Update: Public gets one more chance to sound off on Phillips 66 rail project
UPDATE: Thursday, February 25, 2016
The public hearing over whether Phillips 66 can increase the number of oil shipments by train along the Central Coast will extend into next month.
The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission said Thursday that speakers will get a final opportunity to make their points on Friday, March 11.
Thursday's public hearing was also an extension of a two day session held back on February 4 and 5.
Thursday is the last chance for the public to officially comment on whether a plan to increase the number of oil trains along the Central Coast can move forward.
Earlier this month, the commission heard two days of public comment on the Phillips 66 Rail Spur project proposal. In the end, the vast majority of comments were against the plan and many people who had signed up to speak had yet to be heard, so the commission added another day.
Dennis Nuss is with Phillips 66 and said he believes to see a better showing from project supporters this time around.
"We hope that we get all of our points across and show the benefits of the rail project," Nuss said.
He said if the project wins approval the company hopes to have it up and running by early next year.
But Laurance Shinderman with the Mesa Refinery Watch Group, an organization opposed to the project, said he believes no matter which way the commission rules, the issue will end up in front of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.
"This is not the end of the road if they say yay of nay, we just know it's going to move forward," Shinderman said.
Ryan Hostetter is a Supervising Planner for the County and said when the commissioners are finished hearing comments this time around they may hear from staff. Eventually, they'll make their way into deliberations where they have two possible outcomes.
"It's a yes or a no unless they need more information," said Hostetter. "They can continue to another hearing, so that's the other option."
Hostetter said she expects all of Thursday to be taken up with public comment, leaving little time for anything else.