Quarry owner seeks return to mining 

In the wake of a failed attempt to bring residential housing to Guadalupe Valley Canyon Quarry, quarry officials are picking up where they left off and renewing a county permit to continue mining.

But some residents unhappy with the dust, traffic and environmental impacts from the quarry are continuing to push the city to find another way to shut it down.

Measure B, which would have allowed 173 residential units, a community facility, open space and a public park to be built on the 157-acre quarry site, failed overwhelmingly last November with 73 percent opposed, largely because many oppose residential or commercial development on the site.

As a result, California Rock and Asphalt Co. has begun revising its reclamation plan to begin renewing its surface mining permit with San Mateo County, a process that had been on hold since 2000 because of the effort to bring housing to the site.

"Usually you revise it when the surface mining permit has to be renewed or extended" on five-year terms, said Mignone Wood, a land-use consultant specializing in quarries who works with California Rock & Asphalt. "We need to submit the [reclamation plan] for the process to restart."

The company, which wants to close because owner Sam Johnson is tired of the commute across the Bay, is still investigating other options for the site, said Owen Poole, a real estate consultant with the site. It has given up on the idea of a residential project, however.

"We’re not going to take this to the city on a residential deal — way too complicated and not worth it," Poole said.

Alternate uses for the site that have been discussed by quarry opponents include park land, a wildlife sanctuary or an educational center on the surrounding environment, said Michele Salmon, who co-chaired the campaign against the measure.

The Peninsula Humane Society is loosely considering long term plans at the site, among other locations, for a sanctuary-type setting, Society President Ken White said.

Because quarry permits are issued by the county and not the city, the ability of city officials to close the quarry is "quite limited," according to City Attorney Hal Toppel. Quarry opponents, however, are still hoping to find an alternative land use for the site.

"We can assist potential developers in processing applications for alternative uses of the quarry, but at the moment there is no one to assist," Toppel wrote in a memo to the City Council.

E-mail David Smith at dsmith@examiner.com.

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