Steamboat Springs The Routt County Regional Planning Commission voted 6-1 early Fridya morning to recommend the approval a special use permit for a gravel pit south of Steamboat Springs, despite an hour of public comment against the proposal.
Lafarge Corp. was the petitioner for the gravel mine, which will be on Fran Werner's property, located on the southwest corner of Colorado 131 and Werner Lane.
It's estimated the new gravel mine has 7 million to 10 million tons of gravel reserves with a 23- to 33-year life span.
A reclamation plan for two existing pits in the area was included in the new proposal.
Property owners in the area lined up to speak against the deal.
"It's not consistent with Routt County's plan for the south valley," Rick John told the commission.
It was the second time Lafarge has gone in front of the county planning board.
Last November, the Planning Commission voted 9-0 to recommend denial of the new pit because it didn't meet with county standards for cumulative impacts.
County planner John Eastman said that one problem was that first plan would have had 75 acres of land exposed. That's too much, he said. The impact on the earth was too great, causing the pit to be more visible from U.S. 40.
Also, there were no plans included for the closure and reclamation of the other two pits run by Lafarge. Planning commissioners noted in November that having three large pits open at one time wasn't consistent with the Routt County Master Plan.
Lafarge's revised proposal chipped the new pit down to 45 acres of land being disturbed at one time. About 75 acres of land will be used in the gravel mine, but not simultaneously, Eastman said.
Dirt berms will be built 200 feet from Colo. 131 and 100 feet from the adjacent property to hide the pit.
Plus, information on the eventual closure and reclamation of the north and south pits were included. According to the new plan, a 11.4-acre north pit, which isn't being mined but is home to a concrete and asphalt plant, will be closed by 2005. The south pit processes gravel from 106 acres and will be closed by 2002.
Those changes made a good impression on the commission.
Planning Commission Chairman Troy Brookshire addressed the issue of a new gravel pit in the south Yampa Valley going against community plans.
"I really believe if gravel pits are not allowed in the south Steamboat plan it would say that. I believe it says you must mitigate," he said. "It doesn't say no."
Steve Wood, vice president of Lafarge Corp.'s western division, was open to work with the county to reduce the visual impacts.
"There is an impact, but we are mitigating it as much as we can," he said.
The new pit is set to open in the summer of 2002.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail email@example.com