An announcement is expected today that the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and Granite Construction Co. have forged an accord that will amicably resolve a long-standing land use dispute involving the proposed Liberty Quarry project in Riverside County and end the proposed quarry, it was announced today.
Pechanga and Granite announced today the sale of 354 acres of land that was part of the Liberty Quarry Project site to the Tribe for $3 million and the completion of a separate inter-dependent and comprehensive settlement and release agreement under which Pechanga will pay Granite $17.35 million to settle the dispute over Granite’s proposed Liberty Quarry Project on the Riverside-San Diego County line.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Granite has also agreed to not own or operate a quarry within a six mile radius to the north of the property along the Riverside-San Diego County border and three miles to the south through 2035.
For its part, Pechanga has committed to providing Granite input regarding potential impacts to tribal historic and cultural resources at other potential aggregate sites outside of the restricted area that Granite may consider over the same 23-year period.
“This area holds profound historic, cultural, and spiritual importance to the Pechanga and Luiseño Peoples,” said Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro in a released statement. “Today, a small yet essential piece of our historic territory is once again united with its original stewards to preserve for future generations.”
“Granite has a strong history of cooperation with stakeholders in communities where we work and is pleased to have been able to reach an equitable solution with the Pechanga Tribe regarding this project,” said James H. Roberts, Granite’s President and CEO in the statement. “We remain committed to Western Riverside and San Diego counties and look forward to continuing to grow our business in this area.”
Granite first submitted an application to Riverside County for the quarry project in 2005 that would serve Riverside and San Diego Counties with a long-term supply of aggregate. The Pechanga Tribe opposed the project, arguing it would have desecrated an area with strong cultural and spiritual importance to the Luiseño Peoples. After seven years of environmental review and numerous hearings by the County, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors denied the Project but certified the Environmental Impact Report in May, which is now the subject of two lawsuits.
In July, Granite submitted a revised project application for a slightly smaller project.
A press conference formally announcing the agreement is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today at Pechanga Resort & Casino on the top of North Parking Structure, located at 45000 Pechanga Pkwy. in Temecula.
The public is invited to attend.