Our office is currently closed to the public because of Sonoma County’s Shelter-in-Place order. However, please know that we are staying in close contact with client needs. Attorneys and staff are working remotely and closely monitoring messages left either on the general voicemail box or individual’s voice mail and returning your calls. We are also closely monitoring emails. You may find attorney email addresses on this website. If you know the person you would like to email, the address is the person’s last email@example.com. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate person. We want you to know, we are open for business, just not on-site. Take care in these challenging times.
Actualmente, nuestra oficina está cerrada al público debido a la orden de Albergarse en su lugar de residencia del Condado de Sonoma. Sin embargo, sepa que estamos en contacto cercano con las necesidades de nuetros clientes. Los abogados y el personal trabajan de forma remota y supervisan de cerca los mensajes que se dejan en el buzón de correo de voz general o en el correo de voz individual y devuelven sus llamadas. También estamos monitoreando de cerca los correos electrónicos. Puede encontrar las direcciones de correo electrónico de los abogados en este sitio web. Si conoce a la persona a la que le gustaría enviar un correo electrónico, la dirección es el apellido de la email@example.com. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org y su solicitud se enviará a la persona adecuada. Queremos que sepa que estamos abiertos a los negocios, pero no en el sitio. Cuídese en estos tiempos difíciles.
By BRETT WILKISON Press Democrat Staff Writer
A Sonoma County judge has dismissed the lawsuit challenging approval of the Dutra Materials asphalt plant, the controversial land use project slated for 38 acres south of Petaluma.
Judge Rene Chouteau dismissed all claims brought against the county, Dutra and its business partners by the City of Petaluma, a group of five nonprofit groups and several individuals.
“This was huge. It was a huge decision,” Aimi Dutra, spokeswoman for her family’s company said of the ruling, which allows one of the most contentious land use projects in Sonoma County to go forward.
Dutra Materials, based in San Rafael, first proposed the plant more than six years ago and could begin construction in late 2012.
The plant was approved last December on a 3-2 vote of the Board of Supervisors, which had previously turned down an earlier version of the project. A majority of supervisors including Mike Kerns and Paul Kelley — both of whom have since retired — and Efren Carrillo, said changes to the plant and safeguards required in its approval resolved their concerns.
The go-ahead came over the strenuous objections of opponents, who said the county and Dutra had failed to address public health and environmental impacts of the facility, including annual production of up 570,425 tons of asphalt and rock material and 145,000 annual truck trips.
Plaintiffs said the activity would mar a nearby county scenic corridor and Shollenberger Park, which sits across the Petaluma River from the planned site.
In their lawsuit they also alleged the plant was rushed through the planning process in violation of open-meeting laws.
The legal challenge asked for the approval to be set aside and for a new environmental study to be done.
In a 30-page opinion filed last week, Chouteau dismissed all of the opponents’ claims, ruling that the county’s environmental analysis was adequate and that open meeting laws had been followed.
Chouteau also found that the dozens of safeguards the county required of Dutra to lessen impacts on traffic, air quality, noise and nearby wetlands were also adequate.
Chouteau said the plaintiffs had presented “no substantial evidence” that the new impacts would be “significant” and or that the mitigations required of Dutra fell short.
David Keller, one of the individuals who brought the suit and a leader of the Petaluma River Council, which was also is part of the challenge, said plaintiffs are considering an appeal.
“Judge Chouteau has rejected our plea to preserve the gateway to Sonoma County from blight and protect the people of Petaluma from Dutra’s industrial pollution,” Keller said in a statement.
Aimi Dutra countered with a statement from her family’s company, citing revisions to the plant that she said would limit its impact on the community.
“This is the right plant in the right place,” she said. “The court’s ruling clearly supports the fact that all environmental impacts have been addressed.”