Public can hear gravel pit plans |

Public can hear gravel pit plans

Commissioners will be presented with proposal tonight

— Come early. Stay late. Lafarge’s request to mine gravel south of Steamboat Springs is sure to draw a crowd to Centennial Hall tonight.

The Routt County Planning Commission will hear plans for a gravel pit six miles south of town on Colorado Highway 131.

The proposal to bring another pit to the south valley has drawn criticism from nearby homeowners and residents in other parts of the county who feel such a pit does not belong on largely agricultural land.

Lafarge wants to operate five pits within a 128-acre parcel on the More Family Ranch. The operation also would include a permanent concrete plant, seasonal crushing and screening plant, washing plant and asphalt batch plant.

On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council voiced its opposition to the gravel pit in a 7-0 vote. The council, whose vote is merely a recommendation to the county, said the pit would disrupt views from Rabbit Ears Pass.

Gary Tuttle, Lafarge’s director of land and resources, said the city’s recommendation was disappointing, but the company does not plan to change its proposal based on the council’s vote.

Lafarge listened to the county and residents’ concerns about the visual impact of a mining operation in the south valley when it presented conceptual plans for the pit in fall 2001, he said. Revised plans minimize the pit’s visibility from Highway 131 and Rabbit Ears Pass.

The company moved the pit’s main operations from the west end to the southeast end, or far corner of the site, to tuck them into the hillside, Tuttle said.

Concerned Citizens is a local organization lobbying against the Lafarge pit.

The group’s mail campaign encouraged dozens of residents to send postcards with comments on the gravel pit to county officials.

Many of the comments did not support the mining operation.

“I would hope that the room is overflowing,” said Ken Solomon, who opposes the gravel pit, of tonight’s Planning Commission meeting.

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