Summary of Feb 11th San Jose Planning Commission Newby Island Expansion

Summary: Republic’s Newby asked for an extension. They need 4 votes to approve the expansion and there are only 4 commissioners who can vote. They wanted to wait to get another commissioner on board, so if it is 4-1, the expansion will pass, 3-1, expansion deny.  No vote on the permit took place. Instead, the commissioners voted that this item be continued to 5/6/15. We had over 400 people attend this event.

Feb 11th Meeting: Agenda here. Synopsis of meeting can be found here. Link to audio/video recordings here.

More Details:

Republic presented a plan where they will pay for an odor study and work with Milpitas and San Jose to choose an odor consultant.  They also proposed setting up a coalition made up of various stakeholders to address the odor problem on a continuing basis.  The proposal was a good first step and they should be recognized for that step. There will be significant amount of negotiations between Milpitas, San Jose City Officials and Republic.  In the meantime, it is important that we stay focused on our goals.

It is too early to tell in regard to testimony.  We will watch what happens over the next few months and then prepare testimony based upon the final proposal that is made.

The summary of the Republic Proposal:

  1. They will pay for an odor study, consultant/company to be agreed upon by Milpitas, San Jose, Republic
  2. Upon completion of study Republic will implement commercially acceptable mitigation of any odors found to be on Republic Property
  3. Agree to help create and join a group of interested parties that will continue to focus on any current/future odor issues.
  4. Permit to grant the expansion approved.
Even more details:
1. Everyone were only allowed 1 min to speak. It threw us off on our prepared speeches since we prepared for 2 mins.
2. The hearing went well initially, until the pro-expansion speakers went on stage. We can see that the commissioner (especially the vice chairman) gave extra time for the pro to speak whereas he is shooing off the anti speakers. There is one particular speaker (represented republic) put up slides and it is way way over 1 min limit. His speeches turn into a propaganda that NISL is not the source of the odor based on the exact report shared by Ling this morning. The study of odor in on an INACTIVE landfill and the data is not-normalize (skew). Ling’s summary of her findings sent to the planning commission was on on page 631 of this doc, the graph is on page 589:
3. There is an obvious bias by the vice chairman as well. A lot of ppl can’t stand that the vice chairman provided VIP treatment to Republic.  Unfortunately, ppl are frustrated as republic  kept on and on singing that the odor does not come them. When ppl voiced the unfair preferences treatment to Republic, half of the audience were ushered out.
4. Things were back in order and the hearing continues.
5. Republic gave a 5 mins speech that the odor does not come from them, and it is come someone else. They wanted to initiate a join coalition with San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont and other potential odor sites to have a odor study. Republic will pay for the study on the condition that the city approves the permit.
6. Milpitas attorney took the stage and spoke for us with regards to a Nuisance law within their jurisdiction with respect to odor. Credit goes to Joseph for digging this out. Joseph can speak to it. Milpitas city manager also took the stage and said Milpitas city will look into the offer by Republic.
7. BAAQMD took the stage as well. Have to give kudos to whoever invited him over. He gave testimony that 1200+ complains were filed in the past months. 27 confirmed, and he did mentioned that the odor confirmation process is tedious. 5 violations were issued, 3 to landfill and 2 to recyclery. He also said the odor does come from the landfill. This statement is huge for us as it opposed to what Republic has been preaching earlier that odor does not come from them.
8. We also noticed that the city staffs are not well informed of the violations. They continue to recommend the expansion to the commissioners. Even though they can’t vote but they have huge influence to the commissioner decision. We need to start writing to the staffs. If anyone manage to get their names that will be great.


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