The Routt County Regional Planning Commission will consider a proposal tonight for a new gravel pit near Milner that could someday generate more than 30,000 truck trips in a year, and yield up to 300,000 tons of mined gravel and rock annually.
The gravel pit is being proposed by Camilletti and Sons Inc. It would be located on about 50 acres a half-mile south of Milner on County Road 179. Tonight's hearing is for a "conceptual special use permit" only. It is the first step in a two-step process that would culminate in the Routt County commissioners considering a final special use permit to allow the mining.
County planner John Eastman said Wednesday that Camilletti and Sons is asking that no caps be placed on its annual production. That would give it similar status to only a handful of gravel pits in the county.
"They are projecting up to 300,000 tons annually (within five years) I don't know if they'll actually reach that," Eastman said.
An annual production of 300,000 tons would place the new pit among the largest in the county; only a few are not capped, Eastman said.
Gravel pits with no caps on production include the Connell pit on U.S. 40 several miles east of Milner, Duckels west of Steamboat Springs, and LaFarge, to the south of Steamboat on Colorado 131, Eastman said.
Camilletti holds a permit for a smaller gravel pit east of Milner, but that 5-year-old operation is close to being mined out, according to a report prepared for Camilletti and Sons by the Yampa-based consulting firm IME.
Eastman said the county would be likely to require that the existing gravel pit be closed and reclaimed in a reasonable time frame as a condition of approving the new pit.
County zoning regulations do not contain language that would allow the Planning Commission to consider whether there is sufficient unmet demand for gravel and other aggregates, before approving the new pit, Eastman said. However, the zoning regulations do allow the commission to take into account the cumulative impacts of more than one gravel pit in an area.
The report by IME indicates the new Camilletti pit would not be mined out until 2016. However, Eastman said county regulations allow gravel pit permits for no longer than 10 years. Should Camilletti get a special use permit from the county, the company could come back for an extension in 2010, he said.
Documents on file at the Routt County Courthouse indicate Camilletti and Sons owns the land for the gravel pit and it is the developer. However, the Camillettis intend to contract with Precision Excavating of Hayden to conduct the mining operation.
The pit would be south of the Yampa River, between the Yampa and Trout Creek.
A report to the Planning Commission prepared by Eastman explained that the trucks leaving the new pit would travel a short distance on C.R. 179 before entering the internal road in the existing gravel pit. That would allow them to access U.S. 40 through the mined-out pit.
"That has the benefit of eliminating truck traffic through Milner and limiting the use of County Road 179," Eastman wrote. "Based on the applicant's proposed maximum production of 300,000 tons annually, (that) would result in 36,718 one-way truck trips per year. During the peak months of September and October, this works out to about 30, one-way truck trips per hour."
Eastman suggested the commission should consider whether the county road is capable of handling the volume and weight of the proposed truck traffic. He also suggests the commissioners should consider at what point acceleration/deceleration lanes should be built on U.S. 40.
The commissioners also will be presented with a report from Elizabeth Miller of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, concerning potential habitat and wildlife impacts of the gravel pit, and how they can be mitigated. The developers are proposing to create ponds when the mining is complete, but Miller contends the proposed banks of the ponds are far too steep to really encourage multiple plant and wildlife communities to flourish there in the future. She is recommending a more gradual slope into the water.
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