Proposed compost facility to go before Board of Supervisors again
HINKLEY • A citizens group opposing a proposed sewage sludge composting facility near Hinkley will go before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday in an effort to get the conditional use permit for the project revoked.
This is the second time Nursery Products’ Hinkley project has gone before the Board of Supervisors. County staff is recommending the Board approve the project’s conditional use permit, saying the benefits outweigh the potential impacts. The county initially approved of the facility in 2007.
If the Board of Supervisors approves of the 80-acre project on Tuesday, Nursery Products can break ground at the facility in September, said Chris Seney, the company’s director of operations. The County Planning Commission awarded a conditional use permit to Nursery Products in December after it submitted a second environmental report.
Norm Diaz, founder of the group HelpHinkley.org, which opposes the facility, said regardless of what the Board decides Tuesday, a superior court judge will ultimately have to approve of the second report. HelpHinkley will have legal representation at Tuesday’s meeting, but won’t have a lot of members present.
After HelpHinkley filed a lawsuit in 2007, Judge John Vander Feer ruled that Nursery Product’s initial environmental impact report needed more clarity on water supply and quality issues and the economic feasibility of enclosing the facility. Diaz said that means Nursery Products had to re-do its entire EIR.
“They still have to go back to Judge Vander Feer and show him how they complied with his orders,” he said. “And we feel that they have not complied with his orders. They severed (the supplemental EIR) from the full EIR and he said that was not supposed to happen.”
According to James Squire, assistant director of the county’s Land Use Services Department, Nursery Products was only required to analyze the economic feasibility of enclosing the compost facility and water availability. It wasn’t required to submit a new EIR. Nursery Products also analyzed the project’s potential greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is the final step before the project can break ground,” Squire said, adding that HelpHinkley could go back to court if they didn’t like the Board’s decision.
The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board granted Nursery Products a waste discharge permit in March, which requires the company to catch any rain that falls on the site.
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