Planning Commission studies two tracks for Plumas Charter School site

Mark Lathrop, community relations manager for Sierra Pacific Industries, makes a statement at the Plumas County Planning Commission’s Feb. 16 opposing the use of the North Mill Creek Road property for a school. Photo by Steve Wathen

The Planning Commission meeting Feb. 16 was full of surprises.

Last week the majority of the planning commission seemed intent on granting Plumas Charter School a zoning change to allow the school to move into the Trilogy property, located at 424 North Mill Creek Road.

At the beginning of Thursday’s meeting, however, Mark Lathrop, community relations manager for Sierra Pacific Industries, gave the commission a letter from Sierra Pacific suggesting that the commission deny the zoning change proposed for the North Mill Creek Road property.

The letter mentioned that the mill puts out air contaminants, noise, dust and odor. Having a large number of students located near the mill could negatively affect Sierra Pacific’s operations by making it harder to meet their permit requirements.

Plumas County Supervisor Jeff Engel also spoke before the commission refuting the claim that the property that the charter school was given, just past the Quincy High School tennis courts, could not be developed as the site for a school.

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Engel said that he had met with an engineer who said that the site was buildable. Engel also felt that moving fill dirt for the site wasn’t cost prohibitive.

Commissioner John Olofson told the rest of the commission, “In my opinion, it would be foolhardy to spend a whole lot of time talking about the North Mill Creek Road site before we talk about the other site [near Quincy High School].”

The commission decided on a two-track approach. In regards to the North Mill Creek Road site, they voted 3-1 in favor of petitioning the board of supervisors to amend the Plumas County Code to permit schools in light industrial zones.

Aerial view of the area around the Sierra Pacific mill in Quincy. The mill is the large industrial complex at top center. The current location of Plumas Charter School in Quincy, Pioneer School, is the white star at the lower right. The property that the charter school hopes to purchase is the white star at the upper right. Photo from Google Map

Commissioner Larry Williams had proposed that the commission delay or table that decision.

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Plumas Charter School has already started negotiations for purchasing the North Mill Creek Road property.

As to the property located near the high school, the commission will be getting a report from an engineer and Taletha Washburn, executive director of Plumas Charter School, will be discussing the situation with Engel.