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Rival Firm Seeks to Void Clay Permit : Landfills: A quarry appeals an agreement between the sanitation district and another company to provide special soil--at a lower price--for the Bailard dump.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

By law, the Ventura County Regional Sanitation District must use a special claylike soil to cover the tons of waste dumped daily at the Bailard landfill near Oxnard.

South Mountain, a site near Santa Paula, is rich with clay, and the district was all set to remove up to 419,000 tons of it during the next six months.

But in a move that has infuriated local officials, a Denver man who operates a local quarry has temporarily blocked the district’s plan.

Joe Baird, president of Ventura Aggregates, has appealed a county Planning Department decision granting the district an emergency permit to remove the South Mountain soil.

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Baird does not cite environmental concerns in explaining why he filed the appeal. He just wants the district to buy his soil, which is piled up on North Ventura Avenue.

Baird says he will drop the appeal if the district agrees to buy at least 500,000 tons of his soil at a cost of $3.70 a ton. That’s 70 cents more per ton than it would cost from South Mountain, said district manager Wayne A. Bruce.

That could cost the district--and eventually, people who use the dump--an extra $350,000.

“He’s trying to hold us over a barrel,” said Oxnard Councilwoman Dorothy Maron, a member of the district board of directors.

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“He was playing the city slicker and we were the country hicks,” she said, after the district board unanimously rejected Baird’s proposal last Monday. “But we were not that dumb.”

The board decided instead to obtain the soil from other sources while it fights Baird’s appeal. The Planning Commission will hear the appeal Aug. 30.

In a telephone interview from Denver, Baird defended his actions, saying the emergency permit was obtained under the false premise that no other company in the area could provide such soil.

Baird dismissed the criticism from board members and accused the district of ignoring his quarry as a source of landfill cover. “I have become angered at the shabby way our little company has been treated,” he said.

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“Anybody has a right to defend his business,” he said.

Baird said his landfill cover is more expensive because Tri-County Truck Co., the firm he has contracted to haul his soil, employs only union drivers.

He said he has not decided whether he will press his appeal through to the county Board of Supervisors if the Planning Commission sides with the district.

The district has entered into a 10-year agreement with Southern Pacific Milling Co. to get the landfill cover from South Mountain, according to a sanitation district report.

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However, the county Planning Commission is still reviewing a permit that will allow Southern Pacific to bring the soil to Bailard.

In the meantime, Southern Pacific obtained an emergency six-month permit to allow the company to provide 100,000 tons of soil to Bailard.

Baird’s appeal of the emergency permit has caused headaches for the district, Bruce said. He said the landfill will run out of landfill cover in two weeks unless it gets a new supply of soil.

The district can acquire soil temporarily from other sources such as construction sites, Bruce said, but it will cost more. He said he could not estimate the added cost.

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Baird has a permit to sell soil from a large stockpile of clay in an old quarry on the east side of Ventura Avenue in a small sliver of unincorporated area near the Ventura city boundary.

State law requires landfills to cover the daily accumulation of solid waste with a six-inch thick layer of low-permeability soil, district officials said. Bailard requires about 15,000 tons of soil each month, district officials said.

The 223-acre landfill is on unincorporated land bordered by the Santa Clara River, Victoria Avenue and Gonzales Road. It receives garbage from residents in Camarillo, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Ventura.

Ventura Councilman Gary Tuttle, a member of the district board, characterized Baird’s appeal as a strong-arm tactic to force the district to buy his soil.

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“He certainly didn’t make any friends on the board,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle said he also voted against Baird’s proposal because he was concerned about the amount of truck traffic that would have been generated near the intersection of Ventura and Stanley avenues.

The councilman said the incident has prompted him to review Baird’s quarry permit to see if it is still valid.

According to county officials, Baird’s permit was obtained more than 40 years ago before most environmental conditions were required.

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