A Santa Rosa asphalt plant was granted a permit Thursday to install three new towering storage silos over concerns expressed by neighbors that it would allow expanded production at the plant.
The Santa Rosa Planning Commission voted 3-2 to approve the permit. Neighbors vowed to appeal to the City Council.
Bodean Company general manager Bill Williams stressed the additional storage capacity would not increase the production capability of the plant, which he said would remain at 300 tons per hour.
"The silos do not allow us to produce more," Williams said. "It is not like coming in to buy coffee at a convenience store."
The difference was the additional storage would allow the plant to operate more efficiently.
The company said the changes proposed for the plant would actually reduce many of the concerns raised by neighbors. Williams said it would reduce nighttime operations of the plant by allowing asphalt to be mixed ahead of time for night paving jobs.
Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced because wait time for trucks will be trucked and fumes known as "blue smoke" would be captured by modern vacuum equipment on the silos.
Neighbor Jennifer Watson said she couldn't believe how city officials could conclude the project wouldn't create a significant impact on the area.
"That would bring the equivalent of three 7-story buildings into our neighborhood," Watson said.
The silos, which will cost $1.5 million to install, can hold 280 tons of mixed asphalt each. They only hold the product for 18 to 24 hours, Williams said.