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INFORMATION

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EMERGENCY DECLARED IN SAN DIEGO AS WETTEST JANUARY DAY ON RECORD BRINGS WIDESPREAD FLOODING

January 23, 2024 by Dennis Romero

January 28, 2024 - Photos of the Cottonwood Golf Club property taken from the Steele Canyon Bridge in the East direction and then in the West direction. (photos taken by Elizabeth Urquhart)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT
SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT 2023
RECIRCULATION OF DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) PUBLIC MEETING OCCURRED ON 7/25/23

Close to 500 members of the community came out united against the Cottonwood Sand Mine Project at the County Public Meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. Now it's time to submit your Comment Letter by August 21, 2023, tell all your family, friends, and neighbors about this horrible project, and donate what you can to our support our environmental legal team, Shute, Milhaley & Weinberger, who we have retained to help us STOP this sand mine.

RECIRCULATION OF DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) FOR 52-DAY PUBLIC REVIEW (6/29/23 - 8/21/23)

San Diego County released, for public review, the Recirculation of Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Cottowood Sand Mining project.

 

Comments must be sent by 4:00pm on 8/21/23 to:

        Planning & Development Services

        Attn: Christopher Jacobs

        5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 310

        San Diego, CA 92123

Or email to: Christopher.Jacobs@sdcounty.ca.gov

The County requests that reviewers limit the scope of their comments to only the portions of the Draft EIR that have changed and are included in the Recirculated Draft EIR. Both comments from circulation of the Draft EIR (12/16/21 - 2/28/22) and comments from circulation of the Recirculated Draft EIR will be included in the Final EIR. Comments on the Recirculated Draft EIR should reference the project numbers and name. The County encourages written comments to be submitted in electronic format.

COTTONWOOD SAND MINING PROJECT (PDS2018-MUP-18-023), (PDS2018-RP-18-001); LOG NO. PDS2018-ER-18-19-007; SCH# 2019100513

Both the Draft EIR and the Recirculated Draft EIR can be reviewed online at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/ceqa_public_review.html, and a hard copy of the documents can be reviewed at the Planning & Development Services (PDS), Project Processing Counter, 5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 110, San Diego, California 92123.

Comments on the Recirculated Draft EIR must be received by the County no later than August 21, 2023, at 4:00pm (52-day public review period).

The County will hold an in-person public meeting regarding the Recirculated Draft EIR on July 25, 2023, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Hillsdale Middle School.

County In-person Public Meeting:

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

6:30pm - 8:30pm

Hillsdale Middle School

1301 Brabham Street

El Cajon, CA 92019

 

For additional information regarding the proposed Cottonwood Sand Mine Project application, please contact Christopher Jacobs at (619) 323-8718 or by email at Christopher.Jacobs@sdcounty.ca.gov.

        

6/23/23  UPDATE
The County contact person who is handling communication regarding the Cottonwood Sand Mine application process is Ashley Smith, Chief of Project Planning at the County's Planning Services Department. She can be reached at Ashley.Smith@sdcounty.ca.gov

Ashley Smith has informed StopCottonwoodSandMine.org that parts of the Cottonwood Sand Mine Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR) are tracking toward a 6/29/23 recirculation date and start of the public review period. If the public review period begins on 6/29/23, the County anticipates holding a public in-person meeting on 7/25/23 at Hillsdale Middle School (time TBD).

 

The EIR documents that will be recirculated include an updated project description with supporting information on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic and noise, an updated stormwater management plan, and an updated biological resources chapter. There will also be a Reader's Guide provided explaining the changes to the EIR.

 

StopCottonwoodSandMine.org will inform everyone on our Contact List exactly when the EIR parts have been recirculated as well as when the public meeting(s) will occur. 

If you have specific complaints regarding activities occurring at the Cottonwood Golf Club property that you think may be County code violations, you can submit these complaints online or schedule a call to discuss the complaints with the County of San Diego Code Compliance Division.

5/25/23 UPDATE

The County Chief of Project Planning, Ashley Smith, provided the following update regarding the redistribution of the Cottonwood Sand Mine Environmental Impact Report:

Only portions of the EIR will be recirculated. These will include an updated project description with supporting information on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, traffic and noise, an updated stormwater management plan, as well as an updated biological resources chapter. There will also be a reader's guide circulated explaining the changes to the EIR.

The standard for an EIR public review period is 45 days, however CEQA does allow up to a maximum of 60 days. StopCottonwoodSandMine.org Board members have requested a 60-day review period. Ashley will let us know when the County has made a decision on the time period.

There is not yet a date for the in-person public meeting as it will be dependent on the start date of the public review of the recirculated documents. The County is still working through some reviews of the materials to be recirculated and anticipate the public review will begin in early June 2023 at the earliest. StopCottonwoodSandMine.org will be informed as soon as the date for the public meeting has been secured and notice will be emailed to everyone on this website's contact list. Announcements will also be distributed through social media.

The local Community Planning Groups (Valle de Oro, Jamul-Dulzura, and Spring Valley) will receive notice of the public review period and will have the ability to comment on the documents similar to the original draft EIR. Community members should plan to attend monthly CPG meetings to provide feedback once the EIR public review period begins.

All comments received by the County in response to the original draft EIR are now available on this website's Supporters page.

4/28/23  UPDATE
The County contact person who is handling communication regarding the Cottonwood Sand Mine application process is Ashley Smith, Chief of Project Planning at the County's Planning Services Department. She can be reached at Ashley.Smith@sdcounty.ca.gov

San Diego County and the Applicant are finalizing the review and revisions to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The revised sections of the EIR will go out for Public Review. This may occur as early as May 2023. The County staff will hold an in-person public meeting to describe the EIR changes. We will inform everyone regarding the date, time, and location of the public meeting as soon as we know it.

If you have specific complaints regarding activities occurring at the Cottonwood Golf Club property that you think may be County code violations, you can submit these complaints online or schedule a call to discuss the complaints with the County of San Diego Code Compliance Division.

12/23/22  UPDATE
The new County contact person who is handling communication regarding this project is Regina Ochoa, Planning Manager. She can be reached at Regina.Ochoa@sdcounty.ca.gov or (619) 323-8090.


San Diego County and the potential sand mine Developer are continuing to review and respond to comments submitted during the Environmental Impact Report public review period. It is expected that they will not complete this process until early Spring 2023. We will provide updates when available. In the meantime, be sure to inform everyone you know about this proposed project and the need to stop its approval!

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9/10/22  UPDATE
San Diego County continues to pour through all the comments submitted during the Environmental Impact Report public review period. It is expected that they will not complete this process until late this year. We will provide updates when available. In the meantime, be sure to inform everyone you know about this proposed project and the need to stop its approval!

DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR PUBLIC REVIEW 12/16/21-2/28/22
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San Diego County released, for public review, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Cottowood Sand Mining project.

 

Comments must be sent BY 2/28/22 to:

        Robert Hingtgen

        Planning & Development Services

        5510 Overland Avenue, Suite 310

        San Diego, CA 92123

Or, emailed to: Robert.Hingtgen@sdcounty.ca.gov

Comments on the DEIR should reference the project number and name. The County encourages written comments on the project to be submitted in electronic format.

A hard copy of the DEIR documents can be reviewed at the Rancho San Diego Library at 11555 Via Rancho San Diego, El Cajon, CA 92019 and the Casa de Oro Library at 9805 Campo Road, #180, Spring Valley, CA 91977.

Comments on the DEIR must be received by the County no later than February 28, 2022 at 4:00pm (60-day public review period).

There were going to be two County meetings, one in-person and one virtual, where the same project material will be presented and public comments heard. However, the County has cancelled the 1/12/22 in-person meeting due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. There will also be a Valle de Oro Community Planning Group virtual meeting on 2/1/22 where the project will be presented by the developer and public comments heard by the planning group before they vote on a comment letter to submit to the County. 

County In-person Public Meeting:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

7:00pm - 9:30pm

Hillsdale Middle School

 Multipurpose Room

1301 Brabham Street

El Cajon, CA 92019

 

County Virtual/Teleconference Meeting:

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

7:00pm - 9:30pm

Access at: https://bit.ly/CottonwoodSandMine

Call in at: (619) 343-2539

Conference ID Number: 972 237 701#

Valle de Oro Community Planning Group Virtual Meeting:

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

7:00pm 

Access at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84800231932

Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group Virtual Meeting:

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

7:30pm

Access at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82400516671?pwd=b2ZJM3pzdmtRZ1p3WkdVZHZ5TFMzQT09

For additional information regarding the proposed project or scheduled meetings, contact Juliette Orozco, Project Manager, at Juliette.Orozco@sdcounty.ca.gov.

        

COUNTY CANCELS  IN-PERSON MEETING

January 7, 2022 "STOP COTTONWOOD SAND MINE ORGANIZERS SAY DRAFT EIR IS FLAWED, FAILS TO ADDRESS MAJOR IMPACTS ON COMMUNITY" by Miriam Raftery who virtually interviews Barry Jantz and Elizabeth Urquhart for KNSJ

EXPERTS NEEDED TO ASSIST WITH RESPONSE TO DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT
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We need all the help we can get to provide a detailed response to the County by 2/28/22 regarding the Cottonwood Sand Mine Draft Environmental Impact Report. If you or someone you know has expertise in any of the following subject areas, email us so we can coordinate our efforts:

  • Aesthetics

  • Biological Resources

  • Cultural Resources

  • Noise

  • Paleontology

  • Tribal Cultural Resources

  • Air Quality

  • Energy

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Hazards & Hazardous Materials

  • Hydrology & Water Quality

  • Land Use & Planning

  • Transportation & Traffic

  • Agriculture & Forestry Resources

  • Geology & Soils

  • Mineral Resources

  • Public Services

  • Recreation

  • Utilities & Service Systems

  • Wildfire

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) PROGRESS UPDATE 12/8/21

Save these Dates!

San Diego County is done with reviewing the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) documents provided by the Developer. The EIR is slated to go out on 12/16/2021 for a 60-day public review period. During this time, we all must provide our written opposition to the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group, the County Planning & Development Services (PDS), and each Board of Supervisor. Everyone on our Contact List will be informed when the 60-day public review period begins and that it is time to submit your written feedback.

Now is the time to inform as many neighbors, businesses, schools, community centers, senior facilities, family, and friends about the proposed project and how they can join the Contact List and access our How To Help resources.

The County Planning & Development Services (PDS) intends to hold two public meetings during the 60-day review period - one in person and one virtual. These meetings will include a presentation about the Environmental Impact Review and then time for the public to provide verbal feedback. The in-person meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday 1/12/2022 at 7:00pm at Hillsdale Middle School (1301 Brabham Street in Rancho San Diego). The virtual presentation and hearing is tentatively scheduled  for Wednesday 1/19/2022 at 7:00pm (link will be provided prior to meeting).

The Valle De Oro Community Planning Group is planning to have the Cottonwood Sand Mine EIR Public Hearing on their agenda for their 2/1/2022 monthly meeting at 7:00pm (in-person place of meeting to be determined).

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) PROGRESS UPDATE 9/20/21

San Diego County is just about done with reviewing the Environmental Impact Report documents provided by the Developer. Once they are finalized, most likely within the next 2 months, there will be a 45-day public review period. During this time, we all must provide our written opposition to the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group, the County Planning & Development Services (PDS), and each Board of Supervisor. Everyone on our Contact List will be informed when the 45-day public review period begins and that it is time to submit your written feedback.

Now is the time to inform as many neighbors, businesses, schools, community centers, senior facilities, family, and friends about the proposed project and how they can join the Contact List and access our How To Help resources.

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) PROGRESS UPDATE 8/27/20

We received a letter from the County Planning & Development Services (PDS) dated July 27, 2020, stating that the first draft of Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) have been reviewed. The County has determined that more information and additional reviews of the reports will be necessary before PDS will approve the documents.

Once approved, the EIR documents will go out for a 45-day public review. A public meeting will be held during that time. The estimated time for public review is "later in the year". Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public meetings and hearings are only happening virtually at this point.

Following completion of the EIR process, the project will be scheduled for a public hearing before the Planning Commission for a decision. The County believes this may occur in Summer 2021 depending on actual completion of the draft EIR process. Then, the Planning Commission decision may be appealed to the Board of Supervisors. If this occurs, the Board of Supervisors will have the final decision to approve the project or not.

We will need everyone who opposes the Cottonwood Sand Mine to write to our local Valle de Oro Community Planning Group, the Planning & Development Services, and the Board of Supervisors during public review periods. We will inform everyone on our Contact List when this is needed. Please be sure we have your contact information so you can help!

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) PROGRESS UPDATE 5/23/20

The proposed Cottonwood Sand Mining Project developers submitted a first iteration draft Environment Impact Report (EIR) and technical studies in mid-March 2020 to the San Diego County Planning and Development Services. The Planning and Development Services staff have been in the process of reviewing those documents and expect to complete this process by end of May 2020. Once complete, a revised project application schedule will be developed. The County anticipates the EIR will be finalized by this coming Fall and that a Public Review will be scheduled at that time. The County staff have shared that they are not certain how a Public Review Meeting will be conducted given the COVID-19 Pandemic concerns, social distancing, and limits regarding large gatherings. 

To allow all public citizens the opportunity to participate, we are strongly recommending that the County postpone an EIR Public Review Hearing until a time when the public can convene in person. We believe that holding a virtual meeting in place of a true public hearing will leave out a multitude of concerned citizens who want to hear and speak to County officials about a potential Sand Mine Pit being dropped in the middle of their community and the Sweetwater River watershed.

We understand that the COVID-19 Pandemic has placed all of us in unprecedented times and we appreciate the many demands currently made on all individuals. Even so, the right for a Public Hearing should not be adjusted just to maintain a schedule. The potential impacts of this project to community residents may be great. Therefore, we believe it is crucial that the County delay the next Public Hearing until a time that all citizens may meet and discuss their concerns openly and fairly.

We urge all interested parties to contact the County Planning and Development Services and the Board of Supervisors and request that a virtual meeting NOT replace an in-person Public Review Hearing regarding Cottonwood Sand Mine Project, MUP-18-023 Environmental Impact Report. A sample letter has been provided. Please edit to personalize, include your name and contact information, and then email to the addresses included on the sample letter.

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CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT PUBLIC REVIEW 10/24/19 - 11/22/19

Public Review Notice for the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Cottonwood Sand Mining Project. Concerned citizens should provide written comments during the NOP period from October 24, 2019 through 4:00pm on Friday November 22, 2019 (a 30-day period). The County will conduct a public scoping meeting at the Hillsdale Middle School at 1301 Brabham Street in Rancho San Diego on Monday November 4, 2019 at 6:00pm. Please be there with all your neighbors!

 

There will also be a Valle De Oro Community Planning Group meeting on Tuesday November 5, 2019 at 7:00pm at Otay Water District Headquarters - Lower Terrace Training Room, 2554 Sweetwater Springs Boulevard, Spring Valley where Board members invite the public to share their comments regarding Cottonwood Sand Mining Project's preparation of their EIR. PLEASE come to both meetings!

2023 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Statutes and Guidelines

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PROPOSED PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Draft Project Description for the Cottonwood Sand Mining Project submitted to the County of San Diego Planning & Development Services (PDS) at a pre-application meeting on May 10, 2018

Major Use Permit Application & Updated 11/19/2018 Project Description

Plot Plan

Discretionary Permit Application

PERMIT APPLICATION APPROVAL PROCESS

May 31, 2019 County of San Diego Planning & Development Services (PDS) Scoping Letter to developer outlining major project issues requiring resolution for project to be recommended for approval.

November 8, 2018 County of San Diego Planning & Development Services (PDS) letter to developer providing a summary of the major issues discussed at the May 10, 2018 pre-application conference, key decisions or determination, and items that must be submitted for project application processing

November 19, 2018 County of San Diego Department of Planning & Development Services (PDS) Notice To Property Owners regarding zoning application 

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VALLE DE ORO COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

The Valle de Oro Community Planning Area encompasses approximately nineteen square miles of the unincorporated portion of the County of San Diego. The Planning Area is located to the south of the City of El Cajon and to the east of the city of La Mesa. Several neighborhoods are located within Valle de Oro. Those include: Casa de Oro, Mount Helix, Vista Grande Hills and Rancho San Diego. 

2011 Board of Supervisors-approved County of San Diego General Plan

November 6, 2018 Valle de Oro Community Planning Group Monthly Meeting/Cottonwood Sand Mining Project Presentation - Notes for the community taken by STOP Cottonwood Sand Mine Steering Committee

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Valle De Oro Community Plan Land Use Map

Valle De Oro Community Plan / San Diego County General Plan

Valle De Oro Community Planning Group Roster 2020

MEDIA

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August 12, 2017 "A Tale of Two Golf Courses" by J. Harry Jones

November 14, 2018 "Proposed Sand Mining Project at Cottonwood Golf Club Faces Pushback" by Karen Pearlman

November 26, 2018 "Sand Mine Proposed at Cottonwood Golf Site: Residents Opposed Set Community Meeting November 28" by Miriam Raftery

November 28, 2018 "Owner of Cottonwood Golf Club in El Cajon Wants To Turn It Into A Sand Mine" by Matt Boone

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November 28, 2018 "Some For, Others Against Plan to Turn Golf Course Into Sand Mine" by Omari Fleming

November 29, 2018 "Golf Course Community Organizes Against Proposed Sand Mine Project in East County" by Anthony Pura

November 28, 2018 "Residents Concerned With Plan to Turn Cottonwood Golf Course into a Sand Mine" by John Soderman

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November 29, 2018 "Plan to Turn Cottonwood GC into Sand Mine Draws Protests" by Joe Barks

December 3, 2018 "Sand Mine Proposed for Golf Course Brings Rancho SD, Jamul Residents Out in Protest" by Karen Pearlman

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December 5, 2018 "Opponents of Sand Mine Proposed at Cottonwood Golf in Rancho San Diego Pack Community Meeting" by Paul Kruze

December 14, 2018 "Proposal to Turn Cottonwood Golf Course into Sand Mine Meets Community Opposition" by Ana Nita

December 21, 2018 "Nearly 2,200 Residents Express Opposition to Cottonwood Sand Mine"

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January 17, 2019 "Cottonwood Sand Mine On Agenda Feb. 12 For Jamul-Dulzura Planning Group" by Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2019 "County Letter on Cottonwood Sand Mine Reiterates Community's Significant Concerns" by Barry Jantz

November 1, 2019 "Public Meeting on Cottonwood Sand Mine Project Proposal: County seeks input on preparation of Environmental Impact Report" by Barry Jantz

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November 5, 2019 "Cottonwood Sand Mine Opponents  Step Up Efforts" by Karen Beth Pearlman

November 4, 2019 "Rancho San Diego Residents Are Teed Off Over Sand Mining Project" by Richard Allyn

November 4, 2019 "Rancho San Diego Residents Give Input On Proposed Sand Mine" by Kasia Gregorczyk

November 17, 2019 "Proposed Cottonwood Sand Mine Draws Unified Opposition From Rancho San Diego Residents At Scoping Meeting" by Paul Kruze

February 12, 2021 "3 Steps You Can Take to Stop the Cottonwood Sand Mine" by La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club

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December 17, 2021 "StopCottonwoodSandMine.org Board of Directors responds to release of Draft Environmental Impact Review: Community called to action over proposed 10-year sand mining project" by Barry Jantz

December 28, 2021 "County Release Draft EIR On Cottonwood Sand Mining Project: Public Meetings Set In January" by Miriam Raftery

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January 4, 2022 "El Cajon sand mine stirs up more than dust" by Sheila Pell

January 19, 2022 "Rancho San Diego Pushes Back On Plans For Sand Mine" by Matt Prichard

We're Live

January 19, 2022 "Cottonwood Sand Mine meeting for environmental impact report" by Ryan Hill

January 19, 2022 "Opponents of Cottonwood Sand Mine speak against proposed 12-year project in Rancho San Diego" by Regina Ahn

January 19, 2022 "Rancho San Diego residents push to stop proposed sand mine" by Clara Benitez

Recording Time

January 28, 2022 "Public not happy with mining project report" by Albert Fulcher

February 1, 2022 "Controversial sand mine project needs revision, says local planning group" by Kasia Gregorczyk

March 2022 "Jamul Dulzura Planning Group Hears Public Comments on Proposed Sand Mine at Cottonwood Golf Course" by The Jamul Shopper & News

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July 5, 2023 "Cottonwood Sand Mine Revised Draft EIR is Available For Public Comment; Meeting Set on July 25" by Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2023 "Cottowood Sand Mine proposal to face public scrutiny again next week" by Barry Jantz

July 26, 2023 "Proposed Cottonwood sand mine prompts public concern" by Rafer Weigel

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July 25, 2023 "Residents sound off against golf course set to transform into sand mine" by Jasmine Ramirez

July 26, 2023 "Deadline extended for public to weigh in on proposed East County sand mine amid furious pushback" by Blake Nelson

July 26, 2023 "Battle Heats Up as Residents Lock Horns Over Transformation of Pristine Golf Course into Sand Mine" by Roma Chang

July 26, 2023 "Proposed sand mine continues to receive community pushback in East County" by Kasia Gregorczyk

July 25, 2023 "Cottonwood Sand Mine Project Brings Strong Opposition From East County Residents" by Jessyka Heredia

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