Poway adds conditions to Vulcan’s permit

Poway adds conditions to Vulcan’s permit(POWAY, California) — The City Council on Tuesday added eight new conditions to the conditional use permit that allows a rock quarry and concrete plant to operate in Beeler Canyon.The council voted 3-0 in favor of a resolution that contains the new conditions, including one that requires Vulcan Materials Co. to pay for an independent consultant to monitor noise coming from the business. Councilman Bob Emery and Councilwoman Betty Rexford were absent from the meeting when the issue was discussed. Although the council’s action tightened restrictions on the plant’s operations, residents who live in Beeler Canyon, where Vulcan Materials is located, were left unsatisfied. Citing problems with noise, truck traffic, dust and air pollution from the business, nearly a dozen people had urged the council to take advantage of what they thought was an opportunity to reconsider the business’s entire permit.At the very least, several Beeler Canyon residents said, they would like to see a new environmental impact report done before Vulcan is allowed to continue operating.City Attorney Tamara Smith, however, said Poway has no power to halt the concrete plant’s operations unless it violates its permit. That is because the business predates Poway’s incorporation as a city, she and other city officials said.The council did promise to keep a close watch on the business and to crack down on the plant if need be.”I want to assure you we are taking this issue very seriously,” Mayor Mickey Cafagna said. “I can assure you that this will be monitored. And they will meet the conditions, or they will not be operating.”Formerly owned by CalMat-Poway, the quarry and concrete plant is at 13501 Kirkham Road in the South Poway Business Park. The quarry originally had a county permit to operate.In 1991, Poway issued the business a city permit that allowed it to expand and operate for up to 40 years. Annual and five-year reviews are among conditions attached to the permit.The business was dormant from 1992 to 1999, and CalMat eventually sold the quarry to Vulcan, which launched the concrete-making operation. The period of inactivity prompted city officials to postpone the five-year review until Tuesday.Poway Development Services Director Niall Fritz told the council Vulcan is currently mixing concrete at its plant, and that the business plans to start new mining operations next year.A small, temporary rock-crushing machine will be brought in for the work initially, and plans call for a permanent rock crusher to be installed later, he said, adding that such equipment is noisy.The original permit allows the concrete plant to operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Neighbor Kelly Hutchinson said the business has been known to start as early as 4:30 a.m.In the meantime, she said, the concrete plant has fulfilled none of the promises —- including the addition of new jobs —- that its original owners made when they applied for the city permit.Hutchinson and other neighbors said changes in the number of homes in and around the canyon, different demographics and other factors make a new environmental impact report on the business appropriate.Recent council candidate Jeff Lake, who lives in North Poway, joined the appeals.”Even from my vantage point, I can see that this is a sleeping dragon that, once awakened, can not be tamed,” said Lake, who was unsuccessful in his attempt to win a seat on the panel. “I would urge the council to take a very close look at this and, if a new (permit) is issued, that code compliance watch this thing closely.”Councilman Jay Goldby said he was inclined to suspend Vulcan’s permit and require a new environmental impact report. He voted with the other council members, though, after Smith explained that the review represented a chance to attach new conditions to the permit if they were needed to mitigate problems with the business, rather than a chance to shut it down.Higginson said it will be the council’s responsibility to ensure the conditions are met.”We need to be proactive in making sure we oversee it,” he said. “It’s up to us as a council to make sure the (permit) is honored and complied with. So it rests on our shoulders.”Contact staff writer Andrea Moss at (760) 739-6654 or amoss@nctimes.com.

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