Updates/News


May 19, 2017

NEW Quarry Application by Las Pilitas, LLC
 

On May 12, 2017, exactly two years after the project was denied, Las Pilitas, LLC (a limited liability corporation newly formed by Steve Souza and Matthew Holding Corportation/Darren Shetler that replaces the abandoned Las Pilitas Resources, LLC) submitted a new project proposal that seeks to permit an aggregate quarry in the same location (6660 Calf Canyon Hwy). The application proposes to extract 500,000 tons of aggregate annually (the same amount as the previously denied application). 

While the applicant has requested a reduced project alternative be evaluated in the Final Environmental Impact Report, the application is not for a reduced project. In fact, the location, scale, and operational details of the new project proposal remain identical to the proposal that was first submitted in 2009 and subsequently denied in 2015 after comprehensive review determined that the impacts created would far outweigh any potential benefits to the community.

So while the applicant has emphasized the hypothetical reduction of impacts that may/or may not be associated with a smaller scale project, it's important to note that an objective analysis (environmental review by a neutral third party) of that claim has yet to occur, but even more importantly, the new application as submitted is NOT for a smaller project. Instead, it's for the same project that was denied in 2015.  

 
Direct Link to NEW Quarry Application

NewTimes Article 5/18 "Quarry Back From Dead"

SLOTribune Article 5/19/17
 
 

July 21, 2015

We've been getting quite a few inquiries about the Phillips 66 Rail Spur Project.  There are a number of groups circulating information about this project proposal.  This Frequently Asked Questions flyer was provided to us by the California Nurses Association.  More specifics can also be found at ProtectSLO.org 

 


June 30, 2015

Phillips 66 wants to begin running mile-long, explosive, oil trains five days a week for many years to come.  Link to  Phillips 66 Company Rail Spur Extension Project  @ San Luis Obispo County Department of Planning and Building.  Santa Margarita is directly in the pathway of what Phillips 66 is proposing.  While 30% of San Luis Obispo County is in the "blast zone" (within 1 mile of the rail corridor), nearly the entire town of Santa Margarita is located within the blast zone.  The Santa Margarita Elementary School, the park, downtown businesses and most all residences within the town are all located within the blast zone.  

FAQs about Phillips 66 Rail Spur Proposal

Health and Safety Alert
 
 
 

May 29, 2015

The Notice of Final County Action (NOFA) on the appeal by Las Pilitas Resources, LLC to the Board of Supervisors of the Plannng Commission's decision to deny an application for a Conditional Use Permit and Reclamation Plan has been recorded.  

Notice of Final County Action
 
May 13, 2015 

In an over 10 hour hearing at the Board of Supervisors yesterday, the appeal of the Planning Commission's decison to deny a large industrial scale quarry proposal by Las Pilitas Resources, LLC was denied.  It was a 3-2 decison with Frank Mecham (D1), Bruce Gibson (D2), and Adam Hill (D3) each voting to uphold the Planning Commission's February 5, 2015 decision to deny the project.  

Lynn Compton (D4), and Debbie Arnold (D5), whose district the proposal was in, made up the 2 dissenting votes. Many were dismayed that our own Supervisor did not acknowledge, and made no attempt to address, the many concerns of the large number of affected community members.
 

     

May 5, 2015

The Las Pilitas Resources, LLC Appeal Hearing is in one week.  Next Tuesday, May 12, 2015, the Board of Supervisors will consider the appeal of the Planning Commission's decision to DENY the mine Las Pilitas Resources, LLC proposed where Hwy. 58 bridges the Salinas River east of Santa Margarita.  Plan to attend whether you would like to speak or not. Your presence at this important land use decision is very important and could make the difference.  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:00am.  Get there early.    
 



April, 2015 Update

Link to printable/shareable pdf document with Board of Supervisors Appeal Hearing information, project information, and specific action items.
 

March 17, 2015

The February 2015 appeal of the Planning Commission's decison to deny a large scale industrial mining proposal by Las Pilitas Resources, LLC to the Board of Supervisors has been scheduled for Tuesday May 12, 2015.  Mark your calendars and plan to attend this very important hearing for the future of Santa Margarita. Location is Board Chambers in the SLO County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo, Ca.    
   

February 19, 2015

As expected, Las Pilitas Resources, LLC has appealed the Planning Commission's Feb. 5 decision to DENY their project.  No date has been set for the Board of Supervisors hearing.  We will continue to provide up to date information here on our website and on our Facebook page.  Your presence will continue to be VERY important throughout this process. 
 
Link to SLOTribune article re: appeal

February 5, 2015

On February 5, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission rejected the Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry proposal.
 
Link to SLOTribune article
 

Update: Planning Commission Hearing for Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry proposal
continues @ 1:30 p.m. on February 5, 2015

Feb. 5, 2015 Planning Commission Agenda

January 9, 2015

No decision was reached at yesterday's hearing to consider Las Pilitas Resources, Limited Liability Company's (LLC) application to mine 500,000 tons of granite rock annually for up to the next 58 years.  The Hearing commenced at 11 a.m. and began with the Commission hearing public comment from those who submitted speaker slips at December 11, 2014 but were unable to speak on that date.  Public Comment then continued on to include members of the public who had not previously commented.  At about 3 p.m., the applicant gave yet another Power Point presentation in the ongoing attempt to present the "benefits" of their project.  That was followed by presentations by County Counsel and County Planning Staff clarifying a number of issues raised throughout the day.  In the end, the Planning Commission chose to delay any discussion of what their decision might be .

County Planning Staff demonstrated that we already have plenty of aggregate to fulfill projected future needs and presented a slide that compared the cost of aggregate around the state.  The cost of aggregate in SLO county is actually quite low relative to other locations and currently costs about the same as it does in Bakersfield.  County Planning Staff, whose job it is to evaluate all information in an effort to provide an objective perspective, has taken the rare position of recommending for DENIAL after determining that "there are insufficient economic, social, technological, or other benefits of the project to override its significant environmental impacts."

Margarita Proud has consistently maintained that factual evidence should be the primary consideration for a decision that would critically affect the future livability of our entire community.  Our hope is that decision makers will ultimately base their decision on truth and what is truly in the best interest of our community.  We believe the unique character and beauty of the Santa Margarita area make it worthy of the effort and thoughtful planning necessary to help shape a future that includes preserving these assets.  

Although it's unclear at this time whether Public Comment will be a part of the next Hearing, your presence continues to be VERY important throughout this process.   The Hearing was adjourned at 4:45 p.m. and will continue on Feb. 5, 2015.  We'll post more when the Agenda for that meeting becomes available.  Stay tuned!


 

January 4, 2015

 

Update: Planning Commission Hearing for Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry proposal 

will CONTINUE on January 8, 2015



 

December 12, 2014

Las Pilitas Resources, LLC made application for a Conditional Use Permit and Reclamation Plan to operate a large industrial scale hard rock quarry 3.5 east of Santa Margarita (a few hundred feet past the Salinas River bridge) in February of 2009.  The lengthy process that followed included preparation of an Environmental Impact Report that identified significant, unavoidable, and unmitigable impacts both to residents surrounding the project as well as to the town of Santa Margarita.  Yesterday, the scheduled and publicly noticed Planning Commission Hearing took place.  The applicant had filed for a continuance "in order to allow us adequate time to review the Staff Report in detail so that we can be better prepared to provide a complete response at our hearing".  

The Planning Commission decided to commence the meeting, but adjourn at 5 p.m., rather than continue past 5 p.m. as was the original intent (room had been reserved until 10 p.m.).  The December 11 hearing began with County Planning Staff making a presentation that outlined the many reasons why they have made the rare recommendation that a project (this project) be DENIED.  Next, the applicant made their own lengthy presentation to the commission that ended just before the 12 - 1:30 p.m. lunch break.  The commission then heard public comment until the meeting was adjourned just after 4:30 p.m.  The hearing will be continued on January 8, 2015.  At that time, the Commission may make a determination whether to DENY as recommended by their staff or approve the project.  Your presence continues to be VERY important throughout this process.  We'll post more when the Agenda for that meeting becomes available.   


   

CRITICAL CURRENT ACTION ITEM

Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry Proposal on Hwy. 58 @ Salinas River Bridge

PLANNING COMMISSION HEARING to approve or deny project
THURSDAY JANUARY 8, 2015 (Agenda Item 3 - Approximately 10 AM)
Board of Supervisors Chambers
San Luis Obispo County Government Center


Link to Planning Commission Jan. 8, 2015 Agenda 

For additional details, refer to Update at bottom of Home Page that includes some printable brochures






September 12, 2014 Subject: Las Pilitas Quarry Proposal Update from SLO County Planning and Building:

UPCOMING COMMUNITY ACTION ITEM
The PLANNING COMMISSION HEARING is targeted for December 11, 2014
The purpose of this hearing before the Planning Commission (a decison making body) is to vote to approve or deny the proposed project.
Your presence at this hearing WILL make a difference. 

LINK to county's 9/12/14 Update announcement



 

March 5, 2014  Subject: Las Pilitas Quarry Proposal Update from SLO County Planning and Building:









Posted: 9/12/13  Subject:   Sept. 21, 2013 Garden Party/ Fundraiser  




Posted:  8/12/13 Subject: Las Piltas Quarry Planning Commission Hearing

County Planning and Building has posted a Las Pilitas Quarry HEARING UPDATE - The Las Pilitas Quarry Project has been removed from the September 26, 2013 Planning Commission Agenda.  We will provide more information when Planning responds to our 8/5/2013 inquiry regarding responses to DEIR and process timeline. 


Posted:  7/26/13   Subject: LINK to July/August Update e-mail


Posted:   6/21/13   status: current

The county has posted some of the Draft Environmental Impact Report comments they received on their website .  Extensive comments submitted by Margarita Proud and others are not up yet, suggesting the process of posting comments is still underway.  In response to numerous inquiries seeking the whereabouts of our comments, we have  posted them (categorized by comment section) on the Documents page of this website.  


Posted:  6/6/13   Subject: DEIR Comments 

Margarita Proud submitted extensive comments on the due date for public comments yesterday.  This is the cover letter outlining the sections we submitted comments on.     



Posted: 5/28/13 status: critical



YOUR VOICE MATTERS AND YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
 
IT IS OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE THAT YOU SUBMIT YOUR DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT COMMENTS IN WRITING TO THE SLO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND BUILDING. 
 
Comments are due no later than 4:30 p.m. on June 5, 2013
 
Submit comments by mail to:
Murry Wilson, Environmental Resource Specialist
Department of Planning and Building
976 Osos Street, Room 300
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93408-2040
Submit by e-mail to: mwilson@co.slo.ca.us 
(do not rely on e-mail alone, also hand deliver a copy or send by US Mail)


Comment Form (from Sloplanning.org/includes mailing address) 
 
 


 

Posted: 4/2/13  status: CRITICAL ACTION ITEM for all community members

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Oster/Las Pilitas Hard Rock Quarry has been released to the public.  View from this link, by scrolling down to Draft EIR Las Pilitas Quarry CUP & Reclamation Plan.  The deadline for comments is currently May 20, 2013.  The Department of Planning and Building has scheduled an informational meeting for April 25, 2013 @ 6:30pm @ The Santa Margarita Elementary School Auditorium/Cafeteria


Oster/Las Pilitas Draft EIR Community Meeting
Hosted by: Department of Planning and Building
April 25, 2013 @ 6:30 p.m.
Location has changed to :
Santa Margarita Elementary School (Auditorium/Cafeteria)
arrive early - a full room is anticipated
   


DEIR comment period ends May 20, 2013  
DEIR comment period extended to June 5, 2013

*making comment on the DEIR is a critical action item



printable brochure Making Effective Comment on an EIR
Notice of Availability of Draft EIR (DRC2009-00025)
pdf of Draft EIR Comment Form
Mail to:
Murry Wilson - Environmental Resources Specialist
Department of Planning and Building
976 Osos Street, Room 300
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93408
 


 
Posted: 3/28/13  status: ACTION ITEM for affected property owners or anyone concerned about diminished property rights

IMPORTANT LAND USE INFORMATION:

Further restrictions on land use within the EX Combining Designation in SLO county are scheduled to be put in place by the state:
The State Mining Geology Board (SMGB) will conduct it's April meeting on Thursday April 11 @ The Atascadero City Council Chambers, 6907 El Camino Real, Atascadero.  The Agenda  item is  XI  8. Approval of Regulatory Language for Designation of Mineral Lands within the San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara Production-Consumption Region.  On the local level,  Designation of an area triggers LUO 22.14.040.  If your property is within a designated area, this ordinance adds additional, costly hurdles to the permtting process for all other uses not related to extraction. 
printable meeting flyer       classificaton-designation guidelines
 

 

State Mining and Geology Board SMGB Meeting
Atascadero City Council Chambers @ 9:00 a.m.
6907 El Camino Real, Atascadero, Ca. 


 


2/19/13
San Luis Obispo county has added a live audio stream of the Board of Supervisors weekly meetings. The new "listen live" option increases access to these important meetings if you have a slow internet connection or are not stationary and need to listen from a smart phone or other device with a limited data plan.  Board of Supervisors agenda page containing streaming options

2/8/13
The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Hwy. 58/Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry has still not been released to the public.  Planning now estimates the end of February 2013 as the updated release date.  The rest of the 1/18/13 update still applies.  

1/18/13

  • The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed Hwy 58 /Oster/Las Piltas Quarry is currently anticipated to be out sometime around the end of January. 
  • Upon release to the public, there will then be a 45 or 60 day period for public review and comment. Requesting a project this complicated  be allotted a 60 day comment period is suggested.   
  • Margarita Proud has requested that the County hold a public meeting at Santa Margarita Elementary School auditorium to present and answer questions regarding the DEIR soon after the start of this period. Please stay tuned for details and a date.  
  • Margarita Proud will make every effort to keep you updated at each step in the process.  


11/20/12
The Draft Environmental Impact Report will not be released by the end of November as anticipated.  It is unclear whether it will be released in December at this time.  No explanation for the ongoing delays has been provided.  We will continue to monitor the process and report details as they become available.   

11/2/12
The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Hwy. 58/Las Pilitas Hard Rock Quarry proposal is currently projected to be released by the end of this month.  The contract to prepare an EIR was awarded to the URS Corporation on June 21, 2011.  No explanation for the ongoing delays has been provided.  The Planning Department reports that they will host an informational community meeting soon after the document is released.  We will post further details as soon as they become available.    

10/3/12
The Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) met today.  Murry Wilson from the Planning Dept. reported that final details of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Hwy. 58/Oster/Las Pilitas Hard Rock Quarry proposal are being addressed and it is expected to be released to the public somewhere between October 20-30.  It is looking like November will be a good time to do some reading.    
 
9/12/12

A neighbor attended the Santa Margarita Advisory Council (SMAAC) meeting this evening and reported the following:  Supervisor Patterson gave an update on the current status.  He reported that Planning informed him the target for releasing the DEIR to the public is late October of this year.  The public will then have 45 days to make comment.  At the end of the comment period,  the DEIR then goes back to the consultant (URS Corporation) to respond to comments.  Planning estimated the project could reach the Planning Commission by April-May of next year depending on how many and how detailed the comments to the DEIR are.  Commenting on the DEIR will be one of very few opportunities to make meaningful comment on this proposal.  

9/8/12
What an amazing community effort.  The success of the event this evening provided a preview of the power of community and teamwork.  An all volunteer crew organized the event, transformed the Community Center into an elegant dining room, and then made and served a gourmet dinner as well as all the desserts (the dessert table was over the top).  The Lonesome Radio Band shared their beautiful 3 part harmonies and hot instrumental picking with us.  There should be no doubt that together, a well informed and dedicated community can create the future they envision.  


9/4/12
Margarita Proud t-shirts are now available.  These are high quality shirts and they are beautiful.  You'll be proud to own and wear one of these.  Thanks to our friends over at Dolphin Shirt Company for their generous donation to Margarita Proud.  Check the shirts out on the Get Involved page and then order @ proudwear@margaritaproud.com.


8/20/12
The Planning Dept. received the Administrative Draft EIR in July.  At that time, Planning indicated that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) would tentatively be available to the public by mid September (following an estimated 6-8 weeks needed to review the Administrative Draft).  Currently, it appears the release of the DEIR for public review and comment will be delayed beyond that date.  No explanation for the ongoing delays has been provided.  The contract for the URS Corporation to prepare an EIR was approved by the Board of Supervisors in June of 2011. 
 

7/2/12
The Administrative Draft Environmental Impact Report has not yet been submitted to SLO County by the URS Corporation.  The  Dept. of Planning and Building estimates 6-8 weeks from receiving the administrative draft to release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) to the public.  This pushes the anticipated release date of the DEIR to mid-September at the earliest.  There will then be a 45 day period for public comment.


6/1/12
According to the SLO County Department of Planning and Building, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is not ready for public review.  At this time, the new projected date of release to the public is mid-August.  There will then be 45 days for the public to review the document and make public comments.  We continue to believe it is reasonable for members of the public to begin lobbying the county for an extension of comment period to 60 days.  

5/5/12
Overview of the CEQA/permit process

5/4/12
According to the SLO County Department of Planning and Building, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is still not yet ready for public review.  The end of June is now the target date.  There will then be 45 days for the public to make written comments.  The DEIR document will likely be lengthy and we believe it is reasonable for members of the public to begin lobbying the county to extend the comment period to 60 days.      

2/29/12
• The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is currently being prepared by URS Corporation.  
• The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is currently scheduled to be released for public review by the end of April 2012.
• The public will then have either 45 or 60 days to make comment on that document.   Commenting on an EIR

2/16/12
Liberty Quarry Denied by Board of Supervisors  The proposed Liberty Quarry is located within the same State Mineral Classification as the proposed Las Pilitas Quarry.  The Las Pilitas Quarry applicants have stated repeatedly that their project cannot be denied "because it has been designated as a mineral zone".    

11/9/11
Santa Margartia Area Advisory Council (SMAAC) November minutes  Item 9(d) DRC2009-00025.  Las Pilitas Resources reports that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is scheduled to be completed by the end of March.  There will only be 45 days from the completion date of the DEIR for the public to make comment, so it is important to stay tuned for updates on the exact delivery date of the DEIR.

9/18/11
Chronology (Feb. 2009 - Sept. 2011)

6/22/11
Tribune reports BoS accepts contract with URS

6/21/11
Board of Supervisors approves a contract with URS Corporation to prepare the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). 

 6/17/11
Telegram Tribune reports selection of URS   Department of Planning and Building  staff report  recommending approval of a contract with URS.

6/8/11
The county's selection committee has chosen URS Corporation to prepare an EIR for the proposed project.  The contract will come before the Board of Supervisors for final approval on Tuesday June 21, 2011. URS Proposal.pdf

6/5/2011
From the SLO Telegram Tribune Sunday June 5, 2011  

5/26/2011
The proposals generated from the re-issued RFP have been posted by the Planning Department  Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry Conditional Use Permit  The  proposals can be found by going to Newly Submitted EIR Proposals once you enter the page titled  Oster/Las Pilitas Quarry Conditional Use Permit.  SLO Tribune article reports that 5 firms, including Benchmark Resources, have submitted proposals.  The complete proposals from 4 of the 5 firms are up on the county's website.


5/3/2011
The Request for Proposals (RFP) have been re-issued dated 4/29/11. 
Re-Issued RFP

Benchmark Resources is one of the  24 firms the RFP has now been sent to. 
Re-Issued RFP Recipients


4/26/2011
County planners recently decided to re-visit the process used to select a consulting firm to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  Fifth District Supervisor Jim Patterson, in an April 22 letter, said that the SLO County Planning Dept. decided to re-issue the Request for Proposals (RFP) “in order to get a broader range of proposals from interested consultants.”  The applicants and their consultants, attorneys, and investors were unhappy  with this decision and voiced that during Board of Supervisors Consent Agenda on April 26, 2011.   April 26 Consent Agenda Comments   (jump to 16:40 on video)

County planners and the applicant originally selected Benchmark Resources—one of three firms that submitted a proposal—to compile an Environmental Impact Report on the project. On April 7, New Times reported that the firm has close ties to the mining industry and a principal in the firm had been selected to speak about “Obtaining Permits and Approvals with Entrenched Project Opposition.” Project opponents quickly approached county officials to criticize the firm’s perceived bias.

Proposals for new bids are expected to go out to 25 firms soon, and county officials expect to receive proposals three weeks later.
It is yet unclear what the outcome of this process will be. The applicants are pushing hard to retain Benchmark (see April 26 Consent Agenda Comments above). Their attorney has been actively seeking a judge that will exercise a writ to appoint Benchmark without any further consideration. No final word on the outcome of that effort has surfaced at this date.  Those  who think this proposed quarry is not such a great idea given it's  poorly thought out location, need to monitor the process closely and see to it that an unbiased EIR based on sound science is what gets delivered.


3/24/2011
The Environmental Planning Department reports that that progress is being made in preparing a contract for the Environmental Impact Report. Once that's done, the contract will go to the  Board of Supervisors on Consent Agenda.  Members of the public can comment on a Consent Agenda item.  For more info on how to make comment, and addresses to contact the board before the meeting, you can e-mail hwy58quarryinfo@gmail.com.


12/28/2010
There is a final revised proposal from Benchmark Resources available on the County website. They will be using this proposal to draft the contract with the consultant, and will be taking that to the Board of Supervisors for approval.
Benchmark's 12/22/10  Final Proposal