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City Begs Court to Void County's Fast-Track Amendments

The city of Temecula has filed a Writ of Mandate against the county, seeking to invalidate the amendments that add surface mines to the county’s Fast Track Policy -- possibly putting LIberty Quarry back on the menu.

Temecula is using the courts to overturn ordinance amendments that give the Riverside County Board of Supervisors power to allow surface mining projects, while skipping county Planning Commission perusal or approval.

City officials are worried that the defeated Liberty Quarry could rear its head again, this time under a fast-track process that would require very little review and no other oversight.

The city attorney filed the papers in Riverside County Superior Court Wednesday.

In addition to a petition for a Writ of Mandate invalidating the amendments, the city is also asking for a stay and a permanent injunction that would keep the county from fast-tracking any strip mining projects—ever.

The contentious Liberty Quarry falls within the purview of the fast-track ordinance, angering city officials and spurring the fight against a proposed project just outside city limits.

According to papers filed with the court, the city is basing its petition on four points:

  1. The county is violating California Environmental Quality Act laws because it never proved an assertion that there are no potential environmental impacts associated with any projects for which the amendments will make way;
  2. The county did not publicize or hold public hearings before the Riverside County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors before taking a vote;
  3. The county violated state law by not placing the matter for approval first before California's Mining and Geology Board;
  4. State law does not allow the county to designate itself a planning agency solely to "cherry pick" the projects it wants to fast-track and send all others to the county Planning Commission, papers state.

A status hearing on the case is set for Dec. 10 in Dept. 4 at the Historic Courthouse, 4050 Main St., in Riverside.

Supervisors in August voted 3-2 to add surface mines to the list of projects that can bypass the county's planning commission and head straight to the supervisors for consideration -- a process known as fast-tracking.

That vote came on the heels of the board's certification of an Environmental Impact Report that left the door open for the Watsonville-based Granite Construction Co. to return with a modified version of a proposed 414-acre mining operation at Rainbow Canyon Road and Interstate 15.

City officials fear the board's amendments have paved the way for Granite to have its proposed operation fast-tracked to approval with no further study or oversight.

To read about the Supervisors' fast-track vote, please click here.

Gandhi October 15, 2012 at 09:33 AM
Apparently "Darlana" hasnt learned to read yet.
Gandhi October 15, 2012 at 09:36 AM
Paul, dont waste your breath on worthless trash like this, she's obviously trying to "get you" I would ignore her. Darlana, wanna know what MY religion is? It has about the same amount of relevance to your life and the city council election!!
Gandhi October 15, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Oh really Ronney? I dont agree. I wish we had a "like" button and a "dislike" one here, it would make things so much easier. I've lived in Temecula since before it was a city and I'd say Paul Jacobs is EXACTLY what we need now! No more pious self-righteous hypocrital "Christians" but someone who is intelligent enough to know what "spiritual" means sans "religion", which YOU Ronney, obviously dont!
Eric Cartman October 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM
One does not simply give up their 'sphere of influence' when people's health is at risk: http://i.imgur.com/8WMX1.jpg
Gandhi October 16, 2012 at 06:40 AM
Quite right Eric! Some really annoying nuts on this topic here arent there? Keep fighting, you guys are honest, just dont let them try to "get to you", thats all they're trying to do, as I'm sure you can see.

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