other residents. This dramatic extension of hours violates that balance. We therefore ask that the appeal be granted, the work hours extension to 10 pm be denied, and the Quarry continue to operate with its existing hours of operation.
Thank you for your consideration.
UPDATE – At their meeting one 1/23, the Amador Board of Supervisors elected to scale back the Quarry’s request to stay working till 10 pm to 9 pm April through October and till 8 pm November through March. The Supervisors also added a requirement for a public hearing in two years to review the Quarry’s compliance with the noise mitigation measures.