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"When it came to the department's attention that Ghilotti Brothers, Inc. was utilizing the private property on Redwood Highway, (we) told the contractor that this property lies outside of the construction project limits, was not covered under the project's environmental study and that all necessary permits, licenses, agreements and certifications would need to be issued before the property could be used."

Amsk said Caltrans told Ghilotti Brothers to suspend all operations related to Caltrans construction on the site and submit copies of required permits for review on Feb. 25, 2013. The three entities have engaged in an ongoing back-and-forth debate over the status of the project ever since.

Amsk added that Caltrans does not plan to verify the county's wetlands report: "Any issues identified are the responsibility of (Ghilotti Brothers) and the county to resolve," he said.

If the project receives county approval, Highway 101 construction staging could resume on the property. Until then, the county has told Ghilotti Brothers to submit a formal wetlands delineation study on the property. Schofield said the company will instead locate proof from ESA that wetlands are not on the site. "The site is a good thing," said Schofield. "It's supporting nearby construction projects and that's the ultimate goal. We're waiting for ESA to provide us the needed documents on their background report and we'll go from there. Until then, there's not a lot of activity going on there."

(Contact Janelle Wetzstein at janelle.wetzstein@arguscourier.com)