Update: Quarry Defeated

The Board of Supervisors voted against the quarry 3-2.

A plan to mine hills just south of Temecula was defeated today.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors during a meeting today at the County Administrative Center voted to block the proposed Liberty Quarry.

The 115-acre mine would have been placed just south of Temecula's city boundary. To read more about the plan, click here.

Supervisors Bob Buster, Jeff Stone and John Tavaglione voted against the project, and Marion Ashley and John Benoit voted in favor of it.

Stone earlier in the meeting said Granite Construction, the company proposing the plan, misled the public with inaccurate information in an attempt to get its project approved.

To read about what he said, click here.

The project would be an economic boon to the county, said Benoit, who praised the project.

To read what he said, click here.

The crowd erupted into applause and cheers in the board chamber as opponents of the quarry, wearing orange shirts and hats, embraced each other, many with tears in their eyes, while quarry supporters quickly and quietly filed out of the room.

"I'm over the top. I'm shaking, I'm so excited," said Chuck Washington, Temecula mayor.

"Personally, I feel very gratified, but on behalf of the Pechanga (tribe), I'm glad the (board) landed in the right place," said Mark Macarro, chair of the Pechanga Tribe of Luiseno Indians.

The site of the mine is a spot sacred to the Pechanga people, he said during previous hearings.

To see a video where he explains about the site's sanctity, click here.

This may not be the last the county has seen of this project though, and he was still leery, he said.

"I don't believe the fight's completely over ... we remain on guard for future threats," Macarro said.

The company can still try to get the project approved, but it will be an uphill battle, experts agreed.

To read about what Granite could do, click here.

The project was already denied by the County Planning Commission, though Granite appealed the vote. To read about that process, click here.

For Kathleen Hamilton, the head of SOS-Hills, a group that took the lead in opposing the quarry, the vote was a huge relief, she said.

"I feel incredibly fantastic," she said.

She and her husband plan to take a much-awaited vacation. "We were arranging to go (to Paris) before, then this came up," she said.

Opponents of the project planned to meet at the Civic Center in Old Town after the meeting, according to Temecula officials.

Editor's note: A photo gallery and more stories in the wake of the defeat are developing. Check back on the homepage for updates today.

Kristy 'Halagarda' Benedict February 16, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Chris February 16, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Hopefully Granite finally got the message and stops wasting it's money from out of state on a project that the community doesn't want any part of. Great news.
jill February 16, 2012 at 09:39 PM
This is wonderful news!
Alice Zyetz February 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
The power of the people. Yes!
Kat February 16, 2012 at 10:03 PM
WTG SOS!! Awesommmeeee!!
sophie February 16, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Thank you...Jeff Stone for your final comment.
Ray A February 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Supervisors Stone and Buster and Travlione, Thanks for your support for the residents and taxpayers of Southwest Riverside county. Supervisor Stone made one of the most eloquent and articulate speeches I've heard in a long time. Thank you all of the citizen supporters who worked so hard to make their voices heard and especially thank you to the leaders of the Pechange tribe. Your efforts were indefatigible. Sometimes the indians win, sometimes the public wins, sometimes the environment wins, but this time we all win. What a great day.
Kathleen Clemens February 16, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Thank you Supervisors, for preserving our beautiful city and hills! I applaud you all for a job well done. Jeff Stone, you did a fantastic job of detailing and summerizing the terrible effects the quarry would have on our lives and generations to come! Bob Buster you were very informed and asked all the questions that were key to this project. And Supervisor Tavaglione, you did a great job of kidding us all with your summery, and then opposing the quarry at the end! I won't forget you all when it is time to vote! Thank you again Katie
JEFF ALLEN February 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Thank You , Thank You, Thank You! To the Supervisors who showed integrity and great fortitude, I along with my family thank you. To all the tireless individuals who organized and fought against the Quarry, you have my heartfelt thanks. Hallelujah!
The Peacekeeper February 17, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Congrats to all the diligent foot soldiers (citizens of Temecula) who stayed the course and fought the good fight! What a great defeat. I always believed Granite's reason(s) were invalid and without merit! THIS CALLS FOR ONE HELLUVA HAPPY HOUR AND TOAST TO THE GREAT CITIZENS AND CITY OF TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA!!!!!
Roxxyrn February 17, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Amazing News!
trenchf00t February 17, 2012 at 07:17 AM
Remember the names Ashley and Benoit come election time. Maybe see if there is any money that can be followed; it usually leaves a trail. Perhaps all is above board, and they really believed that the Planning Commission's denial was inappropriate. Hard to accept such an irrational view, unsupported by evidence.
Paul Jacobs February 17, 2012 at 09:22 AM
Ding, dong the ditch is dead!
Denise Lemeiux February 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thanks to all the Supervisors that mae the right choice for Temecula as a whole. And Benoit had no choice granite lines his pockets.
Martha L. Bridges February 17, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Hopefully this terrible project has turly been defeated and put to bed. Everyone who participated in any of the actions to bring this about should have the appreciation of all the Southwest Riverside communities! However, we have also thought that the dreaded LEAPS project had been defeated time and again, only to have it resurface in one form or another. Even while rejoicing over the County's decision, we need to keep a sharp eye on Granite's activities and be prepared to fight if they try to find any new ways around this welcomed decision. We also need to keep in mind those elected officials that cast aside the wishes of the communities they represented and supported Granite. We need to replace them with newly elected representatives who support the will of the people they were elected to serve.
Martha L. Bridges February 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Excuse me, but Ben Benoit had a choice and a moral obligation to the people he was elected to serve, and he cast those obligations aside for money and in the hope of furthering his own political career. The fact that Granite Construction was and is willing to line his pockets and fill his election warchest with their money should alert us to the fact that reelecting Ben Benoit to any office would be a disservice the the people who care about protecting our lifestyle, health and the environment.
KB February 17, 2012 at 06:17 PM
As a symbolic gesture, because I think many of us were fighting this quarry in no small way for kids on the playground; I suggest we dedicate this victory for Temecula and all of her children in the name of Anthony Fowler.
temi lady February 17, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Agreed with those above remember BENOIT & ASHLEY at election time - I am sure their well lined pockets by lobbyist no longer need their jobs as they have proved it by not supporting the people of Temeculas cries of no quarry.
temi lady February 17, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Agreed with those above remember BENOIT & ASHLEY at election time - I am sure their well lined pockets by quarry lobbyist no longer need nor want their jobs as they have proven it by their actions of voting for quarry.
TVOR February 18, 2012 at 03:09 AM
I think the city needs to revisit annexing the property.
The Peacekeeper February 18, 2012 at 06:36 AM
I agree with all the concerned inputs on this thread. If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck........well, you know the rest. I WILL DEFINATELY REMEMBER THE NAMES BENOIT & ASHLEY WHEN IT COMES TIME TO VOTE. These scammers had no interest for the betterment of our city, other than Special interest money. "A Nation (city) of sheep breeds a government of wolves"!!!!
JJ Sallenro February 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I know longer have to fear those prevailing coastal winds that sweep through the hills and down my street. I can step outside, breathe deep and sigh with relief. Defeating this project was no easy feat. Congratulations and thank you to all who stood strong and firm in their opposition to this disastrous proposal. This is a HUGE win for our communities.
TemeculaMom February 29, 2012 at 06:03 PM
You don't even know what you are talking about. Ben Beniot did not vote this project. Ugh


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