“Substantive Comments” and Opposition “Suspends” Asphalt Plant Application

M Fk, Milsap Bar

We spoke with Tracey Ferguson of Plumas County Planning earlier. They received over 220 comments from the public on the asphalt plant IS/ MND. Good work Plumas County! She said that because of substantive comments (comments that would require them to add to or modify their MND) and other factors they and project applicant are pausing this application and will not be moving forward or answering questions / responding to comments submitted as part of the 30 day comment period. If Hat Creek decides they want to proceed after all, they can re-activate the application anytime within a year, but they would need to go through another comment period and/ or respond to existing questions/ comments in the record. See below.

So basically, substantive information in the record showing their analysis was flawed was what tipped the balance and ground this thing to a halt. Thank you to our attorney Rae Lovko with GreenFire Law, and Andrew Shapiro of Roux Associates Environmental Consultants for their excellent comments and analysis (which is now posted here), and especially Plumas Preservation Coalition and all of you who contributed and worked so hard individually and collectively in our area to prevent this development.
This version of events from Tracey as described to me this morning and below is substantially different than what was reported in the paper, and put out by Hat Creek yesterday, by the way. Interesting that Jon Kennedy, City Manager was out again spinning Hat Creek’s version of events on Facebook (that Hat Creek suspended on their own because they are likely not going to get the Caltrans contract. (the face-saving version).
The permit application was “suspended” because the site is inappropriate, there were photos of flooding as recent as 2017, the public was working hard (as we all were against the first plan), united against them, and Hat Creek submitted a flawed and inaccurate Initial Study/ Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) which was torn apart by many of us.
Thank you all for your donations! We are still collecting contributions for the postcards sent to 96106, 96103, 96122, banner, attorneys fees and environmental consultant fees, and at this time, we welcome contributions from the public as these expenses are not insignificant. Donate here—-> DONATE.
Donating to FRA! will help us cover our costs, prepare to oppose this project if it surfaces again in the next year, or other inappropriate projects if (when!) they come up. We hope to receive the results of our public records act request for all communications between the planning dept. and Hat Creek/ Caltrans etc. in the next week or two and will share anything of significance here on our website.
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Ferguson, Tracey” <TraceyFerguson@countyofplumas.com>
Subject: RE: asphalt plant
Date: June 13, 2023 at 8:11:54 AM PDT
To: Josh Hart <joshuahart@baymoon.com>
Hi Josh – I will be making a comment before the Board of Supervisors today during the meeting and submitting a statement to Plumas News, as follows:
The Hat Creek Construction Site Development Permit (SDP 8-22/23-01) project CEQA MND – Mitigated Negative Declaration (State Clearinghouse Number 2023050270) comment period ended June 10, 2023. Due to the CEQA MND response to comments deliverable now pending, the application has been deemed “incomplete” (Plumas County Code, Site Development Permits, Section 9-2.1133(a)(3)) until such time the response to CEQA MND comments is satisfactorily provided to the Planning Department. The “incomplete status” is effective, Monday June 12th, 2023.  Once deemed incomplete, the Plumas County Code provides a 1-year time frame for the application to be made complete. Should the application not been made “complete” by June 12, 2024, the project will be considered “withdrawn.”
Tracey Ferguson, AICP
Planning Director
Plumas County Planning Department
P: (530) 283-6214

FRA! Submits Response to Hat Creek Asphalt Plant

Feather River Action! today submitted the below comments (downloadable in pdf format) to Plumas County Zoning Administrator Tracey Ferguson regarding Hat Creek/ Caltrans’ plans to build an asphalt plant on the river where the photo above was taken. Please feel free to share this public document. We will let you know on this website when a hearing is scheduled on this matter. No asphalt plant on the Feather River! Ever!

Feather River Action! Asphalt Plant Comments June 2023

GreenFire Law/ Roux Associates Comment Letter (Hired by FRA! with Your Support!)

Hat Creek Talking Points E-Mails Raise New Questions About Loyalties of Portola City Manager

Update June 17th, 2023: We e-mailed the Portola Mayor Bill Powers (twice) for answers to these questions below  but so far there has been no response….

These printed e-mails were handed inadvertently to an unnamed person by Perry Thompson of Hat Creek Construction over the last couple of weeks. That recipient scanned them, provided them to us, and we are providing them to the public.

These e-mails raise some immediate questions:
1) Most importantly, why is Portola City Manager Jon Kennedy relaying the talking points Hat Creek is providing to him and actively supporting the asphalt plant, when the Portola City Council (who hired him and pay his $100K+ salary), has taken no public position on the project? Is this part of his city manager role, or something else?
2) Do the city council know about their city manager’s activities in promoting the asphalt plant? The Brown Act requires public noticing of decisions and policies, and explicitly prohibits backroom deals.
3) Is Mr. Kennedy’s compensation coming from other sources besides his city manager salary? What motivation is there for Mr. Kennedy to promote the plant?
4) The talking points contain many inaccuracies, as the permit for the plant would basically be unlimited in terms of operating hours and longevity, there has been no air district sign off, and the asphalt component is very similar to what was proposed in NE Portola two years ago that the council vehemently opposed. What has changed?