Kearney talks about hot plant controversy
- June 24
By Nick Baptista
District 5 Supervisor Steve Kearney discussed his thoughts concerning the proposed asphalt plant at Hogan Quarry in an interview Monday with The Valley Springs News.
Two items regarding the proposal are on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting of the Calaveras County Planning Commission. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 891 Mountain Ranch Road, San Andreas.
“I think it is important to let all the public know how I see a county supervisor’s position in the application process, including this one (the asphalt plant),” Kearney said.
“A common complaint to me from the community during the last many months is that often applications sit on our county staff’s desk and do not get addressed in a prudent manner. If someone contacts me and relates that is happening I have been following through by relating to our staff what the applicant tells me, then ask them to please have their issues addressed. After that I trust the expertise of our staff and my job at that point is done other than to say thank you.”
It was after such a contact that Calaveras County Planning Director Peter Maurer on April 30 decided a hot plant was a permitted use at the Foothill Materials Inc. quarry located at 3650 Hogan Dam Road. Foothill Materials is a subsidiary of Ford Construction.
Maurer’s decision is being appealed at Thursday’s planning commission meeting by the Calaveras County Water District, MyValleySprings.com, MVS.com President Joyce Techel and local homeowner John Walker.
“My concern was simply that any determinations the applicant was seeking from Planning be timely processed,” Kearney said. “I have not questioned or been involved in any of staff’s actual decision-making process nor should I be. Should (a Planning Commission decision) be appealed to the board level it would be my duty to understand everything about the issue and make a legal decision based on the facts and law in front of me without any preconceived notion one way or the other.”
In addition at Thursday’s meeting, Ford Construction is appealing a decision by the county’s Air Pollution Control District that the hot plant project is subject to preparation of an environmental document.
“In the instance of the asphalt plant, I wrote an email, related everything to staff that was told to me, and asked them to address it,” Kearney said. “Yes, I was excited to hear there were jobs involved. Putting people to work is always good news and something I have been working for. But in no manner did I advocate or insist the issuance of any permits, to insinuate otherwise is simply a falsehood and a political attack. I advocate for the process, that is my job and will continue to be.”
Kearney is in the middle of his first year of a four-year term on the Board of Supervisors. Assisting in creating more well-paying employment opportunities in Calaveras County was one of his campaign goals.
“I have lived in Rancho Calaveras for many years,” Kearney said. “The value of my home and quality of the environment is just as important to me as it is to all of my constituents. Of course, with my political hat on, I want the economy to flourish and the thought of an employer that brings local people to the working force is always an exciting possibility. This being said, I have not researched or delved into the legal intricacies of the project or planning process and I have no intention of interjecting myself into this process until or unless it comes to the Board of Supervisors on appeal.”
Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” and organizers of the annual pre-Fourth of July fireworks show over New Hogan want to put some recent misinformation spreading around the community to rest.
There will be a fireworks show this year, according to Valley Springs Booster member Jeannene White. The Boosters host the event, which this year is scheduled for Saturday, June 27.
“It’s a go,” White said, and ticket sales for tables will begin shortly.
It will be the 20th annual show over New Hogan Reservoir.
Ticket sales are for prime seats to the show at the New Hogan Observation Point. Tickets also include a barbecue dinner and parking pass. The cost is $50 per person, or $200 for a table of four and $400 for a table of eight. The money goes toward funding next year’s show.
Tickets for the ringside seats are available by calling Umpqua Bank at 772-8162. Donations will also be accepted.
The public can also watch the fireworks for free around the lake and by boat.
In front of CVS/pharmacy - Valley Springs
In front of the Campbell’s Country - Valley Springs
In front of Mar-Val Market - Valley Springs
In front of Umpqua Bank, Highway 26, Valley Springs
In front of Good Friends Chinese Restaurant, State Route 12 and 26, Valley Springs
In front of the Dollar Plus Store, State Route 12, Valley Springs
In front of H & R Block, Highway 12, Valley Springs
Inside La Contenta Mini Mart, Valley Springs
Inside Common Grounds, The Terrace Plaza, Vista Del Lago Drive, Valley Springs
At the side of Valley Springs Chevron, off Highway 26, Valley Springs
Inside Zippy Mart, 506 E. Highway 12, Valley Springs
Inside 76 Mini-Mart - Highway 26, Valley Springs
In front of the Burson Market, Highway 12 and Burson Road
In front of the Sierra Energy station, 7998 E. Highway 12, Wallace
In front of the Calaveras County Government Center-San Andreas
Complimentary copies available from
DJ's Hair - 10-I Nove Way, Valley Springs
Zamora’s Auto Body, State Route 26 and Country View Drive