Drive north from Fresno along Highway 41 and you’ll see thousands of acres of rolling farmland. One day, those ranches, vineyards and orchards will become thousands of new homes.
It’s all part of an ambitious plan by developers and Madera County leaders to grow a major new city in the area. But building a city the size of Modesto takes a lot of materials, including things like gravel and concrete and asphalt.
That’s why a site near Highways 41 and 145 is being considered for a controversial new mine – the so-called Austin Quarry. Supporters say it will create good jobs and support the construction industry, while critics worry it will dry up the water table for nearby homes in the Madera Ranchos. After years of debate and study, the plan will be voted on in the coming days by the Madera County Board of Supervisors.
Mark Evan Smith with the Sierra Star, who covers issues in Madera County, joined Valley Edition to tell us more about on the development.