February 15, 2023


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From the Pacifica Tribune report of the meeting:

After extensive public comment, the Pacifica Planning Commission voted for a continuance, moving the decision date on the proposed Rockaway Quarry Reclamation Plan to May 6.

The Planning Commission demonstrated reluctance to approve the motion because of public concerns and their desire to understand the project and alternatives more fully.

Over 40 members of the public, both in person and over the phone, asked the commission to reject the reclamation plan. The most prominent concerns were over potential contamination from imported soil, the effect of the soil-carrying trucks on traffic, and the Quarry’s relationship to the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe.

Melinda McNaughton said the plan would result in the destruction of surrounding habitats and ecosystems, particularly as the creek flows into the ocean. Mark Hubbell, a member of a group of local volunteers who monitor local sea star populations, argued that the applicant had not pursued adequate testing and research related to the environment and sea stars.

“We are not in the least convinced that your plan will not devastate this uniquely precious space,” Hubbell said.

Several commenters, including Paul Stofan, called the reclamation plan “dirt for profit” and expressed concern over potential heavy metals and chemicals contained within the foreign soil. They argued that nature had “already reclaimed” the quarry, citing their experiences seeing diverse wildlife and growth in the area. One Vallemar resident noted that if the plan were enacted, she would no longer feel safe bringing her son to the quarry for fear of exposing him to contaminated soil.

“How can you live with yourselves, going home to your families, knowing that you are turning a good, vibrant, family coastal town into a toxic waste site?” said Sam Casillas, president of the Pacifica Land Trust.

Casillas and other public commenters noted the applicant’s alleged association with a “bribery scheme” in San Francisco, after which Baylands Soil Processing LLC was barred from doing business with the City of San Francisco.

Christa Darr, an emergency room nurse at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center, said she had “grave concerns” about the trucks delaying emergency service vehicles. Gloria Stofan said the presence of trucks for four years would be “scary” and make getting onto Highway 1 from the intersection even more difficult.

“We’re going to have 40 ton dump trucks flying down the highway at a rate of one every three minutes—who's going to pay for the potholes?” said Nico Belluomini, a lifetime resident of Pacifica who runs a hauling company.“We’re going to end up being the ones who have to pay for this in the long run.”

Members of the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe, along with other members of the public, urged the commission and applicant to acknowledge the history of the land and consult with the tribe. Murdock noted that as the Ramaytush Ohlone are not registered with the Native American Heritage Commission, the city is not legally required to provide them with a consultation opportunity.

Jonathan Cordero, chair of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, urged the city and applicant to engage in consultation with the tribe, despite it not being a legal requirement. He asked the commission not to certify the EIR.

Richie Beltran, a descendant of Timagtac village, a Ramaytush residence along Calera Creek, said that the Quarry contains burial grounds and a massacre site: “They’re going to be digging our ancestors up.”

“Mother nature…over the last almost 40 years has already started to heal the scars that have taken place as a result from colonization,” said Cataline Gomes, another descendant of Timagtac village and founder of the Muchia Te' Indigenous Land Trust. “There is currently a healthy, thriving ecosystem.”

Many commenters advocated for the commission to consider alternative reclamation plans, similar to those proposed in 1998 and 2016, that would not bring in foreign soil. The commissioners expressed a desire to analyze past plans in relation to the current one to determine if importing such a large amount of soil is necessary.

The commission unanimously voted to move the date of the decision to May 6 in order to provide enough time for the applicant to answer their questions and to analyze alternatives.

The almost-5-hour-long Planning Commission meeting is on youtube

I just heard this. Is it too late to drop it?

Thanks for posting this analysis of the proposal to dump a million tons of "dirt*" - - likely industrial waste - - in the quarry.

All day, every weekday, mega-trucks jamming traffic and making noise -- dumping contaminated soil-- ooh-eee, such a deal for Pacifica!

What will we do when contaminants in the soil leach into Calera Creek and its surroundings?

Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to truck waste "dirt" to areas in the middle of the state, where water will not leach out toxic chemicals into local streams, wetlands, and parks?

* Dirt contamination will be assessed by the very same parties bringing this project to Pacifica. Dirt source is not identified.

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