It just gets “curiouser and curiouser,” Alice said. There are so many valid questions regarding the city’s decision to allow the appeal of the Freeze Project located above the headwaters at city park. The city violated the Brown Act by failing to make the planning commission meeting’s agenda freely available for all of the minimum-required 72-hours in advance of the public hearing, thus, depriving some citizens of their right to know about the application. Several citizens recently filed a Cure & Correct Letter. The planning commission appropriately denied the carwash portion of the IS/MND and requested the consultant and staff provide more information on the mini storage unit facility component. Well and good.
Mr. Freeze later sent an email appealing the decision but stating no reasons for his appeal, nor paying fee required by city regulations. The city has always made other people pay the appeal fee at the time the appeal is submitted within 10 days of the planning commission’s decision. By not providing any basis for his appeal as required by ordinance, Freeze is depriving the city officials and the public with any ability to research and challenge the appeal. The appeal is premature as the commissioners have not completed their review of the project and environmental study. The city attorney advised the appeal should be allowed to proceed, bypassing the legitimate authority and expertise of the planning commission members who have studied the relevant documents. Who is the city attorney representing?
As far as I know, no one is in favor of this project located in a delicate area highly visible from historic Spring Hill Trail and at the northern entry to our city. Aesthetics and community values matter. The neighbors and many locals all protested the development, particularly the carwash component because of its proximity to the Sacramento River headwaters and city park. Many speakers at the hearing commented they never have to wait to use the local carwash and questioned the viability of a second carwash. Most would boycott a carwash so proximal to the Headwaters.
Many of us question Mr. Freeze’s statement that a former city planner gave him permission to remove trees and grade without a city permit. Freeze denied knowing the headwaters was there when he purchased the property. How could he fail to recognize the headwaters when he had been involved in major citation over the former Hi-Ridge Lumber Co. pollution in Yreka with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board (NCRWQCB).
Their recent email guides the public and our city representatives to information regarding his past history with water pollution issues. Although it was the former Hi-Ridge Lumber company’s pollution, Freeze was the owner at the time of the serious citation.
“The Cleanup and Abatement Order (CAO) No. R1-2010-0061 that you attached in your October 17, 2019 email was issued by our Assistant Executive Officer on June 16, 2010. A substantial amount of documentation describing the investigation and remediation is publicly available on Geotracker, which you can access at https://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/. Type “Hi-Ridge” in the search box and click on the site when it appears. That will bring you to the Geotracker page for this site. To access the documents related to this site, including the documents related to the CAO, click on the “Regulatory Activities” tab.”
These are questions that might lead the city to at a minimum require Freeze to comply with city regulations.
Please attend the Monday, Oct. 28 city council hearing at 5:30 p.m. at City Park Upper Lodge. This project has so many flaws and creates potentially serious health and safety hazards for our community and for all downstream from the headwaters. Express your concerns and support those doing the heavy investigation and dedicated to protecting our wonderland. See this website for details: www.stopblight.weebly.com/