Carson City supervisors want asphalt plant odor reduced

The Board of Supervisors largely upheld a Planning Commission decision requiring Tahoe Western Asphalt to mitigate odors at its plant or risk losing its permit to operate there.

The Carson City business had appealed the commission decision, which added conditions to the business’ special use permit that says odors from the plant’s operation must not be detectable beyond the property line.

The appellant asked that six conditions of the permit be overturned but the board upheld all but one, a condition about adding equipment which the commission had already reversed, and modified another concerning code enforcement.

During the discussion at Thursday’s meeting, the plant’s attorney, Jeremy Clarke, Simons Hall Johnston law firm, said the business is working on its permit with Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, which will require installation of new air quality equipment that may solve the odor problem as well. The application for that permit is due Aug. 18.

So the board kept a condition that requires Carson City code enforcement to continue to collect data on the plant but not enforce it until the plant has time to install the new equipment. The business will go before the commission in October for a review of its special use permit.
Also, the business must update the board at its Aug. 20 meeting about the NDEP permit and when the equipment will be installed.

For several years, residents in Mound House have complained of noxious odors coming from the plant, which is in Carson City near the Lyon County line. The commission first required the business use a chemical additive in its manufacturing process and after that failed to solve the problem to add a piece of equipment known as a regenerative thermal oxidizer. Eventually, the commission removed all requirements for specific equipment and added the condition that odors not be detectable outside the property.

“The Planning Commission realized they have no interest in designing the asphalt plant. They were looking for a performance standard,” said Hope Sullivan, planning manager, Carson City Community Development.

The appellant’s attorney argued, among other things, that the issue is not Carson City’s because all the complaints are coming from Lyon County residents, who can file complaints with Lyon County or file suit against the business.

Board members as well as the commission’s counsel, Ben Johnson, deputy district attorney, argued the city has jurisdiction because the business is in Carson City, even if the impact of its operations affect residents in another county.

“Carson City granted the special use permit so I think we do have an obligation because of that,” said Mayor Bob Crowell. “You’re trying to put Mound House residents in a no-man’s land.”


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