Quelling Quarry Qualms


Enough is never enough for residents who oppose Cotati’s proposed Roblar Road Quarry. After years of political haggling and environmental analysis, they are bringing the issue to the concert stage. On July 11, the North Bay musical community comes together to stop the Roblar Rock Quarry with the Rock for No Rock concert.

The proposal to build a quarry west of Cotati has been a point of contention ever since the land was first considered a potential source of gravel in the mid-1980s. After two aborted applications to develop the land as a gravel mine, the affected area might see its last days as a natural space with the third application, recently submitted by North Bay Construction. John Barella, North Bay Construction owner, says there is a “need in the county for hard rock.” The Sonoma County Planning Commission recognized this need after recommending a certification of the project’s environmental impact report earlier this year. Motions to bring the project to its initial stages were halted by the discovery of California tiger salamander larvae, an endangered species in the area.

Protecting an endangered friend of this natural space is only an addendum to the plethora of concerns the opposition has for this struggle between man and nature. The nonprofit Citizens Advocating for Roblar Rural Quality (CARRQ) cites potential wind issues, water pollution and the area’s proximity to an unlined landfill as its impetus for opposition. The land in question is part of the Sonoma County Open Space District; plans to start work on a quarry there would require a haul route for trucks through the space.

This Sunday, CARRQ might just get its opportunity to shine at the Rock for No Rock concert. Concert co-organizer and Zone Music owner Frank Hayhurst calls the concert a “community event to raise awareness.” Personally opposed to the quarry, he says he “would at least like to have open discussion,” and expects the event will elicit outside opinions, especially from the more reticent Sonoma County planning and North Bay Construction standpoint. He hopes to provoke public outcry with the event, maintaining, “This is what music has always done.” Rock for No Rock takes place on Sunday, July 11, at La Plaza Park in downtown Cotati. Noon-6pm. Free. 707.664.1213.

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