Another sand mine in East County piques interest of Lakeside residents

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Photo by Google Maps. East County Sand Mine.

Lakeside residents are focusing on another sand mining issue in their community.

Though not nearly the size and scope of the proposed El Monte sand mining project, the East County Sand Mine in Moreno Valley is looking to expand their operation.

Though the project was approved in 2017, the company wants to enlarge the project, which means deepening their mining pit from 25 to 80 feet. Interestingly, the original proposal was designed for the lower depth, but the County restricted the miners to 25 feet at that time.

The sand miners made their case for expansion at the Lakeside Community Planning Board meeting, held on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in the town’s community center.

More than 40 people populated the community room on this night, triple the usual number of attendees for a planning board meeting. Eleven residents took to the microphone to share their feelings and concerns, which ranged from traffic issues to noise, dust and pollution.

A number of valley residents also felt their well water was at risk. All but one speaker was clearly against the project; no one in the crowd supported the expansion. (One speaker’s position was unclear.)

Project engineer Ken Discenza spoke to the need for the sand in the local construction industry.

“If we don’t mine it, it gets covered up and it’ll probably never get mined again,” he said.

County staff was also scheduled to attend the meeting, but opted out. In fact, Discenza said he received a call from the County asking him to cancel as well.

Discenza said he needed to attend, as the meeting had already been publicized and people expected him to be there.

LCPG Chair Brian Sesko felt the County’s role and perspective was required for the board to make an informed decision.

He made a motion to table the item and schedule a special meeting for the exclusive purpose of addressing the sand mining issue.

The board agreed. That meeting is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Community Center.