Written by Alyssa Burley.
Project Cornerstone held its quarterly meeting at Bully’s East on August 28th, 2014. Clay Westling, Deputy Director for the San Diego County Department of Planning & Development Services spoke to the group about the restructuring within the department and its commitment to a streamlined permitting process. Crystal Howard, executive director of Project Cornerstone, presented an overview of the community outreach and educational activities conducted by the group over the last three months. She also briefly spoke about the I-5 Coastal Commission permit, the City of San Diego development services changes, the City of San Diego infrastructure projects update and the San Luis Rey River Water Quality Improvement Plan.
San Diego deputy director of the Department of County Planning and Development Services, Clay Westling, addressed the local construction aggregates producers about the changes made within the newly reorganized department. Westling stressed the department’s commitment to customer service. One way the department is working to improve customer service is by publishing its time standards online. He also mentioned the success the department has had with its online permit request system. While only some permits may be obtained online, the reduced traffic in the department’s office has significantly improved wait times for those who must still submit paper applications.
Project Cornerstone provided attendees with a copy of the proposed changes to the County major use permit and reclamation plan applications to accommodate surface mining. The changes would essentially create new surface mining specific applications and modify existing forms in order to streamline the process for surface mining operations.
Crystal Howard highlighted the community outreach presentations and the organization’s progress made with its educational programs over the last few months. She showed pictures from many of the seven presentations made to the Alpine Kiwanis, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure and Land Use Committee, Kiwanis of Ramona, Kearny Mesa Speakers Toastmasters, Uptown Rotary, Lemon Grove Rotary and the Santee Kiwanis. Ms. Howard spoke about the workshop held at the Lemon Grove Academy where the organization was able to meet with science teachers and introduced a hands-on concrete activity.
Project Cornerstone distributed a set of maps showing the I-5 Public Works Plan projects organized by location and by phase. The maps may be found in the meeting’s agenda.
Attendees were also provided with a list of the 2015 forecasted infrastructure projects for the City of San Diego. The list includes 198 projects for airports, fire-rescue, library, office of the Chief Operating Officer, park and recreation, police, public utilities, public works, and transportation and storm water. An estimated $328 million will be awarded in construction contracts for these projects. The list of projects may be found in the meeting’s agenda.
Project Cornerstone staff have attended meetings for the San Luis Rey River Water Quality Improvement Plan development, to ensure the industry is considered in the process or is not considered as the source of pollutants. The priority pollutant identified in the process was Bacteria and methods to reduce bacteria will be the main emphasis from the plan. Project Cornerstone will continue to watch the development of this process.
The next Project Cornerstone quarterly meeting will be November 21, 2014 at the Inaugural Golf Tournament fundraiser at Pala Mesa Resort in Fallbrook, CA. Please register to play in the tournament or sponsor the event. The funds raised will help support Project Cornerstone’s mission to educate community members, public agencies and policy makers that local construction aggregates (i.e., sand, gravel and crushed stone) are the cornerstone of our communities.