Steamboat Springs If the Routt County commissioners follow the request of the Routt County Planning Commission to revoke the permit to run the Duckels Hogue Pit, west of Steamboat, the concrete market could be put in a squeeze.
The Duckels Hogue Pit supplies most of the county with the high-quality gravel needed to make concrete, Routt County Planning Director Caryn Fox confirmed after the planning commission meeting Thursday night.
At that meeting, planning commissioners unanimously voted to recommend the revocation of the special-use permit after information was presented to them that Duckels Construction, Inc. was failing to adhere to permit conditions.
Bruce Daniels, area manager for Lafarge Corporation, said the Duckels Hogue Pit isn't the only place in the county that has the high-quality concrete gravel.
"It's just the best place right now," he said.
A gravel pit that Lafarge Corporation mines produces the high-quality gravel, but not in ample amounts. The company still buys some of Duckels' gravel for its concrete operation, Daniels said. Other pits could be opened to get at the gravel. However, Daniels explained that since the Duckels Hogue Pit is open and close, it is ideal.
"The closer the supply is to the demand, the cheaper it is," Daniels said.
Plus, future pits could be farther away than Duckels' pit, meaning roads could see more wear and tear, Daniels said.
Fred Duckels, owner of the Duckels Construction, Inc., said river bottom gravel is less eroded than gravel from other pits, making it ideal for concrete making.
He said Friday that revoking his permit is, "kind of like shutting a power plant down in California."
"If you just want to create chaos, go right ahead," he said.
However, the planning commissioners' decision to request the revocation of the permit, essentially requesting that the pit be shut down, sent a message that it won't stand for owners of gravel pits not meeting conditions spelled out by the commission.
"I am not going to sit here and try to correct things that shouldn't have been an issue," Planning Commission Chairman Troy Brookshire said at the meeting Thursday. "I recommend to revoke the permit."
Routt County Planning Department staffer John Eastman said just because closing down the pit has an affect on the gravel market, doesn't mean the county should allow Duckels to maintain operating the pit after violating the conditions of the permit.