The proposed Crystal Geyser bottling facility in the Olancha area is still open for public review of the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The more than 34 acre project would go up in the north-central part of Cabin Bar Ranch. Inyo Planning Director Josh Hart answered some questions posed by citizens.
Of the more than 34 acres in the project, nearly 15 acres would be subject to ground disturbance and improvements. The new bottling plant would include a 198,500 square foot bottling plant and a 40,000 square foot warehouse. Hart said the Draft EIR says the new plant is expected to employ an additional 50 people. Part of the plant would be automated, as the current Crystal Geyser plant is.
Although some citizens said they had heard the current plant would be abandoned for the new project, Planning Director Hart said not to his knowledge; and he said that point is not in the EIR. In fact, the Planning Department’s examination of the new plan includes the premise that the current plant would remain in operation.
Although there is an existing planned for sub-division on the Cabin Bar land, Hart said the new project would eliminate that. The EIR also makes note of a proposed access to the new project when the Olancha four-laning goes in.
The new project would withdraw groundwater from three existing on-site wells from the shallow aquifer underlying the project area at a combined average rate of 170 gallons per minute year-round. This would add up to approximately 360 acre feet per year. Some citizens said they were concerned about pumping near an earthquake fault. Planning Director Hart said that the Spring Line Fault is in the area. He said there has been pumping in this area in the past with no earthquakes as a result.
In addition to environmental approval, this project will have to go through a General Plan Amendment, a Zone Reclassification and a Conditional Use Permit. Construction would take place in three phases over a number of years with buildout anticipated in 2025 to 2027, according to the Planning Department.
The 45-day review period for the Draft EIR ends on October 1. Copies of the DEIR and more information are available on the Planning Department website, www.inyoplanning.org, at the Planning office at the courthouse and at all county public libraries. Send comments to:
Ms. Tanda Gretz
Inyo County Planning Department
P.O. Drawer L
Independence, CA 93526