After the Court Ordered the County of San Bernardino to vacate and set aside all approvals made on July 13, 2010 for the Nursery Products Composting Facility located in the unincorporated areas of Hinkley including: (1) certification of the environmental impact report and supplemental environmental impact report, (2) the approval of the conditional use permit, (3) the adoption of the findings, (4) approval of the statement of overriding considerations, and (5) the approval of the Mitigation and Reporting program, Vice-Chairman (Vice seems to be a fit don’t you think?) First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, 4th District Gary C. Ovitt and 2nd District Janice Rutherford moved to re-approve the same 5 items AND simultaneously deny HelpHinkley.Org‘s appeal.
First, to most people, appeals have to be made AFTER a decision is made–nor at the same time, otherwise, why have an appeal?
Second, that is not the worst of it. After taking evidence and testimony yesterday, Supervisor Mitzelfelt said “he would not consider any of the testimony and materials submitted that day (of the hearing)”-So why have a hearing? Why invite the public to speak?
Third, Supervisors Mitzelfelt, Ovitt and Rutherford further ignored the complaints that (i) the time to act had run, raising a jurisdictional question for the Board (the Board of Supervisors had until September 9, 2011 to comply with the Court’s order -yesterdays hearing was 2 weeks late), (ii) Mitzelfelt had a conflict of interest voting on the project as an appellate “judge” as he had promised Nursery Products he’d locate a site in Hinkley after they were chased out of Adelanto, (iii) the notice of the hearing was defective under the California Environmental Quality Act and County Codes and (iv) the County failed to provide a comment period on the water assessment report prepared by Nursery Products that they claimed answered the Court’s and the Mojave Water Agency’s concerns.
Fourth, Nursery Products and the County used a “Centro Sub Basin” analysis to claim there was enough water–the basin they referred to was not the Harper- West Hinkley area, but the area which encompassed all of Barstow, Newberry, Daggett,Yermo and points in between. Deception by our leaders and Nursery Products especially since the recharge from the Mojave to Harper Lake was estimated by the Mojave Water Agency to be only 22 acre feet per year (through the Water Valley-Red Hill corridor).
The last court order was in significant part in response to a Mojave Water Agency comment letter saying there was insufficient evidence to show that a 900-1,000 gallon per day estimate water use was going to be adequate for an eight employee operation (with up to another 80 incoming drivers per day), covering 80 acres (the area authorized for composting operations) which would take, six days per week up to 1,100 tons of sludge (per day) in the specific area of this project, not the entire Mojave River BELOW Hinkley and there was no evidence the area could support that type of use, assuming it was true.
Despite a record being presented that was factual & documentary in the shortened and inadequate time given (which undermined Nursery Product’s contentions), the crowd was called “emotional”.
To Barstow’s credit, their city manager showed and voiced the city’s opposition to the project as well.
At some point I really hope the CEQA judge overseeing ongoing dispute might get ticked off at this type of abuse.
I’m a 21 year Barstow resident, with 35 years of Broadcast experience at various radio and TV stations in L.A., Ventura, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Palmdale/Lancaster, and the Victor Valley, finally landing for 12 years in Barstow at Highway Radio.
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