Asphalt project raises concerns from other cities

In a letter, Cloverdale Mayor Joseph Palla urged the Board of Supervisors to heed the Petaluma City Council?s opposition to the project proposed by San Rafael-based Dutra Materials.

Palla said he worried about the possibility of environmental damage to nearby wetlands as well as industrial blight that could occur along a future passenger rail line to be used by tourists.

?Development along the corridor should take place in a way that attracts ridership and displays Sonoma County in a positive light,? Palla wrote. ?I urge you to carefully consider the city of Petaluma?s position on the current project.?

It was the third letter from leaders of other cities since supervisors in February cast a 4-1 straw vote in favor of the plant. A final vote is set for May 12.

The project lies within the city?s voter-approved urban growth boundary. All of the letters ask supervisors to respect the growth boundary, which sets a limit for urban development and often signals areas for future annexation.

The letters also urge supervisors to consider the position of the Petaluma City Council, which is unanimously opposed to the project.

Sebastopol Mayor Sarah Glade Gurney said the county shouldn?t try to force the project if locals don?t want it. She wondered if Sebastopol should expect similar treatment in future dealings.

?Such an action would destabilize years of city and county cooperation,? Gurney wrote.

Supervisor Mike Kerns, who represents the south county and has supported the plant, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dutra is proposing an asphalt mixing and aggregate recycling plant on 38 acres south of the city limits, across the Petaluma River from Shollenberger Park.

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