The board voted 4-1 — with Lovelace dissenting — to deny an appeal made by Humboldt Baykeeper and California Trout on the Halvorsen Quarry reclamation plan. The appeal made in March called for the plan to include an erosion and sediment strategy, documentation of appropriated water permits, protections for nearby nesting bald eagles, revisions to the Mitigated Negative Declaration and making independent water quality tests of Rocky Creek available to the public.
The board added the condition that the applicant of the reclamation plan, Ryan Schneider, sign an indemnification agreement to cover the county should any litigation follow the decision.
California Trout North Coast manager Darren Mierau asked the board to approve the conditions originally recommended by county staff rather than throw the entire appeal out.
“We’re trying to make sure the county follows what rules and laws are in place,” Mierau said. “We put forth some issues in our appeal. The staff responded to it, and it seemed like there was going to be a positive response to that. I think that you’re interrupting a process that could have worked well.”
The reclamation plan will remain in effect until 2025, but will become invalid should the quarry increase its mining area.
With the recent upwelling of frustration over Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits filed in the region by Eureka attorney Jason Singleton, the supervisors also voted to gather information from local businesses and chambers of commerce in their districts and discuss the input at the first February meeting.
“There is no businesses in this county that are doing well enough that they can alienate any person that will do business with them,” Bohn said.
The possible creation of a subcommittee addressing ADA lawsuits was also mentioned several times during the meeting.