Pit meeting lasts until midnight
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Board of Commissioners Tuesday said it would postpone making comments about a proposed gravel pit and concrete plant on the More Ranch until next week because presentations and public comment lasted until midnight.
The three-member board met Tuesday night at Olympian Hall to receive input and comments on the proposal as part of the conceptual permitting process for the pit. Lafarge Corp. is proposing to mine 105 acres on the More Ranch in the south valley.
At the beginning of the meeting, Board Chairwoman Nancy Stahoviak said she thought people were unable to make clear decisions after 10:30 p.m., which would justify adjourning early.
Olympian Hall was packed with interested community members for and against the proposed pit. Lafarge and More Ranch owner Gonk Jacobs gave presentations for the pit, while the city of Steamboat Springs and the Concerned Property Owners in South Valley had their own presentations against the proposal. Each group went over the issues brought to light during the Oct. 18 Routt County Planning Commission meeting.
The core conflicts are the pit’s visual impact on the south valley and the need for gravel in Routt County, specifically the south side of Steamboat Springs and rural portions of the county south of the city.
Gary Tuttle, director of land for Lafarge, told commissioners that according to county figures, there are five years of gravel reserves in the valley if two active pits west of Steamboat receive permit extensions next year. He said he believes those numbers justify keeping a pit in the south valley.
“We are in a critical situation to handle gravel reserves,” he said. “We want to stay in the south valley because we have been there for 25 years and that’s where our customers are.”
Proponents of Lafarge, a company that owns a gravel pit in the south valley that soon will be out of material, also say keeping a pit just south of Steamboat will reduce the number of trucks carrying gravel and concrete through town.
Opponents of the pit say it would be against the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan a development plan drafted five years ago if the mining permit were granted. They also say future need for gravel in the valley and where it will go is not clear and doesn’t justify another gravel pit in the south valley.
“Putting a gravel pit at that place and this time seems to be fantastically inappropriate,” said Attorney John Grassby, who represents the Concerned Property Owners in South Valley.
Opponents of the pit add they are concerned about pollution, dust, displaced wildlife, seven and a half acres of wetlands that would be destroyed, the effect on the water table and the increased danger of trucks turning in and out of the mine during morning fogs.
Commissioners adjourned the meeting at midnight after staying relatively tight lipped about their thoughts on the proposal. They will discuss the proposal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Olympian Hall.
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