?Yes, I remain hopeful,? said Aimi Dutra, the company?s community relations director. ?I believe that it?s the right place for the plant, and hope that the board will weigh all the facts and studies before taking the final vote.?
Dutra said she was ?a bit surprised? that three of the five board members voiced opposition to the project at their June 9 meeting after four members had supported it in a ?straw? vote on Feb. 2.
?After the Feb. 2 vote, there were no significant changes other than additional conditions that were added to address some people?s concerns about the plant,? she said.
She said that Dutra likes the site because of its proximity to the Petaluma River and Highway 101, and because it is in the ?corridor? occupied by other industrial businesses.
Dutra feels that the plant would enhance the community.
?We would be able to offer employment opportunities, and local and cost-effective products. Others would be able to reap economic benefits. It would be a state-of-the-art plant, suitable for an environmentally sensitive area,? Dutra said.
She declined to speculate on what the company will do if the board rejects the plant.
?I like to look at ?the glass? as being half full,? she said, adding that the company is committed to having a plant in Sonoma County.
Two asphalt plants are operating in Santa Rosa, and Dutra has an asphalt plant in San Rafael.
Meanwhile, the staff of Supervisor Mike Kerns is finalizing the wording of additional environmental conditions that would need to be met if another vote reversal occurs, and the highly controversial Dutra asphalt plant is approved by the board of supervisors.
On June 9, Kerns and board chairman Paul Kelley expressed support for the project, while original opponent Shirlee Zane was joined by Valerie Brown and Efren Carrillo, both of whom had initially supported the plant, which would be built beside the Petaluma River, across from Shollenberger Park.
Brown and Carrillo switched their votes after reviewing information in a planning staff report and hearing testimonies at the June 9 meeting, which attracted more than 200 people and lasted nearly five hours.
At the meeting, Kerns mentioned the general thrust of the additional conditions, besides the 144 listed in the county?s environmental impact statement.
?I don?t know if these conditions will cause anyone to change their vote,? Kerns said. ?I am adding them because my staff suggested them, and I want to make this potential project as safe as it can possibly be and have as little impact (on the environment) as possible.?
Some of the additional conditions call for loading controls in the truck loading tunnel; requiring that the plant shut down production and equipment if loading equipment designed to capture and abate emissions becomes inoperable or ineffective; and utilizing engines in such as way that diesel emissions are reduced.
The conditions also call for requiring the crusher to be enclosed; modifying one of the conditions to prohibit blocking of the navigable channel; and specifying penalties for violating any terms and conditions of a use permit.
After the affirmative straw vote on Feb. 2, the supervisors talked about preparing a resolution supporting the project, but when it became apparent at the June 9 meeting that a majority now oppose it, Kelley said that staff members should prepare a resolution rejecting it.