Steamboat Springs After hearing about an hour of public input, members of the Routt County Regional Planning Commission told representatives of the Yampa Meadows gravel pit project that the site was not right to mine 4.4 million tons of gravel over 30 years.
The gravel permit applicants were in the conceptual phase with the county, which results in no official vote but gives each planning commissioner the opportunity to suggest if the proposal should go further through the permitting process.
Each of the nine commissioners said the site, which is just south of Steamboat Springs near the Shop-n-Hop gas station, was not appropriate.
Commission Chairman Troy Brookshire said it is the commission's responsibility to use county, city and area community plans to help make the decision about recommending mining permits.
"In reading those plans, I don't know how this can be shoe-horned in this site," he said.
The site is owned by local business owner Ed MacArthur, who took some heat from community members at the meeting for proposing the mine and for previously building a water-ski lake on the land. However, negative comments were balanced by supporters who claimed that if anyone could build a mine at the site with low impact on the community, MacArthur was the one who could do it.
"I'm either the most hated or respected member of the community tonight," MacArthur said to the commission after the public commented.
He explained his plan is to move forward with a use for the land.
"We are willing to work with any group but the option of pushing it back is out of the question," MacArthur said.
After hearing the commissioners' opinions, Matt Elam, who was jointly proposing the pit with MacArthur as an owner of Elam Construction Inc., said it is unclear if they will go ahead with the July 11 meeting with Routt County Commissioners, which is the next step in the conceptual permit process.
"That's something that we will have to discuss," he said. "We want to figure out what the community can live with and what we can live with."