Salida hulling plant hearing put off to Oct. 23

A hearing on the controversial Salida Hulling Association proposal to build a plant west of Modesto was postponed for two weeks because the Stanislaus County Planning Department failed to mail hearing notices to all surrounding landowners.

The hearing was to take place Tuesday morning, but the Board of Supervisors couldn't legally hold it without proper notification.

"It was my responsibility; I missed checking back (to see that the notices had been sent)," said Kirk Ford, assistant planning director. "I apologize to the board, the Salida Hulling Association and the landowners."

The hulling association's proposed processing plant at Maze Boulevard and Dakota Avenue has been before the county for five years. Many surrounding property owners oppose it because of the increased truck traffic, which they think will pose safety and congestion problems.

The plant won the approval of the Stanislaus County Planning Commission last month, a decision appealed by opposing property owners.

The Board of Supervisors set the hearing date for Tuesday over the objections of those opposing property owners, who wanted a night hearing so that more people could attend.

The notification problem gave the supervisors another opportunity to schedule a night hearing, either Oct. 16 or Nov. 20, the board's regularly scheduled night meetings. The supervisors instead decided to hold the hearing Oct. 23, another day meeting.

Supervisor Dick Monteith cast the only dissenting vote, arguing that the Nov. 20 date would allow more public participation.

Supervisor Jeff Grover argued for the Oct. 23 hearing, saying the lengthy approval process for the project has cost Salida Hulling Association a significant amount of money. The Oct. 16 date is a problem because not all of the supervisors can attend. Grover, whose district includes the proposed plant, will be on vacation, and Supervisor Tom Mayfield has been recusing himself from votes on the project because he operates a hulling operation.

The hearing is set at 9:15 a.m. Oct. 23.

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.