Teichert, neighbors compromise over quarry concerns in Truckee
July 3, 2017
After several months of talks, Martis Valley Quarry operator Teichert Aggregates has a plan to address concerns of its neighbors.
The Truckee Planning Commission reviewed Teichert's Conditional Use Permit for the first time in 15 years on June 20, adding several new requirements but ultimately allowing the company to continue operating the Martis Valley Quarry.
"We are all remiss, and by we I mean the applicant team, the town team, for not having done this five-year review in 2007 and 2012," said Truckee Community Development Director and soon-to-be Town Manager Jeff Loux. "You can blame me if you want, but I wasn't here. I was living in Davis."
In March, when the permit was put on the commission's agenda for review, local residents asked to have the meeting rescheduled to allow time to get the word out to anyone interested in attending. Many neighbors living downwind from the quarry, which is used as both a mining site and asphalt recycling plant, were fed up with the noise and fumes from the operation and hoping to make the company relocate.
"This is a five-year review," said Loux at the meeting. "It's not a new conditional use permit, it's not a development application. There's a lot of things it isn't … I think it's important to recognize that."
As the Sierra Sun previously reported, Teichert Aggregates was granted a permit to mine the Martis Valley Quarry by Nevada County in 1983, long before Truckee incorporated. Current Town Manager Tony Lashbrook told the Sierra Sun in March that when the town did incorporate, it was required to honor all contracts held by Nevada County.
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At the June 20 meeting, Town Attorney Andrew Morris said despite what some residents thought, the original permit handed down by the county has no expiration date.
Glenshire resident Marc Pado created the group Protect Air and Water Quality in Truckee in an attempt to organize neighbors who want Teichert gone.
"The town is basically throwing their hands up and saying, 'We have no power to do anything," he said.
However, Pado also said that he is generally satisfied with solutions that the company offered up in an effort to address the complaints from neighbors.
"Absent them giving an end date and going away, this is the best that we could have hoped for," Pado said.
Teichert Aggregates hosted two meetings with community members, first to hear their complaints, and then to bring back some possible solutions.
Since the smell of the asphalt recycling plant was a concern, the company has committed to building a structure that would encase the smelly oil tanks and filter the air that escapes from them. They also plan to add a substance to the oil to lessen the odor.
As far as dust and noise are concerned, the company is limited in what it can control given wind conditions and delivery truck drivers. But they have agreed to try and reduce the noise from back-up beepers. They've also agreed to have someone spray water around the quarry to try and reduce dust when the wind exceeds 25 miles per hour.
"Most people were very impressed that Teichert came to the table with a plan," Pado said. "They listened to us at the first meeting, and they came back with real solutions and added them to the permit … that's a much better outcome than we thought we were going to get, even though most of the people closer to the plant would prefer that they leave."
Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.