Sacramento's most prominent housing developer has been waiting almost eight years to mine 330 acres of topsoil and gravel, but ranchers in the Herald area have continually objected to the project because it would destroy the area's peace and quiet.
Angelo Tsakopoulos is waiting for a traffic study to be completed to go with the draft environmental impact report that has already been prepared.
Tsakopoulos' application for a conditional use permit calls for 191 trucks a day to travel along Herald roads to and from the plant for 25 to 30 years.
"Hundreds of trucks will be going up and down our substandard roads, where we have children waiting for school buses," Herald resident Jean Hess said.
Herald also has horseback riders who use the roads. They would be affected by gravel trucks traveling to and from the plant, Hess said.
Many of the trucks are likely to take Twin Cities Road east of Highway 99. That prompted the city of Galt to send a letter to Sacramento County, stating its concern over the freeway interchange being inadequate for the truck volume the project would create along with student safety issues at the Twin Cities-Marengo Road intersection, Galt City Councilman Darryl Clare said.
Estrellita Continuation High School and the future Liberty Ranch High School are on Marengo Road, a block from Twin Cities Road.
Calls this week to representatives for Tsakapolous were not returned.
Herald residents also maintain that mining the Borden Junction area would reduce the groundwater table, and the trucks would pollute the air.
Borden Ranch mining project at a glanceApplicant: Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos, also known as Borden Ranch Partnership.
Location: Eastern end of Borden Road, 9.3 miles east of Galt, 5 miles south of Rancho Seco and across Dry Creek from Mackville Road in Clements.
Size: 330 acres.
Length of project: 25 to 30 years.
Estimated yield: 6 million cubic yards of topsoil, 3 million cubic yards of aggregate.
Source: Sacramento County Planning and Community Development Department
"It's a tremendous burden they're asking us to swallow," said project opponent Al Dupre, who lives on Borden Road. "It's a major, major thing."
Tina Holt, who sits on the board of the Herald Area Civic Association, also known as Stop the Rock, said the project would reduce the water table by eight inches per year without any additional population.
Herald isn't the only rural community with concerns about rock quarries in their neighborhood. A neighborhood southeast of Lockeford and south of Clements has had issues with KRC Aggregate, which expanded its plant in about 2000. The plant is northeast of Brandt and Clements roads.
After the expansion, there were suddenly a lot more trucks coming in and out of the KRC plant.
"Trucks were running people off the road," said Brandt Road resident Ed Steffani.
Since that time, KRC agreed to remain off Brandt Road, which is narrow and hilly in that area.
Meanwhile in Herald, residents say their latest setback is the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors' approval of zoning code amendments for surface mining applications countywide by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Don Nottoli of Galt opposing.
"The amendments have lots of regulations or guidelines that make it a better interface between mining and residential area," county Senior Planner Michael Winter said.
The amendments don't specify Borden Junction, but Herald residents believe the action is pointed directly at them and the Tsakopoulos project.
They've paved a very slippery way of letting it occur," Holt said.
The Board of Supervisors, in essence, said "We're going to put your life in the toilet, and we don't care," Holt added.
While the Borden Ranch project could be approved with a conditional use permit, the Board of Supervisors has the ability to deny it if the board determines that it would be potentially detrimental to schools, residences, offices, churches, day-care centers, parks or golf courses, according to the amendments approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 11.
"We're having to remain vigilant," Holt said.
Tsakopoulos purchased the 8,400-acre ranch in property in 1993. Four years later, he was fined $500,000 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and required to restore four acres of wetlands after filling wetlands without a permit, according to documents from the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Tsakopoulos then sued the Corps and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, claiming that the Corps overstepped its bounds. He lost the case. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4, so the circuit court's decision stood.
The Herald Area Civic Association board meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each months at Blue Gum Winery, 13637 Borden Road. For more information on the organization, call 217-4768, send an e-mail to HACA95638@aol.com or visit www.heraldcivic.org.