Recently notices were sent to property owners in Lucerne Valley from the County of San Bernardino Planning Department that Hi-Grade Materials Co. has submitted an application to expand our Lucerne Valley quarry site. In addition, you may have read some articles printed in the local paper. We have prepared this letter to try to address some of the issues and wanted to keep our fellow LVEDA members informed on this matter.
The plan proposes to add a 120 acre pit situated adjacent to the existing pit on the west side of Meridian Road. The aggregate processing plant and ready mix batch plant will remain at the existing site on the east side of Meridian Road. Mining and ready mix activities at the existing 80 acre pit on the east side of Meridian Road have been occurring for over 45 years. Berms have been constructed to decrease visibility of the site and will be maintained on both pits throughout the life of the project. The sand and gravel mined at this site are utilized for aggregate and concrete sales in the Lucerne Valley, High Desert, Morongo Valley and Big Bear areas.
In order to minimize the impact on the west side of Meridian Road when that expansion area is activated, a conveyor system will be constructed in accordance with the guidelines established by the County of San Bernardino to transport material from the west pit, under Meridian Road to the processing plant on the east side.
As part of our final mining permit, Hi-Grade will operate under a San Bernardino County approved dust control plan. Our on-site foreman and Hi-Grade management is unaware of any complaints regarding dust at our existing site. We operate under the regulations of and regular inspections by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and under permitting and regular inspections by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. We currently have a clean record with these governmental agencies.
The plan proposes to excavate sand and gravel in a manner that will not increase erosion or sedimentation of adjacent property. The design of both pits provides for complete water/sediment retention within the project boundary. All water used at the project site is provided from the currently producing on site well and is regulated by the Mojave Basin Area Watermaster regulations. Material wash water is recycled to the extent practical through utilization of a sedimentation pond system.
A biological survey including a tortoise and endangered plant and animal study was conducted during Spring time by John Wear, Senior Biologist for the firm Biological Resource Specialists in Riverside. No sensitive plant or animal species were found to be present. This survey was submitted to the County along with the application.
Over the past 45 years, we are not aware of nor has a single incident ever been reported to us of a burrow or desert tortoise falling into our quarry or being found alive or dead in our pit.
An offer has been made to the County to dedicate road right-of-way to provide an alternate route to Meridian Road. If traveling east from Crystal Creek Road toward Meridian on either Azurite or Carnelian Roads (dirt roads), one would turn either north or south along the dedicated horder of the new project area to connect with Emerald to Meridian or along the dedicated road at the north end of the new project area to connect to Meridian.
This expansion is necessary for continued growth of the High Desert region. The availability of construction aggregate in the area will become even more important as the larger aggregate sources in Los Angeles become exhausted. Much higher construction costs for our area would be the case should aggregate materials not be produced locally, whether that construction be houses, roads, businesses, schools or even rockscaping for our homes. Mining remains an integral part of California's economy, and specifically Lucerne Valley's economy, providing the raw materials necessary for the products manufactured, infrastructure constructed and services rendered.
Mining in the High Desert provides jobs for fainilies in our local communities. The employees of Hi-Grade Materials are proud of the role they play in promoting the maintenance and the growth of the Lucerne Valley and the surrounding communities.
If you have any further questions regarding Hi-Grade's expansion project, please feel free to contact either Lori Clifton or Jon Hove at (760) 244-9325.
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