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Supervisors Shirlee Zane, Efren Carrillo and Valerie Brown all said ?no,? albeit for differing reasons.

Petaluma?s supervisor, Mike Kerns, added several more conditions to the 144 already listed for the Haystack Landing asphalt plant in the county?s environmental impact statement in the ?unlikely event,? he said, that the project would get the green light on July 21, when the supervisors will formally vote on the proposal.

What surprised the people remaining at the end of the hearing is that the board polled 4 to 1 for the project in February, with both Brown and Carrillo supporting it.

An overflow crowd jammed the supervisors? hearing chambers on Tuesday afternoon, with chairs and speakers set up in the hallway outside and both walls lined with prospective speakers. People sported signs and placards supporting or condemning the proposed asphalt plant and recycling yard just south of town.

?I believe health is the biggest issue here,? said Brown, speaking first after the board listened to 37 speakers. ?I worry about the health effects of an asphalt plant.? Brown, who represents the Sonoma Valley, has been active in county health issues for many years.

Shirlee Zane, 3rd District supervisor, also voted against the project because of health care concerns, having lost an aunt and uncle because of industrial pollution. She is a cancer survivor herself.

?I don?t believe in arrogance when it comes to environmental toxins,? she said.

While she hated to pass on bringing new jobs to the county, Zane was furious at Aimi Dutra, spokesperson for the sponsoring Dutra Group, for saying at a previous hearing that the company had not had complaints filed against its previous quarry and asphalt operation, a half mile away from the new site, that operated for 23 years before closing in 2000.

?There were multiple violations that ultimately forced you to shut that plant down and sell the property,? Zane said. Dutra said afterward that she believed Zane misunderstood what she had said because she had been referring to community complaints, not official violations.

Zane and Brown also cited the many amendments that would be necessary to county ordinances, zoning laws, the county?s recently revised General Plan, the 16 significant and unmitigatable impacts in the environmental impact report and the 144 conditions of approval for the project.

Besides not having enough county staff to monitor the project, ?What kind of precedent does that put on our General Plan?? Zane said.

4th District Supervisor Paul Kelley and 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo condemned Petaluma?s city government for getting involved in the process late and then being inconsistent, first demanding conditions be imposed (which were) and then opposing the project. Nonetheless, Carrillo decided to withdraw his previous support.

?If the city had gotten involved in this process much earlier, I think there would have been a very different outcome today,? Carrillo said. And while he doesn?t support moving an environmental problem to someone else?s doorstep, he felt the land use issues were too great to support continuing with the project. ?I don?t feel comfortable moving this project forward,? he said.

Mayor Pamela Torliatt said later that Petaluma had a very different City Council when the project was initiated at the county level and she had a hard time, as a council member at the time, getting the city involved.

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?We did send a letter that had a lot of conditions that were used by supervisors,? a letter prompted by former county supervisor Bill Kortum. ?After the election of 2008, we had a great shift in the City Council to more progressive members who really understand the economics of major land-use decisions being made on behalf of the city.?

Torliatt warned that the final vote could be different. ?There is some time between now and the final vote on July 21. We need to be diligent to support those supervisors who have ?straw-voted? their opposition to the plant. We can make our voices heard as individuals; be diligent by talking to other people in the community. Don?t let this huge groundswell of public opinion die before the final vote takes place,? she said.

(Contact Jay Gamel at argus@arguscourier.com)

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