MADERA COUNTY (KFSN) --With a show of hands, it was clear what side everyone in the crowd was on. About half of the people were in corporate blue shirts, in support of digging for rocks in Madera County. The rest, including William Jamison, showed up to fight it.
"It's gonna affect everybody who lives in the town of Rio Mesa. It's gonna affect the property values in the area."
His daughter is the closest neighbor to the proposed Austin Quarry, which would sit near the intersection of Highways 145 and 41.
His concerns, like many others, are of water, traffic, and air quality. Issues, Vulcan Materials spent two hours going over in front of the planning commission.
"So here's some misconceptions about our project, you'll hear these from our opponents," said Pat Mitchell, Vulcan Materials, legal defense.
As far as water-- Vulcan said the neighbors won't be affected because the quarry will run on recycled water, rainfall will be captured, and the aquifer will be recharged.
The company said it will be adding lanes to both highways and improving roads to compensate for trucks going in and out. At most, it is estimated there will be 63 trucks hauling material through the gates per hour. This leads us to noise and pollution-- the site includes plans for 10 and 8 feet berms to reduce noise and efforts to reduce emissions.
"We make commitments and we honor our commitments, that's who we are as a company," said David Donaldson, Corporate Vice President, Vulcan Materials.
Many don't trust the word of the company especially Cheryl Harvat-- she lives 3 miles from the site.
"The fact that they could just go ahead and use approved methods to mitigate the damage they're gonna do means nothing to us. We live in this area and the traffic and the air quality and especially the water issues are real."
At this point, the fate of the rock quarry is in the hands of the planning commission. All five members will hear both sides and decide whether the Austin Rock Quarry is a good fit for the county.
John Reed of the Madera County Planning Commissioner said, "It could go late into the night so we'll see."
After everyone speaks the planning commission will go into a closed meeting and come back with a decision. At this point, there's no telling how long that will take.