Judge postpones hearing on asphalt plant
An investigation by Placer County planners appears to uphold the legality of Chevreaux Aggregates’ permit to operate an asphalt plant in Meadow Vista.
That letter prompted a Placer County Superior Court judge to postpone a decision Tuesday on whether the asphalt plant can continue to operate with its existing permit. The delay gives both sides time to consider the letter.
The determination, written by Placer County Director of Planning Michael J. Johnson, states the permit issued to Chevreaux Aggregates Inc. in 1971 to operate an intermittent asphalt plant in Meadow Vista is valid.
It was dated Friday, but lawyers for Meadow Vista Protection, a group of residents in Meadow Vista and surrounding communities near the southern Nevada County line affected by the plant did not have enough time to present their response.
MVP filed a lawsuit last July against Chevreaux, alleging that the Auburn-based company’s permit to operate the plant had lapsed, and the company must undergo an environmental impact report required by the California Environmental Quality Act.
Residents within a few miles of the plant complain of the powerful smell of asphalt fumes. They also have expressed concern about noise and diesel fumes from heavy truck traffic that passes through their neighborhood when the plant is in full operation, generally May through October.
In a letter to Chevreaux’s attorney, Brigit Barnes, Johnson states that Chevreaux’s intermittent use of the site has been “consistent with the county’s understanding of the use as it was originally permitted.”
Barnes said she asked for the planning department’s determination to clear up any confusion about the permits.
“Once a use permit has been issued and operates continually for a year, it’s vested in that use,” Barnes said, adding the plant never was intended to operate on a year-round schedule.
Some Meadow Vista residents who attended the hearing were disappointed by the implications of Johnson’s letter.
“It seems to me that Placer County is really working against us,” said Meadow Vista Protection member Robert Freedkin.
One of his concerns when he joined Meadow Vista Protection was how the plant’s operations could affect the value of his property on Combie Road, located down the road from the Chevreaux plant, if the plant resumes working this summer, Freedkin said. The plant operates seasonally and is not operating now.
Meadow Vista Protection has the right appeal the planning commission’s determination.
Judge Charles D. Wachob gave lawyers for both sides a deadline of next Tuesday to submit briefs on the legal effects of Johnson’s determination before making a judgment.
To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail jillb@theunion .com or call 477-4219.
See the letter with this story on our site at
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