BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
Wednesday, August 8, 2001
Sheldon High School Auditorium
a. CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1164/In the Matter of Amending the Lane County Rural Comprehensive Plan to Revise the "Significant Mineral and Aggregate Resources Inventory," Redesignate From "Agriculture" to "Natural Resource: Mineral," Rezone From "E30/Exclusive Farm Use" to "SG/Sand, Gravel & Rock Products" and Allow Mining For 575 Acres of Land Pursuant to Lane Code 16.400 and 16.252 and the Goal 5 Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR 660-023); and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (File PA 99-5996; Eugene Sand & Gravel). (NBA & PM 7/24/01) (Thom Lanfear)
Morrison stated the nature and purpose of the hearing was a decision subject to the plan amendment and rezoning criteria and the Goal 5 Rule cited in the agenda cover memo and attachments. She noted that evidence and testimony must be directed towards the approved criteria and failure to raise an issue to enable a response may preclude any appeal to LUBA. She stated this was the opportunity for those present to enter information into the record and only persons who qualify as a party may appeal the Boardís decision to LUBA.
John Alltucker, P. O. Box 1067, stated his company, Eugene Sand and Gravel, tries to resolve differences between themselves and the people they work with. They try to work out a happy relationship with everyone who is involved. He said they always support legislation that is mutually beneficial to all concerned. He stated they had efficiently completed the extensive additional studies the Planning Commission asked them to make about noise, dust, traffic and the affect on agricultural product. He wanted the Board to make the decision developed within the rules required by Goal 5 on well-studied facts, rather than upon emotional based-unproven allegations. He said it was important that the Board did not delay the decision on the application.
Ed Hensley, Labors International Union of North America, stated he represented the labor force at Eugene Sand and Gravel. He noted that Eugene Sand and Gravel were local residents that supported local programs and were active in the community. He said the employment by Eugene Sand and Gravel is at a living family wage with health coverage for the entire family and a pension. He said the worker on average earns between $35,000 and $45,000 per year. He stated if Eugene Sand and Gravel is not allowed to extract materials at this site, they indicated they would have to cease operation in Lane County, eliminating $8 million in payroll to Lane County residents annually. He encouraged the Board to approve the land use so they could continue their economic quality of life.
James Robinson, 32316 Wilson Creek Road, Cottage Grove, said the loss of these jobs is serious. He stated that Eugene Sand and Gravel met the criteria and wanted the permit to go forward.
Lindy Moore, 3979 Century Drive, Eugene, stated she was a concerned citizen speaking on behalf of Eugene Sand and Gravel. She said that for over 100 years Eugene Sand and Gravel had been an important contributor to the area. She said they had been a great part of Eugeneís past and deserve to be part of Eugeneís future. She hoped the Board would support Eugene Sand and Gravel
Bob Hagebush, 492 W. 49th, Springfield, stated he worked for Eugene Sand and Gravel and urged the Board to approve the project and make the community one that everyone could be proud of.
Debbie Jeffries, 3800 N. Delta Highway, Eugene, stated she operates a golf course near three sand and gravel companies. She was not concerned about traffic safety or regular truck traffic along the length of her property. She added she had not had problems with water quality (or pressure), dust conditions or trees being affected.
Steve Moe, 3698 Franklin Boulevard, Springfield, stated there was a need for sand and gravel business and Eugene Sand and Gravel had met the criteria. He urged the Board to consider what was best for the entire Eugene area by granting the permit.
Mark Holliday, 555 E. 1st, Gladstone, Oregon, stated he used to be a Lane County resident and he represents 4,000 operating engineers. He concurred with the statements that Robinson had. He concurred about the loss of jobs in Eugene. He stated it was not true that other companies would absorb Eugene Sand and Gravel employees if the company were to close. He said by keeping Eugene Sand and Gravel, they would spread the wealth around the County by providing good paying jobs.
Gary Wildish, 2424 Quince St., Eugene, supported the applicant. He said the proximity of the site should be an advantage as the proposed site is east of most of the neighboring facilities. He said that dust should not be an issue. He said that aggregate and agriculture were important to the community and quality farmland and aggregate are often found in the same place. He said that Eugene Sand and Gravel would do everything they could to eliminate the fears of the community. He added many people work and live near gravel mines without problems and agriculture and mining should co-exist.
Laura Byxbe, 677 W. 23rd Avenue, Eugene, stated that trucks would bring dust and exhaust fumes and that would settle on crops. She said they need more information, as she was not sure that all the problems would be mitigated. She added that the location was in a floodplain and that impacts needed to be looked at carefully.
Alan Thayer, 975 Oak Street, Eugene, was concerned about the way community treats business. He noted the applicant met the legal requirements and that dust was not a problem. He added that the applicant had worked with ODOT to minimize the impacts and had agreed to pay costs for the impacts.
Mark Rabinowitz, 28549 Sutherlin Lane, said the people who have money werenít interested in those that had less money. He said the County was losing farmland for everything else.
Helen Goss, Beacon House, 90980 River Road, Eugene, stated this was her seventh year having an event center to perform weddings. She said the majority of the weddings are held outside in the yard that is adjacent to River Road on the east and Beacon Road on the south. She said that noise is an issue as she follows the guidelines of her conditional land use permit. She said there was no way she could conduct quality weddings with additional truck traffic at the corner and comply with her conditional land use permit. She added if a turn lane would be put in on River Road going south, it would bring the traffic lane to her fence line or onto her lawn. She said that dust was another issue as the grounds must be maintained in picture perfect condition throughout the spring, summer and fall months. She said there was no way she could dust 2 Ĺ acres of land each day before an event. She invited the Board to do an on site inspection of her property.
Kim Orender, 30390 Lassen Lane, Junction City, supported Thistledown and Lone Pine and she hoped that the farms would continue to stay. She was worried about her water as the properties around her affect her well water. She was also worried about her property values going down.
Jennifer Solomon, P. O. Box 40184, believed the Board should vote for Eugene Sand and Gravel as they are the type of corporate citizen that the County needed more of. She stated that Eugene Sand and Gravel had negotiated fairly and in good faith with all parties concerned. She said what was currently on the table was not only a reasonable and thoughtful compromise, but it was legally defensible. She stated Eugene Sand and Gravel should be rewarded for their honest and diligent negotiations, not punished.
Jolene Loudon, P. O. Box 677, Junction City, gave a presentation about equine chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (heaves). She said many horses in the area have this disease in the River Road area and compromised health is highly probable if the land on River Road is rezoned. She said the symptoms of this disease are caused by an allergic response to particles of dust in horses older than six years old. She noted the simplest way to treat a horse with this disease is to change the environment, minimizing exposure to dust.
Bruce Loudon, 30318 Victory, Junction City, stated he owned and managed a thoroughbred farm called Mayfields for eight years. He noted that in 1999, they were the tenth leading breeder of thoroughbred racehorses in the state. He said for the year 2000 they were the third leading breeder in the entire state. He added one of their horses Weinheart, was named Oregon champion four-year-old colt and had earned near $100,000. He said they do everything they can to make sure the horses have access to the best nutrition and well water available and air for their breathing capacity. He couldnít risk having racehorses on their property with Eugene Sand and Gravel activities. He said this might be the death of the River Road community.
David Griffen, 2871 Greentree Way, Eugene, explained as Eugene Sand extracts aggregate, it reclaims top soil, making it possible for those who live in poor soil areas to enjoy landscaping. He noted in the past year, Eugene Sand and Gravel had marketed 18,000 tons of loam from its mining development. He added that quantity translated to one foot of pure rock sandy loam covering an eight acre field and it is a by-product of aggregate mining, made available to landowners and developers throughout the Eugene and Springfield area for landscaping needs. He stated that Eugene Sand and Gravel routinely reclaims topsoil and creates wetland habitat and their methods stand out in reclaiming and protecting the valuable resources in the environment.
Marvin Studebaker, 2130 Parliament Street, stated he was a shop supervisor for Eugene Sand and Gravel. He said if Eugene Sand and Gravel were allowed to mine in the River Road area, the roads would not turn into loud diesel trucks impeding traffic. He noted the federal government regulates and requires new truck and equipment manufacturers to meet stringent emissions, noise and safety standards. He added that the technology had eliminated the smoke that comes from exhaust stacks. He said it had improved fuel economy and is environmentally friendly. He stated the improvements in technology had significantly reduced engine noise. He said that Eugene Sand and Gravel had invested heavily in the last few years in a fleet of modern trucks and mining equipment. He didnít think that truck traffic or mining activity would have any adverse affects on the environment in that area.
Randall Hledik, P. O. Box 7428, Eugene, stated he was from Wildish, but supported Eugene Sand and Gravelís approval of their request to open a new pit as it is one of community wide importance. He noted Eugene Sand and Gravel was fortunate to have found a quality source with the landowner willing to cooperate. He added if the proposed location was not acceptable, he wondered what the alternative would be. He noted that the concerns being addressed regarding land, air and water impacts were not unique to Eugene Sand and Gravel as there were agencies that set standards on operations in addition to those established by local jurisdiction. He noted it was difficult to find locations that meet all their criteria. He said the Boardís favorable consideration of Eugene Sand and Gravelís request was important to Lane County.
Jim Martin, 3355 Lakewood Dr., Eugene, was in favor of Eugene Sand and Gravelís request to allow mining pursuant to the Goal 5 Rules.
Merrill Smith, 6595 Thurston Road, Springfield, stated he had worked for Eugene Sand and Gravel for 17 years. He had been involved in training their drivers for 13 years and stated that Eugene Sand and Gravel has had an excellent safety record.
Terry Connolly, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, 1401 Willamette, reported the Chamberís mission is to support a healthy local economy that contributes to the quality of life for the entire community. He said that the Chamber supports Oregon Land Use Laws and the 19 statewide planning goals. He said the Goal 5 process related to aggregate resources outlines the path that Eugene Sand and Gravel must follow. He said it provides fairness and predictability to all interested parties and is the process that protects aggregate resources. He said they believe that Eugene Sand and Gravelís application should stand on its own merits if they correctly follow the process and meet the objectives of Goal 5. He stated the rezoning process should be approved. He said from the evidence that Eugene Sand and Gravel gave, it appeared that their application met the strict criteria and objectives spelled out in Oregon land use laws and planning goals. He added Eugene Sand and Gravel had demonstrated a willingness to work with many stakeholders in an effort to craft a plan that addresses important concerns.
Hazel Jenson, 30776 Lone Pine Drive, Junction City, had concerns about Eugene Sand and Gravelís plan to mine gravel on prime farm land. She said that dust would make an added cost to the produce growers. She added it would significantly change farm practices and increase the cost of production. She noted the area was prime for farm ground and should be kept to supply food. She said with the noise and dust of the mine, it would lower their property values. She said it is a quiet serene area and she wanted to keep it that way. She noted there was rock in the hills and thought it would be a place to get the rock as it was not suitable to grow crops. She asked the Board to look to the distant future, as the land was not a renewable resource.
Mara Wile, 1347 Dalton, said the burden of proof rests on Eugene Sand and Gravel. She hoped the Board would not approve the application unless they were absolutely certain that Eugene Sand and Gravel had satisfied the criteria on each and every point and that no exceptions were made. She said there were 72 conditions on record and there was no mechanism for monitoring the conditions. She asked who would be physically liable to the neighboring farms and community if the gravel pit was approved and safeguards failed. She said Eugene Sand and Gravel being a good neighbor was questionable. She noted since 1982 neighbors and LRAPA have complained about issues on dust from their site that had not yet been mitigated.
John Moriarty, 342 Rosewood, Eugene, was concerned about dust impacts, loss of Class 1 farmland, noise impacts, loss of groundwater and traffic impacts. He said there is a lack of understanding and education on the part of consumers about where food products come from and what is happening in the agricultural community. He said the impacts from Eugene Sand and Gravel could cause the farmers to lose their businesses.
J.H. Haapala, 30848 Maple Drive, Junction City, stated he farms 50 acres organically downstream from the proposed mining operation. He said he had witnessed seven floods and there would be significant impacts that would force a change in his agricultural practices and increase his costs. He said gravel pits are not compatible with organic farming. He added that agriculture was an important part of the Countyís heritage.
Julie Fischer, 778 Elm St., Eugene, opposed the development of a gravel operation. She noted that the planning commission recommended 72 additional conditions be placed on Eugene Sand and Gravel to mitigate the negative impacts on neighboring properties and natural habitat. She said the County does not have the staff to monitor businesses on a regular business, that the community would need to trust that Eugene Sand and Gravel would voluntarily comply with the conditions.
Stacey Janssen, 141 Knoop, Junction City, opposed the land use zone change as it would have an affect on their farm community. She said Class 1 farmlands are rare and it would be irresponsible to compromise the integrity of the land, river and the farm communities by approving the land use zone changes proposed by Eugene Sand and Gravel. She didnít think the 72 conditions could be significantly reduced when according to LRAPA, they had been unable to mitigate complaints at their current site. She said the farm and lands are important to their community, supplying them with locally grown food, educational opportunities for children and habitat for the salmon. She urged the Board to deny the application.
Joy Knutson, 4440 Ryan, Eugene, was opposed to Eugene Sand and Gravelís mining plan. She was worried about dust on crops like peaches, cauliflower and berries. She was concerned about school buses stopping on River Road with trucks going back and forth. She said if they allow this to go ahead, then they would need to allow the same opportunities to other gravel companies and that would destroy River Road forever. She said a majority of Santa Clara was united against this proposal and that they would fight to protect the farmers, their children, homes, property values and their way of life.
Michelle Jensen, 92019 River Road, stated she was the daughter of Mike and Lori Jenson. She encouraged the Board to vote no on the proposal. She had lived all of her life on the farm. She said the land was forever and it must be protected and nurtured like a child. She questioned how a proposal like this could be considered as it is against the law for one business to come in and overtake another business. She planned to live on the farm and raise her children there but she said if Eugene Sand and Gravelís water didnít work that their wells could go dry. She said it wasnít about what was best for Eugene Sand and Gravelís employees or their bank balance, it was about the law and what is best for the land.
Doug Graves, 92107 River Road, Junction City, said the Class 1 and 2 soils were valuable to the farming community and the soil is irreplaceable. He said that the piece of property was high in relation to other properties of like size in the River Road area. He showed photographs of flooding in the area. He asked the Board why Eugene Sand and Gravel be given the right to flood the surrounding properties because it is a high water area.
Roberta Schneck, 30498 Maple Drive, Junction City, said the land is something special and it had been good to her family. She said it takes good land for farming. She always had enough water on her property and was concerned about the wells going dry and becoming contaminated.
Don DeWitt, 2680 Cresta De Ruta, Eugene, said the Thistledown Farm area had large number of species of birds, riparian habitat that showed that a balance of management of the land had good stewardship had been obtained. He urged the Board to turn down the gravel mining proposal, accepting the responsibility for preserving the rural area.
Jim Seaberry, 3294 Stark Street, Santa Clara, said he had respect for both the aggregate and the farm business. He said the farmers were not impacting upon the aggregate industry. He was on the side of the farmers.
Mary Oí Brien, 3525 Gilham Road, Eugene, stated the Board received no evidence that layer two of the land meets ODOTís specification for base grade aggregate because Eugene Sand and Gravel had never submitted a sample from the layer, except one that failed the concrete soundness test. She said the Board doesnít know if Eugene Sand and Gravel has 60 feet of base aggregate at the site.
Beth Dyer, 92950 Pitney Lane, Junction City, said she and her husband own an 80 acre working farm in Junction City. She said her farm is one of the smallest in the area. She said that dust and farms go together as farms produce massive amounts of dust. She stated that Eugene Sand and Gravel does not produce as much dust as a farm as they are regulated. She expected River Road farms to have less dust with Eugene Sand and Gravel as a neighbor than they would if they had another farm on that site.
Jamie McIntosh, 933 Irving Court, stated she and her husband have lived in the Santa Clara area for 14 years. She said within the past six years hundreds of new homes had been built in the area and it had impacted traffic dramatically. She noted that Eugene Sand and Gravel estimated that 90 trucks per hour would be entering or leaving the companyís facilities on River Road during peak operation periods. She added the traffic had already been impacted by the need for students to get to North Eugene High School since buses were no longer provided. She said new drivers would have to deal with the trucks on River Road and the potential for disaster would be greatly increased. She recommended the Board consider families and children as well as quality of life and vote not to allow Eugene Sand and Gravel to develop a mining complex in the area.
Jon Williams, 27464 Clear Lake Road, Eugene, stated he was not opposed to the use of gravel. He said as the population of Oregon increases, the demand would be put on resources. He said all the problems with denying this proposal could be mitigated. He said the other gravel companies have enough reserve to carry through the next several decades with competition to keep prices low. He said the loss of jobs lost at Eugene Sand and Gravel could be mitigated by the other companies hiring the employees to meet the increased demand. He said the problems with approving the proposal were impossible to mitigate. He said the loss of the farmland would be too high a cost to pay for Eugene Sand and Gravelís profits.
Robert England, 2760 Bowmont Dr., Eugene, said good people were pushing a bad idea. He noted there were no rock jobs in jeopardy. He asked the Board to do what was best for the common people and stop the ill-conceived plan.
Helen England, 2760 Bowmont Dr., Eugene, was opposed to the gravel pit.
Travis Williams, Executive Director, Willamette River Keeper, 408 S. W. 2nd, Portland, said the issue is where Eugene Sand and Gravel would find gravel. He stated this was not the site for the mining operation to occur. He said endangered species would be impacted. He said they were concerned about the water quality. He said the mine would place a hardship on the farms. He noted the Board has the opportunity to make the right decision.
Nina Lovinger, 40093 Little Fall Creek, Fall Creek, urged the Board to vote against the Eugene Sand and Gravel proposal to mine gravel at the site as it would drive the surrounding farms out of business. She said dust, noise and toxic emissions from the asphalt plant would break the spirit and livelihood of nearby farmers. She said if the water table is not maintained it would affect the farms and the expense of installing different types of pumps would impose significant hardship on nearby farms. She noted that once gravel operations begin, too little is done to control them and regulatory agencies are understaffed and are subject to pressure from special interest groups. She added the assurance of compliance would fall on Lane County.
Lauri Segel, 1210 E. 29th Place, Eugene, stated she was not opposed to the use of aggregate to help maintain the infrastructure of the community. She was opposed to the attitude that resources were there to be exploited. She didnít think this was the most appropriate site to conduct such a massive extraction practice. She said protecting the remaining high quality land in the County is the right step to take. She noted that gravel could be mined from other sites but farming was limited to the few remaining undeveloped farmlands of which there is litter. She asked the Board to protect the family farms, as the quality of life is dependent upon it.
Robert Emmons, 40093 Little Fall Creek Road, Fall Creek, stated that on this site, the gravel extraction would impact 575 acres of Class 1 and 2 soils, wildlife habitat (including Spring Chinook and steelhead runs) and nearby farms that are community institutions. He said the intent of Goal 3 is to preserve the best soils to produce food crops not gravel. He said if this is approved, there will be impacts of sound and dust pollution. He requested the Board deny this application.
Skip Hornick, 30493 Lone Pine Dr., Junction City, said he lives 300 feet away from the proposed gravel pit. He purchased the property five years ago with the confidence that they wouldnít have subdivisions, industry or a gravel pit in their neighborhood. He said in January 2000, he contacted Mike Alltucker with water and dust concerns and inquired about the possibility of Eugene and Sand Gravel purchasing his land. Hornick put his home up for sale in April. He had families interested in purchasing the home until they were told about the possibility of a gravel pit. He said no one is interested in living next to a gravel pit. He was opposed to this proposal and asked the Board to leave the farms alone. He said the zoning was put there for a reason. He noted there was an abundance of gravel elsewhere in the area, but not farmlands.
Jason Schar, 655 Ayres Road, Eugene, said he had lived between Eugene Sand and Gravel north and south pits for the past 14 years. He said the south pit was 200 yards from his property. He said his well is 72 feet deep and it pumps 60 gallons per minute and they had never detected a shortage of water. He noted on occasion he heard the trucks backing up. He said their dealings with Eugene Sand and Gravel had always been positive and they had always been good neighbors
Christy Young, 30474 Lone Pine, Junction City, supported a no vote for the Eugene Sand and Gravel proposal. She lives next to the boundary line on the north east corner and her home would be inside the proposed impact zone. She said if the gravel pit were to be approved she would no longer be interested in renting or purchasing her property. She had no desire to live next to a gravel pit, exposing their three young children to toxic chemicals. She said no fences or protection from flooding or drowning had been addressed. She encouraged the Board to vote no on this matter.
Don Sherwood, 1425 Jeppeson, Eugene, stated he had worked for Eugene Sand and Gravel for the past 22 years. He said the credibility of the company had been longstanding and they try to do the right thing in the community. He said the gravel pit is needed, as it is a matter of survival in the hard economy. He added the companyís future growth depends on the acquisition of aggregate. He encouraged the Board to vote yes on this proposal.
Charles Hunt, 130 Hanson Lane, stated he was president of the Beekeepers. He urged the Board to vote no for the rezoning of the gravel pit. He was concerned about dust and pollination, flooding and traffic. He said honeybees couldnít tell the difference between a pesticide ball of Styrofoam, a piece of dust and a piece of pollen. He was concerned about the dust on pollination structures of flowers and fruits and vegetables. He noted the production of dust in the area would seriously impede pollination.
Curt Offenbacher, 37160 Wallace Creek Road, Springfield, stated he had been an employee of Eugene Sand and Gravel for 26 years. He said the Company and the Alltuckers share his same values of ethics, ideals and professionalism.
Lee Beyer, 1439 Longridge, Springfield, said everyone wants the concrete but no one wants to mine the gravel to make it. He said there are only two places to find gravel, either out of the rivers or the floodways next to the rivers. He added in every case it would be on farmland. He encouraged the Board to study all of the testimony carefully to see if it was a site that meets the criteria. He asked if the company had met the criteria could the problems that would arise from an operation of gravel be mitigated. He thought the company had done a good job in addressing the criteria.
Scott Priaux, 3950 Goodpasture Loop, Eugene, stated it was impossible for the gravel mine and the farms to co-exist. He said if the gravel pit were allowed, the farms would fold up and leave.
Kathryn Hunt, 130 Hanson Lane, stated she was a beekeeper and operates a family-run farming business. She noted their bees were in the area of the proposed gravel pit and their flight path crosses the area. She said bees travel up to a three-mile radius for pollen, nectar and water sources. She added that dust would inhibit the gathering of pollen from one of their wild sources, the Willamette Valley blackberry. She said that noise, traffic, groundwater and loss of prime farmland were concerns of hers. She asked the Board to vote no on the proposed rezoning of farmland for a gravel pit.
Patrick McDowel, 39538 Place Road, Fall Creek, stated he was the quality control manager of Eugene Sand and Gravel. He said there is a need for products made from high quality sand and gravel to build houses, roads and buildings. He said the average house built today takes approximately 200 tons of aggregate, with the average person using 12 to 15 tons of aggregate per year. He said as the population increases so does the demand for the aggregates. He noted the quality and quantity of aggregate at the proposed site does meet the requirements of Goal 5. He said Eugene Sand and Gravel had three criteria in choosing the site. He noted the aggregate must be of sufficient quality, quantity and depth. He said they must be near the river as the further away from the river, the quality drops. He said they needed to be located near most of their customers as their materials cost a lot to haul. He added a willing seller was needed and they were working with the Harper and Lemert families. He noted the River Road location was the only site they found that met the criteria established.
Dorothy Hilburn, 1500 Norkenzie, Eugene, said the quality of life wonít change for the people who live in the area. She noted that most people wouldnít know where Eugene Sand and Gravel would be located because the plant will be almost invisible from River Road and the farms. She urged the Board to support the project.
Chris Overbaugh, 93581 Horton Rd, Blachly, stated he was a farmer in Noti and supported his fellow farmers. He was concerned about dust on organic farms. He noted that farmers could lose their certification that would make them lose their markets. He said most people in the area were against this.
Lyn Winegar, 37221 Wallace Creek Road, Springfield, stated she has been an employee at Eugene Sand and Gravel for the past 17 years and supported the proposal.
Robert Vaughn, 30590 W. Beacon, Junction City, stated the farms would be significantly affected, both monetary and in changing farm practices. He said for farms, the margin of profit is low and small changes could be significant. He said it wasnít fair to approve this proposal on the backs of the farmers and other citizens who live on River Road. He was concerned that if the proposal was approved and the plans didnít work out there would be no compensation or regress. He asked the Board not to approve the application.
Dale Miller, 4750 River Road, Eugene, stated he didnít understand why they were taking good farmland. He thought there could be a better location for a gravel pit. He said the traffic on River Road is very dangerous and he had concerns for everyoneís safety.
Libby McCulley, 408 S.W. Second, Portland, River Protection Coordinator, Willamette River Keeper, stated that on behalf of the Willamette River Keeper and their volunteers and supporters, they were in opposition to the proposed gravel pit. She said the issue is where gravel should be mined and they donít believe that prime agricultural land or river habitat are the places. She said it is important to consider the impacts that will take place. She said the proximity of this site to the river raises serious questions about Eugene Sand and Gravelís ability to adequately mitigate the factors. She noted a consideration of Goal 5 was the impact of increased dust and noise on surrounding neighbors. She added that fish and wildlife should also be considered neighbors. She said it would be in Lane Countyís best interest to encourage Eugene Sand and Gravel to look for another site where mitigation of noise and dust could occur to a greater degree and the mining activities would have less of an impact on surrounding neighbors, farms and habitat. She encouraged the Board to deny the application.
Shannon Nill, 91502 Coburg, Eugene, stated he and his brothers live within two miles of the proposed gravel pit. He said they chose to live near the river for the peace and quiet and the quality of life. He said property values would drop, as that was evident by three homes for sale since the announcement of putting the gravel pit in. He said there would be a likelihood of lost groundwater. He was concerned about the wells being contaminated. He said the future of rock quarries is getting quarry rock out of a hill.
Joanne Vaughn, 30590 W. Beacon Dr., Junction City, said the River Road and West Beacon Drive intersection is dangerous because the traffic is heavy and cars travel at high speeds, with no turn lanes on a two-lane road. She said currently Eugene Sand and Gravel is supplying products to Spring Creek Village where 100 new homes would be built. She said their trucks go down West Beacon at 55 miles per hour or more. She stated the truck brakes make loud noises and she can hear them in her house.
Emily Fox, 490 E. 30th, Eugene, said because there were so many conditions as outlined by the Land Management Division, Eugene Sand and Gravelís inability to minimize conflicts of groundwater, dust, emissions and noise could gravely affect farms in the area. She said the farms would not get adequate protections and conflicts would remain significant. She noted the asphalt plant would be using 37 noxious chemicals and nine heavy metals with no EPA standards. She said the fumes would create a nuisance odor problem.
John Marshall, 4431 Fox Hollow, Eugene, noted that Condition 9 said that Eugene Sand and Gravel would maintain an LRAPA air containment discharge. He noted enforcement personnel do not often follow up on citations or fines leaving the operations to continue to pollute the environment. He noted there were hundreds of pages of complaints filed with LRAPA from citizens complaining about Eugene Sand and Gravelís existing operations and not all were acted upon by LRAPA. He asked the Board to read the submitted complaints carefully.
David Munk, 3720 Emerald, Eugene, 3720 Emerald, stated that Eugene Sand and Gravelís application was incomplete as it failed to mitigate the impacts of the adverse operations on the neighboring farms. He said that EGR & Associates neglected to consider any other groundwater extraction over the 50 square mile area they evaluated in their model. He noted the model assumed an infinite supply of water along the projectís boundaries. He said the water pumped from the adjoining farmsí irrigation wells limits the amount of inflow from the boundaries. He said if these wells were included in their model, the impact of the mine would be different than what was predicted. He added EGR & Associatesí model failed to include any other groundwater and the information in the application was inadequate.
Jeffrey Lyons, 221 Hileman, Eugene, explained this was about a company trying to force their operation with no regard for the people who are earning their livings and providing homes for their families in their communities. He noted that traffic was already congested on River Road and the added cost to the established farmers and residents currently located in the area was accumulating. He stated due to the prevailing winds from the northwest, dust and emissions would affect many small farms located to the east and south of the proposed plant. He wasnít certain if there was really the required 60 feet of quality gravel at the proposed site. He noted with few exceptions, those in favor of this proposal have a financial stake in this decision. He asked the Board to deny this proposal.
Paul Atkinson, 83601 Territorial Road, Eugene, was against the gravel pit being built. He said there is no right to use up soil, air or water, as they have the responsibility to pass it on for the future. He said the Board could make a difference by saying no and suggesting Eugene Sand and Gravel get the rock in a different location.
Jonathan Herber, 395 E. 30th, Eugene, stated numerous conditions were given to Eugene Sand and Gravel for the hours that the gravel could be mined. He asked who would monitor it. His main concern was that the DEQ had no way of enforcing violations. He urged the Board to deny the application.
Lawrence Birch, 1490 Jefferson, Eugene, was against the approval of Eugene Sand and Gravelís change in land use code. He found it surprising that Eugene Sand and Gravel was able to meet or exceed the standards of the criteria. He doubted the water quality would be maintained and the dusty conditions kept down. He thought the farmland should be the highest priority.
Dave Sullivan, 30797 Maple Drive, Junction City, stated he had a mixed vegetable organic farm. He noted all the produce was marketed locally throughout Lane County. He stated he had five employees who were also dependent upon his farm. He said many jobs were at stake for both groups of people. He noted the area had farming history dating back to the mid 1800ís. He said dust, noise, traffic, groundwater contamination and flooding are all issues associated with this site. He said if Eugene Sand and Gravel attempts to mitigate these problems and their problems are not solved, it would have a negative economic and environmental impact on neighboring farms. He urged the Board to vote against this and to preserve the prime farmland.
Pete Zagar, 2366 Marjorie, Eugene, stated he was the project superintendent at Eugene Sand and Gravel. He explained that Eugene Sand and Gravel had meet all the standards that were required.
Kim Vandeysis, Bear Mountain Honey, 81888 Bear Mountain Road, Creswell, said he had been a commercial beekeeper for 20 years. He noted that 30% of his revenue comes from inside the impact zone. He said he produces honey for restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries in the area. He said if current land use laws are ignored and mining is allowed in the area, he would be forced to move his bees. He said farming and gravel mining cannot co-exist without significantly impacting local farming as standard hazards for bees include dust and toxins, both which would be created by Eugene Sand and Gravel. He noted that food was more important than gravel.
Pat Bohanan, 30282 Lassen Lane, Junction City, said she was in the area first. She stated she and her husband were the third owners of the property since statehood. She said some things are more important than money. She wanted to leave the land unchanged for the next generation. She wondered what insurance she had that her wells would not go dry and when the water ran out who would pay for it. She had concerns about the safety of the water coming from an asphalt plant gravel, a former toxic dumpsite and a mine.
Wade Skinner, 92308 Highway 99, Junction City, said the decisions are being made to create a high quality of life and part of the process is nurturing a healthy farming community, a strong viable agricultural system builds character and other qualities of life. He said that Lane County needs to aggressively pursue an economic balance that supports the ideals of its citizens being able to produce for their families. He didnít want anyone to lose employment over the issue, but requested the Board resolve the issue by asking for an alternate, less-impactable site to be considered so the farming community could stay intact. He noted when they take care of the land, it lasts forever.
Jan Wostman, 2645 Riverview, Eugene, stated the farmersí livelihood would be impacted in a negative way, and for that reason, he asked the Board to deny the land use application.
Jan Spencer, 212 Benjamin, Eugene, said not all crops are created equal and some suffer with dust. He was concerned about the traffic on River Road. He stated direct marketing was an important local resource.
Lisa Arkin, 29136 Gimpl Hill Road, Eugene, said that significance was reached when the margin of profit for farm survival was threatened. She said family farms are being driven out of business because they operate on a small margin of profit. She added that each conflict with aggregate mining forces change in the cost of farming practices. She noted there would be an overall significant affect on the family farms and the condition constitutes a significant change in accepted farm practice and cost. She said the cost of land was a factor in figuring the profitability of farming. She noted that gravel companies could pay many times beyond the ability of farmers for the land.
Shelly Reed, 30145 El Rio Lane, Junction City, was opposed to the gravel pit. She said there is little recognition that there is a pre-existing community well beyond the 1500 impact zone that would be displaced by the traffic, noise and flooding. She was not convinced the issue of flooding had been mitigated. She said by allowing the gravel pit, they risk destroying property causing irreversible economic damage and making it impossible for them to reach their homes. She noted besides farms, there are hundreds of single family residences all in the floodplain.
Clyde Beat, 55 Deley Drive, Eugene, stated he farms next to Delta Sand and Gravel and across the river from Eugene Sand and Gravel. He said he had to put down four new wells because his had gone dry and he would lose his water. He said if the regeneration of water would work, the river should regenerate his water but it was not happening.
Christina Calhoon, 291 Irving Road, Eugene, said she was not connected to farmers or Eugene Sand and Gravel but was a concerned member of the community. Her concern was a draught in which insufficient rainfall would bring small amounts of water to be used. She asked if a gravel mine should be allowed in an area in which there is also farming since both farming and mining both require large amounts of water. She said by allowing Eugene Sand and Gravel to rewrite the rules for resources in agricultural land, they would be opening up a can of worms that would bring harmful consequences to the community in the future.
Kurt Young, 30474 Lone Pine, Junction City, said they are renting their property and are looking to buy it from the Jensons but if the mine goes in, they would not do that as it would be unsafe for his children and difficult for them to live there. He was concerned about the noise problems.
Tom Nelson, 4538 Doyle, Eugene, stated the statistics for the gravel pit did not include any wind velocity while calculating their results. He noted with the proposed plan, there would be a continuous noise level of trucks going down River Road for eight hours a day.
Dean Gotchell, 29925 Sovern Lane, Junction City, commented that the drive time that once took 20 minutes now takes 35 to minutes. He had been involved in six floods since he lived on his property. He was concerned with his well and water and thought it was a subject the Board needed to address.
Debra Brady, 1382 Dalton Dr., Eugene, expressed her opposition to putting a gravel pit into the farmland. She noted that food came from farms and that is why the most productive land is designated for farmland and it is protected from development.
Florette Brewer, 30149 Victory, Junction City, said Junction City was 2/8 of a mile from the entrance to the pit and she was concerned about it. She said dust can be washed off and is not harmful to the public. She was on a well and was concerned that her well would be affected if her water table were brought down too much. She asked if the Board would pipe out water to them when their wells go dry. She couldnít see school buses and gravel trucks mixing twice a day on River Road. She noted the Oregon legislature promised to protect and preserve as much farmland as possible.
Bill Sokol, 240 Sunnyside Dr., Eugene, was concerned about the dust. He said there were laws and rules with little enforcement. He wondered who would do the enforcing.
Michael Schuber, 1382 Dalton, Eugene, expressed his opposition to the gravel pit. He was concerned about the dust and the loss of prime farmland.
Debra Higbee, 1281 Dalton, Eugene, noted the Sierra Club opposed the gravel pit. She said they had been actively working to stop the development for a few years. She believed she represented most of the members in stating the opposition to Eugene Sand and Gravelís proposal for a gravel pit. She added they were concerned about the affect to family owned farmers.
Miriam Reinhart, 30710 Lucky Lane, Junction City, was totally opposed to the gravel pit and asphalt plant. She noted thousands of people come to the farms to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables and flowers, enjoying the open land. She said the County would lose a productive and beautiful rural area close into the city and that is how the livability of city gets destroyed.
Thomas Finney, 1443 Centennial Blvd., Springfield, said this was about wisdom versus greed and rock versus farms. He said the mine could be located elsewhere. He said he and his family would do everything they could to see that the farms are well represented because this has to stop. He added it was bad business sense.
Glenn Love, 393 Fulvue Dr., Eugene, represented the McKenzie Fly Fishers and he read a statement from them into the record. He said they were concerned about this issue and other communities had moved to take mining out of floodplains and rivers and into less destructive environments.
Ben Brown, 4300 Goodpasture Loop, Eugene, was an employee of Eugene Sand and Gravel. He said they are a good place to work and they are great to the community. He noted that Eugene Sand and Gravel is covered by trees to hide the mining operation.
Margaret Henderson, 29649 Sovern Lane, Junction City, said that DOGAMI derives part of their operation revenue from fees for siting of gravel pits. She said DOGAMI was responsible for mining and reclamation oversight of approved sites, not promoting new sites. She asked where DOGAMI was when Eugene Sand and Gravel built an illegal dike without a permit that caused Delta Sand and Gravelís pond to flood.
Justin Henderson, 91455 River Road, Junction City, said that no mitigation had been proposed by Eugene Sand and Gravel to lessen the impact of truck traffic in front of Thistledown Farms and its affect on their business. He said the traffic on River Road would cause commuters to take Highway 99, thereby shopping less often or not at all to avoid the congestion. He said there was no commercial business that could withstand commercial traffic of this magnitude without an adverse affect on their sales.
Ryan Henderson, 30695 Lucky Lane, Junction City, said he is the greenhouse manager at Thistledown Farms and runs the produce stands. He said that Thistledown Farms had developed over the past 30 years a vertically integrated production and marketing strategy. He said fresh marketing sales is one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture and is an allowed use in EFU zones. He said value-added crops and retail marketing demand higher standards of quality in produce. He noted due to differences in the way the crops are handled and processed, there could be few comparisons made between conventional agricultural and farm direct marketing. He said they currently grow approximately 75 different fruits and vegetables and orchard crops at Thistledown. He noted Eugene Sand and Gravel gave examples of farms that coexist with current gravel companies. He added when they were checked, there were unidentified operations, commercial farms (such as grass seed growers), a commercial cannery and two in Corvallis that had economic ties to the gravel industry through land sales and rentals.
Joel Narva, 2830 Echo Lane, Eugene, said when local produce is bought fresh, it tastes better, it is healthier and the local economy is being helped. He said if the Board allows the rezoning, 575 acres of farmland would become destroyed, the nearby farms would be degraded and the farm economy would be damaged. He asked the Board to think about the future and not look back and be sorry as the gravel will still be there.
Bonnie Meisenholder, 27967 Buckshire, Eugene, represented Soroptomist International of Junction City. She noted that the Beacon House had been donated to them and other non-profit organizations for fundraisers and other functions. She said the event center is beautiful and it would be seriously impacted by the gravel trucks, noise and pollution, not only on River Road but onto Beacon Drive, thereby turning what is now a peaceful country setting into a heavy construction zone. She asked the Board not to allow this to happen and deny the application.
Sandra Bishop, 591 W. 10th Eugene, said the constant assault on prime agricultural land affects everyone. She was in opposition to using prime farmland in the River Road area for gravel extraction. She said it was time to stop and not allow the development of farmland. She said it was about where everyone gets food and preserving the land.
Pam Orender, 30390 Lassen Lane, Junction City, was concerned about the future. She said her well water had suffered from the floods. She asked why there were no options to pursue other areas as they were focusing on a negative area.
Rita Duvall, 3354 Gardenia Way, reported there was a farmer in this area that did not have enough water to water his fruit trees. She asked what would happen when the gravel pit goes in. She said many people would be affected. She said properties are already being affected in the area.
Eileen McLellan, 2831 NW Three Sisters, Bend, was in support of Eugene Sand and Gravel. She noted farm property had been sacrificed for the improvement of the professional environment of Eugene. She said circumstances change and farmland is changed for new and successful business enterprises. She stated she was also a farmer and the property that Eugene Sand and Gravel wants is difficult to farm.
Carolyn Forde, 29953 Sovern Lane, Junction City, believed that Eugene Sand and Gravel had demonstrated that the resource is significant on the property. She said that Eugene Sand and Gravel has a commitment to mitigate impact but she was convinced they had adequately mitigated the impact to traffic. She said to her River Road is a tourist destination in Lane County and mentioning farmland to people means something. She said it wasnít acceptable to allow the mining in the area because it is a beautiful special place that would be adversely impacted. She noted there were alternate sites for gravel extraction. She said the gravel would be here for 100 years, but that not might be the same case for the farmland.
Greg Butler, 2050 Goodpasture Loop, Eugene, stated his father retired from Eugene Sand and Gravel and despite that, he believed that this was a bad decision.
Janet Harper, 29850 Harper Road, Junction City, recommended the Board support rezoning their property from exclusive farm use to aggregate mining operation. She noted her family was leasing over 300 acres to the Eugene Sand and Gravel for the proposed gravel mining operation and only 25% of their acres are farmable. She noted the Harper family had farmed in the area since the late 1800ís and is a fifth generation farm family.
Marilyn Rear, 91820 Territorial Highway, Junction City, said dust is a concern for farms and a way of life. She noted the stands on River Road had brought traffic to the area. She said they could work together as a team of good neighbors with the farms and the gravel pit. She was in support of Eugene Sand and Gravel.
Pam Henderson, 91455 River Road, Junction City, noted some farms are raising commercial crops and are not fresh market operations. She said the examples are in the report submitted by Andrews, Doyle & Associates, April 2001, on page 25 to 27. She noted that none of the examples given represent the kind of farming they do at Thistledown Farms.
Marie Gray, 353 Knoop Lane, Eugene, asked the Board to deny the request for rezoning. She asked the Board to save the farming soil, as it is never replaceable.
Dale Fortner, 797 Howard, Eugene, stated he is the manger of the production department at Eugene Sand and Gravel. He said it was rare that they received an air quality complaint of any kind despite what was claimed. He said the company recognizes that dust could be a problem for farmers and homeowners and they had quantified the dust that would leave their site by using a worst case scenario. He noted the LRAPA standard for the new site is one-third the amount of fallout allowed by DEQ, meaning Lane County is stricter than the state. He said LRAPA had approved their modeling and said the control measures would work. He said his company had provided and will continue to provide factual information that is based on science.
Wanda Simmons, 1183 Skipper, Eugene, urged the Board to deny the request. She said using the Beltline for their haul road would further deteriorate the value of homes and lives that live along the Beltline. She said if the permit is allowed, the County, state and Eugene Sand and Gravel should be required to put up a cement soundwall from Northwest Expressway to River Road.
Douglas Cook, 255 Irving Road, Eugene, said they are dealing with farmland and commerce and where the two collide. He said the Willamette River provides the best aggregate soils for mining or quarrying and it is also prime land for farming. He said the question comes down to what does Lane County want.
Melissa Price, 3935 N. Delta Road, Eugene, stated she had been Eugene Sand and Gravelís closest neighbor to the north pit for the past ten years. She has animals on her property and she had never lost an animal to the truck traffic and traffic had not been a problem. She said Eugene Sand and Gravel had been exemplary neighbors.
Cheryl Reinhart, 100 Crocker Lane, Eugene, was opposed to the gravel pit going in. She was concerned about the air quality as she has a child that was born with respiratory difficulties. She noted that anything that affects the air quality in the area would affect everyone in Eugene. She added she relies on the farms for her business.
Wally Carruthers, 725 Ayres Road, stated they have lived on the north side of the Eugene Sand and Gravel pit for 21 years. He noted they had not had any problems since they had lived there. He said Eugene Sand and Gravel cared about the neighborsí welfare. He never had a problem with well water or dust. He said Eugene Sand and Gravel had been a good neighbor and he was confident they would be a good neighbor to the farms.
Kevin Jones, 4741 Wendover, Eugene, stated the burden of proof was on the applicant. He said it is the Boardís job of taking the position of defending the farmland until no significant impact is proven. He said the Planning Commission did this. He encouraged the Board to hire a team of independent scientists to sort through the technical information for and against that related to significant impact. He said a gravel pit does not fit between vibrant successful farms. He said there are other places the operation could fit in with less concern. He hoped the Board would defend the farmland.
Noah OíHare, 533 N. 9th St., Springfield, was the Market Director of the Lane County Farmers Market and a citizen of the County. He said the Lane County Farmers Market is a 22 year old association with over 150 local growers with over $1 million in total growth sales. He noted last year the Board passed a resolution of support for public markets. He noted the resolution acknowledged the importance of agriculture in the area and the critical nature of the market to enhance the viability of farming and producing Oregon grown products. He said what is also essential to the viability is the availability and affordability of prime farmland. He said approving this proposal sends a wrong message to the farming community. He noted no comprehensive aggregate resource inventory had been done to understand the context of comparable feasibility. He said there was a lack of comprehensive information with which to reasonably make a determination. He said it was important to have prime farmland and the ability to get the crops to market. He noted the proposal works in direct opposition.
Joy Dickey, 30498 Maple Drive, Junction City, was against the mining of the gravel pit.
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 9:50 p.m.