Azusa Rejects Bid for Second Rock Quarry : City Gears Up for Battle to Oust Longtime Operator From Fish Canyon
The City Council has denied an application for a second rock quarry in the mountains above the city, heeding the objections of about 150 Azusa and Duarte residents who turned out to oppose further excavation of Fish Canyon.
The denial of Robert G. Restivo’s quarry application, which had been rejected by the Azusa Planning Commission in March, ended nearly six months of lobbying by Duarte officials and residents of both cities.
Fish Canyon, where rock has been quarried since the 1950s, sits on the border of the two cities, and nearby residents have long complained about air and noise pollution and truck traffic.
At the public hearing before the council vote on Monday, citizens often reminded council members of their duty to the public.
“We in Azusa want to stay the Canyon City, not Gravel Gulch,” said Patricia Cooper, a longtime resident who recently opened a business here. “We were there for you at the polls; now you be here for us at the pits.”
Before the meeting, members of Save the Foothills, an Azusa group that opposes further quarrying of Fish Canyon, demonstrated at City Hall against the proposed quarry and the continued operation of Azusa Rock Co.
In April, at the direction of the City Council, the Azusa Planning Commission began hearings to consider revoking Azusa Rock’s operating permit because of possible violations of requirements in the permit. The hearings have been continued to June 8.
Linda Stahl-Smith, a member of Save the Foothills, presented a petition that she said had been signed by 250 Azusa residents opposed to quarrying. She also prodded Azusa Mayor Eugene F. Moses, who calls himself “The People’s Mayor,” by saying he should listen to the will of the people.
“Being ‘The People’s Mayor,’ we remind you to make Azusa livable and pleasant,” she said.
Otis Gordon, a former Duarte councilman, asked the council to consider health threats from the dust and the air and noise pollution that he said would accompany an increase in quarrying.
“You on the council represent our last line of defense,” said Gordon, who has emphysema.
Duarte Mayor John Hitt said the denial of Restivo’s request was a prelude to a major battle over the proposed revocation of Azusa Rock’s 32-year-old permit, which has allowed the excavation of from 4 million to 8 million tons of rock on its 190-acre site.
“I don’t think it makes any sense to deny the new one and let the old one go on,” Hitt said.
According to a report prepared by Azusa city staff, the city can revoke the Azusa Rock permit if it finds that any of the original conditions have been violated.
Roy E. Bruckner, Azusa’s director of community development, reported to the Planning Commission in April that a number of violations exist. However, officials of Kirst Construction Co., which owns Azusa Rock, deny that they have violated the original agreement.
A report to the Azusa Planning Commission by Bruckner concludes that the quarry should be closed.