Mine Expansion Triggers Evaluation Of Process

Mar 12, 2019

Butte County Board of Supervisors tackle mine expansion.
Credit Marc Albert

Butte County’s Board of Supervisors will re-evaluate how the county spreads the word about big projects after neighbors said they were unable to sound off about a gravel mine expansion because no one told them. 


The mine, off State highway 32 near Forest Ranch won’t be affected.  


The board of supervisors ruled that the county did not violate its own rules about notifying neighbors about meetings concerning significant development projects.  



The planning commission approved plans to enlarge the mine by 45 percent to 12.1 acres. Operators anticipate removing nearly half a million cubic yards of gravel over the next 24 years. 


Some neighbors said they didn’t participate in the planning commission’s process because they never learned about the meeting. Officials said the owners of the 10 nearest parcels were told, but seven of the 10 are owned by the applicants, the rest by the City of Chico. One neighbor claimed officials told her that all property owners within two miles of the mine would be notified.  


But officials struggled to find any evidence of that. Butte County Counsel Bruce Alpert addresses County Development Services Director Tim Snellings.  


“Someone from the public that representation was made, but (yes) you don’t find any confirmation (right) that Development Services made that representation---(correct, which is to your point about why we shouldn’t have these agreements, we ought to put it in the code.” Alpert said. 


The issue will come back to the board at a later date.  


In other board action, Dr. Mark Lundberg’s contract to treat substance abuse patients was extended. The county moved forward with plans to comply with the sustainable groundwater act, approved $3.5 million in work at the county landfill and signed an agreement to purchase a bulldozer.


Additionally, Shelby Boston Director of the county Department of Employment and Social Services said 37 families that survived the camp fire are staying at the Lime Saddle Campground and four at the CMA Church in Paradise.


These are families ordered off their own land because of debris. Officials are negotiating with PG&E to make the DeSalba picnic area available. Tom Brown of CalOES told the board that 286 lots have been cleared of debris.