About 25 west Gilroy residents showed up to City Council’s regular meeting on Monday to complain about excessive dust levels caused by the initial construction of the Rancho Hills development, a project from Glen-Loma Corporation and Arcadia Development.
“The dust is out of control,” said westside resident John Litzinger, who brought photos of the dusty neighborhood as well as a plastic bag full of dust he collected to pass around to Council members.
“The contractor is saving time and profit and passing the cost on to the home owners in the neighborhood,” Litzinger said.
Seven other angry westside residents railed against Council for not mitigating the problem.
Resident Joe Young, who painted himself as a no-nonsense military veteran that would never complain about a trivial issue, grew emotional when he spoke to Council.
“We’ve suffered for two months and not one of you showed up at our door and said show me the dust,” Young said. “Why not? No answer, huh?”
Young said his neighbor is pregnant with twins and can’t breathe the air in her own home.
“I’m too emotional, I can’t finish,” he said, as he left the podium mid-thought.
The neighbors complained that the contractor hired by Glen-Loma Corporation, Don Chapin Construction, is moving too fast with his graders and not sufficiently watering the project to keep dust levels down.
City staff disagreed. Kristi Abrams, community development director, said because the developers are acting within industry standards, they cannot force them to modify the project.
“As the city began receiving dust complains we were in constant communication with the contractor regarding the dust control,” Abrams said.
Abrams said the city has worked with the contractor to increase the amount of water trucks on the project to four – which, she said, is more than is required for a project of Rancho Hill’s size – and reduced the overload of dirt for each grader.
“Over the past week we’ve seen sufficient dust control,” she said as people in the Council audience shook their heads and snickered.
Because the issue was brought up during the public comment section, Council could not delve into a full discussion of the issue, but Mayor Al Pinheiro did address the crowd by saying Council will “continue to monitor” the issue.