Asphalt plant nearing Ojai
By Jesse Phelps
A pioneer city on the leading edge of the
recycling movement two decades ago, Ojai may be about to experience
the flip side of reuse. A proposed asphalt recycling plant may
soon occupy county land just south of Casitas Springs, potentially
threatening the valley with new air quality problems.
In an application filed with county planners on Jan. 16, A.J.
Diani Construction Co., Inc. proposed the installation of a portable
stand-alone asphaltic concrete plant and asphalt recycling facility
on an existing industrial parcel in the North Ventura Avenue
The proposed project would be located immediately southeast of
State Route 33, between Shell Road and Stanley Road, at 2951
N. Ventura Ave. The parcel is currently occupied by OST Trucks
Diani proposes to operate two 10-hour shifts per day, between
6 a.m. and 4 p.m., and between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., Monday through
Saturday. The project would operate 303 days per year.
Though traffic impacts on the highway could potentially be major,
planners said the idea behind the trucking schedules was to avoid
an increase in rush hour traffic. The average number of trucks
per day, according to a project plan submitted to county planners,
would be 106, though the "peak daily" number could
reach as high as 672. Truck traffic will normally occur in two
eight-hour shifts, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and between 8 p.m.
and 4 a.m.
According to county planners, only one truck would head northbound
through Ojai on a daily basis. This truck, bound for the Ozena
federal fire station post near the Kern County line, would travel
the length of Highway 33 past Nordhoff and up and over the hill
through Matilija Canyon.
To this point, a traffic impact study has not been done, though
it has been requested by Steve Offerman, of Supervisor Steve
The bigger concern for local residents, however, is the potential
impacts on the air quality in the Ojai Valley. Said city council
member David Bury, "I would have a number of concerns about
a project of that nature assoc iated with traffic, a fundamental
consideration for Ojai as a closed valley that draws the air
from the lower Ventura River basin. There's no question that
the air pollution will come straight into the valley."
Air quality would be impacted by at least two aspects of the
operation, said Bury. First is the delivery or truck traffic
associated with any such project and second, emissions from the
actual operation, including hazardous particulate matter. "This
is a heavy industrial use in an area that's effectively the lungs
of our valley," he said.
Bury expressed his surprise at hearing about the project at this
stage in the proposal. "To even consider such extensive
use is inconceivable," he said. "Someone failed to
do his homework. I can't believe they're so naïve to propose
this kind of use in this area. They just don't realize the kind
of battle they would be in for if they pursue this proposal."
Though plans are for a partially enclosed facility, Bury says,
"You can't contain the traffic associated with that. Any
project of this size includes a huge building, another area of
concern. This is the gateway to our valley. It used to be a beautiful
area with a bountiful river and natural habitats. We need to
be able to learn to live in harmony with the environment and
not force ourselves off on it.
We have been pursuing the removal of the
old refinery and cleanup of substandard oil production facilities
throughout the valley.
One proposal has been to establish an eco-industrial
park in that area that provides jobs while respecting the environment.
That type of project would result in cleanup of brown fields
while maintaining the economic vitality of the region."
The Ojai Valley News
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