monterey road toilet storage site plan
A site plan shows the layout of a proposed portable toilet storage lot on Monterey Road in San Martin. Image: County of Santa Clara

A proposal to store portable toilets along Monterey Road has San Martin neighbors flush with concerns over chemicals and aesthetics.

Washington-based Honey Bucket, which provides toilets and sanitation services for special events and construction sites, is looking to construct a 300-by-350-foot fenced storage area in addition to a parking lot, restroom and detention pond on 13755 Monterey Road in San Martin.

Pat Donohoue, operations manager for Honey Bucket in Northern California, said the site could hold anywhere from 50 to 100 portable toilets. Drivers would load the toilets onto their trucks between 5-7am and return to drop them off as late as 7pm, after they have been cleaned off-site.

Donohoue added that the company’s customer base is centered in San Jose, making the San Martin location closer than its nearest operation in Richmond.

During a March 22 meeting of the San Martin Planning Advisory Committee, Donohoue said only household chemicals and toilet supplies would be stored on the site, with what is known as a “blue additive” poured into the toilets once they get to a customer site.

But after further questioning from the committee and public, Donohoue clarified that the blue additive is stored on the trucks, which are parked at the facility.

The county received more than 20 letters opposing the project, with many part of a letter-writing campaign that followed the same template.

Patricia DiSalvo, a San Martin resident since 1988, wrote that she and her family have had to fight “the Muslim church thing and many other ridiculous things.”

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agreed with the planning commission’s approval of the South Valley Islamic Center’s Cordoba Center project in late 2019. The project at 14045 Monterey Road in San Martin is located a block to the north of the proposed portable toilet facility. 

Across Monterey Road from the site is the Copart facility that stores and auctions off wrecked vehicles.

Farmer Jeff Martin wrote that Copart’s facility is “enough junk already inappropriately placed here.”

“San Martin is a rural residential area; potties are inappropriate,” he wrote. “Monterey Road is a scenic corridor; potties are not scenic.”

Gina Pimentel, who lives near the site, said she questioned why the project was proposed on a relatively small portion of the property.

“This is what you’re asking for right now, but you’ve got two other commercial lots,” she said. “Is that for the expansion of the operation?”

Linda Cambareri pointed to a lawsuit Honey Bucket faced in Pacific, Wash., filed by neighbors in 2016 over the smell from the company’s operation. Terms of a 2019 settlement from the case were not immediately available.

County staff are now preparing environmental documents for the project. Once complete, it will be brought back to the San Martin Planning Advisory Committee and Planning Commission for consideration.

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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