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Judge won’t halt Santa Rosa asphalt plant’s silo construction

By KEVIN McCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

A judge on Wednesday refused to block construction of three new storage silos at a Santa Rosa asphalt plant.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum denied a request by neighbors to halt construction of the 82-foot-high silos at the BoDean asphalt plant north of Railroad Square.

Bodean Company plant operator Anthony Boyle runs the batch plant from the control room on Monday, April 23, 2012.  (Christopher Chung / PD)

Bodean Company plant operator Anthony Boyle runs the batch plant from the control room on Monday, April 23, 2012. (Christopher Chung / PD)

The judge ruled Citizens for Safe Neighborhoods failed to show that halting work on the silos was in the public interest. He noted that BoDean has the right to move forward with its project while the group’s lawsuit is pending, albeit at the company’s own risk.

The neighborhood group is suing BoDean and the City of Santa Rosa, whose City Council narrowly approved the project in April, in an effort to force more environmental study of the $2 million project.

Neighbors have raised a number of health and land-use concerns about the project, which they characterize as a significant expansion of the Maxwell Drive plant. They worry about increased noise, traffic and emissions, and argue the City Council should never have exempted the project from review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The company denies the three silos and related equipment would expand the plant’s capacity. It says the upgrades would help it operate more efficiently and will lower greenhouse gas emissions.

BoDean general manager Bill Williams said the company has spent nearly $500,000 preparing the site for the new silos. It expects to have the new equipment up and running by July.

The neighborhood group had argued the project would “irreparably damage the environment” if allowed to be constructed. Allen Thomas, a vocal opponent of the project, said the group decided not to challenge the judge’s ruling because its lawsuit is set for trial in August.

“We are confident we will prevail in August,” Thomas said.

But the judge doesn’t sound convinced, finding in his ruling that the group “failed to demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the merits.”





6 Responses to “Judge won’t halt Santa Rosa asphalt plant’s silo construction”

  1. Terry says:

    @Bear,

    From my read on this environmental studies were done, just not a full blown EIR because it was not needed…at least according to the judge (“unlikely to prevail on the merits”). Get your facts straight.

  2. Elephant says:

    The EIR for the debacle that is the Dutra plant in Petaluma states that existing asphalt plants in Sonoma County are operating at 50% capacity.

    The only feasible reason for this plant is to supply asphalt for the freeway widening between Petaluma and Novato.

    So why would BoDean expand their operations without a current need for their current capacity?

    Maybe so they can be in a position to grab the contract for the asphalt when the Dutra EIR gets tossed out by the courts.

    And that plant’s neighbors will have that judge’s head when it has to run 24-7 to keep up with the demand.

  3. Jimbo96 says:

    I wonder do these people drive on the horrible roads in Sonoma County or are they somehow magically transported without using them? I do believe that this business has been there, in most cases longer than those who wish them not to expand…and if they can’t expand they stand a chance of going out of business. They pay taxes, employ people who pay taxes and provide a benefit for everyone who uses the roads made of asphalt. NIMBY idiots are few, but vocal, and if they had any lawful interest such as a “view easement” they might have a standing to sue. But since they have been indoctrinated into believing that they’re the “entitlement” generation, they say it’s all about it’s all ME and screw the public’s benefit.

  4. Terry says:

    These so called Neighborhood Association/Citizens groups have gone too far. From George Lucas to Bodean, these frivolous lawsuits are getting really old. Finally a judge put them in their place. The self appointed leader of this group must have a deep need to feel important and this is his outlet. Too much time on his hands I suppose.

  5. bear says:

    This is clearly an expansion of a business that is not normally compatible with residential uses.

    The City could have avoided all this by doing environmental studies upfront. When they declared it “exempt” from the CA Environmental Quality Act, it was a huge mistake, whether you favor or oppose the expansion.

    Watch the lawyers feed on this.

  6. James Bennett says:

    Where the hell does this judge think he is…

    America?

    Don’t move across from a school if you hate kids.

    Don’t move next to swamp if you hate mosquitos.