SAN DIEGO — Plans to develop a sand mine in an East County golf course are moving along, but not without opposition.

If approved, the project would transform half of Cottonwood Golf Course and mine sand from the river valley.

More than 200 people from across San Diego County called into a virtual meeting to review the environmental impact report for the Cottonwood Golf Course sand mine project.

“It is a needed commodity — there’s no question of that — but again, just because something is needed doesn’t mean you go get to take that out of anywhere,” said Barry Jantz with the board of directors for Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine.

Jantz says the private developer is looking to abstract sand from the river valley close to the golf course over a 12-year period.

“It’s a particular kind of sand that’s used for road aggregate,” Jantz said. “It’s not the kind of sand you get at the dessert or the beach. Because of the river valley, it’s a finer sand.”

The proposed 12-year plan is only in its beginning stages with community members able to comment on the draft environmental impact report.

Members in the community say they are not just concerned with environmental impacts stated in the report.

“There are people in this area, animals and persons that have had valley fever, and they’re concerned about that really picking up if we have a 12-year mining site,” said Elizabeth Urquhart, who founded Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine.

Urquhart says she was made aware of the project when she received a notice at her door stating the proposed mine project was in the works and would possibly add to the already highly-trafficked Willow Glen Drive.

“People are really concerned about evacuation, Urquhart said. “We’re in a high fire-risk zone, so to be able to evacuate easily, people are concerned about that.”

The next meeting will be February 1 at 7 p.m. at Valle de Oro Community Planning Group.

Community members will need to submit their comments to the county by 4 p.m. on February 28.

FOX 5 reached out to the developer, who emailed this statement:

“Our Cottonwood Cajon team is looking forward to working with the County and the community to address the concerns being raised about the proposed sand mine,” said Maddy Kilkenny on behalf of the Cottonwood Cajon team. “In addition to the proposed temporary mine operation, the property offers a tremendous opportunity to preserve open space, restore the Sweetwater River, and maintain and preserve habitat and vital wildlife corridors.