Steamboat Springs Ed MacArthur says he is planning to submit a mitigation plan to deal with the large gravel piles on his 89-acre property just south of Steamboat Springs.
MacArthur, owner of Native Excavating, said he was not under pressure to remove the piles from the property, located behind the Phillips 66 Shop 'n' Hop gas station. But he said he wants to "take care of" the gravel, which was excavated to create a water-ski lake, and "see if we can't get this all put behind us."
MacArthur would not disclose his plans for the property, but county officials said that if he wants to remove the gravel piles, he will have to obtain permission from the county.
"If he wants to take the gravel off site, he's going to need a special use permit for mining," county planning official John Eastman said.
Even though MacArthur would only be hauling gravel off his site one time, he would need to go through a process similar to the one Lafarge Corp. has undertaken for its proposed gravel pit south of Steamboat Springs.
The county Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of the Lafarge plan because, in part, it sets out to reduce the visual impact of the gravel pit. MacArthur's removal of the gravel piles would achieve the same goal.
His proposals to develop his 89 acres have raised some controversy, including objections from people who feel that the water-ski lake forced great blue herons to abandon their nests in the area.
"There was a certain amount of conflict associated with this project," said MacArthur, who is the president of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. "But I am a firm believer in personal property rights, and this is my property."
The property was originally proposed to be the site of a residential subdivision around a water-ski lake. However MacArthur never received approval from the county commissioners nor City Council for the proposal in 1997. Instead, be turned his subdivision plan into two homesites on the water-ski lake.
Because state law permits MacArthur to create parcels of 35 or more acres for homesites, he did not have to go through the planning process for the second project proposal.
"Some people think I did some things wrongly or unfairly, but I don't agree with those people," MacArthur said. "I happen to think everything I did was just fine, and I don't have anything to apologize for."
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