Regarding your front page article about trucking and the draft Sutter County Truck Yard Technical Report, I have read the report and do question some of the methods and findings.
The scope of the report deals with a specific geographical area, yet concerns about truck yards exist throughout the county. In this regard, the study is incomplete.
Though observed in the dry season and stating there was no evidence of flooding, the County did not provide the consultant with photographic evidence of extensive flooding in the area. The County has repeatedly used taxpayer money to pump flooding from the area surrounding Oswald and Rt. 99. The report further notes, “Truck yards are not in compliance with the State of California’s Industrial Stormwater Permit Program.”
The report states the yard behind Barry School “is currently exceeding its truck limit and is contributing to unacceptable traffic operations at three study intersections.” This yard is not a legal yard and therefore does not have a permitted truck limit. It notes that an application has been submitted to rezone the site from Estate Residential (ER) to Light Industrial (M-1), in addition to a permit allowing for a reduced agricultural buffer. The mere existence of this yard is illegal. As found in the Grand Jury report, the County must enforce Code Compliance. This yard, a yard that emits toxic air contaminants to school-aged children, should be eliminated.
The report lists the discrepancies found at individual yards. Comments included:
– “Actual hours of operation are unknown.” Can this not be observed? If actual hours are unknown – even if limited by permit, then one must assume 24 hour operation. That means that any observed truck counts must be assumed to go round the clock.
– April 2019 Google Maps are used to determine if there is paving where required. In one case, a drive-by can disprove the finding that the site is paved. Using Google Maps from two years ago appears to be an effort to obfuscate reality.
– The existence of two unpermitted modular buildings is not mentioned in the section on noncompliance with permit.
Regarding expansion of existing truck yards, the report does not state the obvious. The County should enforce Code Compliance and require all code violations to be corrected, including removal of unpermitted buildings and elimination of illegal yards. Expansion of existing facilities or approval of new ones should never be considered until illegal unpermitted facilities are removed or are in compliance.
The Grand Jury report and the findings in this draft report, though flawed as noted, should cause citizens serious concern. We must continue to hold our elected officials and county employees to high standards of ethical conduct, enforced compliance of local, state and federal guidelines, and protecting the welfare of all of our citizens. We must actively engage in the review process to ensure the health of our children and the health of our community.
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