Thousands expected to attend Riverside County hearing over contested Temecula rock quarry

Officials expect thousands of people to fill a Temecula-area church Tuesday for what’s likely to be one of the most contentious land-use hearings in Riverside County history. County planners will discuss the proposed construction of a 155-acre strip mine in the foothills a few miles south of Temecula.

In the last couple of years, Temecula has weathered plenty of divisive issues – from proposed crackdowns on illegal immigration to the construction of a new Islamic center. Those issues pale compared to the feud over Liberty Quarry.

Workers there would use explosives to blast rock for use in cement and asphalt. Supporters say the open-pit mine would generate dozens of high-paying jobs and millions of dollars in annual tax revenue. Opponents worry that the quarry would fill the air with hazardous dust particles, damage a nearby ecological reserve and stifle tourism.

Most members of the Temecula City Council oppose the project. Riverside County planners recommend approval for a scaled-down quarry.

But county planning commissioners won’t sign off on any project before they hear what constituents have to say. Then, Riverside County Supervisors will have to decide whether they’ll approve the quarry.

The public hearing on Liberty Quarry happens Tuesday at Rancho Community Church in Temecula. It starts at 4 in the afternoon.

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