High-tech firm in Grass Valley could leave if mine is approved | SierraSun.com

High-tech firm in Grass Valley could leave if mine is approved

GRASS VALLEY “-The leader of a Grass Valley high-tech firm hinted the company could leave the area if city planners approve the reopening of the controversial Idaho-Maryland Mine.

Joseph Petrofsky, of the electronic circuit design firm Linear Technology, said he wants the mine’s final environmental report to include adding a no-cost exit clause to the company’s lease if the project is approved.

The company also wants the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp. to pay “all expenses to mitigate business interruptions,” Petrofsky said, with no more than 10 days to remedy those work halts. In particular, the firm is afraid that mine blasting will cause more vibration than its circuit design instruments can handle. Linear Technology is located in the Whispering Pines business park area just above the proposed mine site.

Petrofsky made the request at a meeting late Tuesday of the Grass Valley Planning Commimssion, which held a second public hearing on the mine’s environmental impact report.

Also expressing concern for businesses in the Whispering Pines area was Keith Bassett, who said the mine conflicts with the city’s plan to keep high-tech firms in the area. The mine would create “a massive bait and switch,” of business priorities, Bassett said.

Familiar refrains blasting and praising the proposed mine reopening filled the packed air Tuesday night at the Planning Commission. It was the city’s ninth meeting on the environmental report for the project.

Environmentalists blasted the idea and supporters welcomed prospective jobs and a boost to the local economy as they have in recent meetings, commenting about the historic gold mine’s draft environmental report. Tuesday night was the final comment meeting and the city’s Community Development Department will now finalize the document for the Planning Commission and City Council’s use. More meetings are expected as the Planning Commission pushes an environmental report OK or rejection recommendation to a joint meeting with the City Council. Even more will be held when the City Council weighs in on the issue and more public comments will be taken during those meetings, according to city staff.

In recent weeks, the Nevada County Planning Commission sent a comment letter to the city, asking for more accurate traffic flow numbers for the final report and a discussion on how mine truck traffic will impact area highways.

At a meeting earlier this month about the report, financial manager and mine area resident Bob Clark promised the city a lawsuit if the Planning Commission approves the environmental report and passes it on to the City Council. Clark is concerned that his well will dry up when the mine starts to de-water old shafts and doubts the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp.’s financial ability to run it.

Water well draw downs were also the concern of the Banner Mountain Homeowners Association, which hired it own experts to produce public comment reports on the environmental study.

Two hydrogeologists hired by the homeowners questioned the reports calculations and accuracy. The geologists said dewatering could leave homes uninhabitable and decrease their value.

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