Pit hearing postponed

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— The county commissioners' meeting on a controversial gravel pit located south of Milner has been tabled to allow the petitioners and the public to read a new report. The report deals with how groundwater and cottonwoods will be affected on the site.

The report came in too late to be properly analyzed before tonight's scheduled hearing.

"It's important that the citizens, planning staff and petitioners get to look at it and study it," said Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak.

The new study makes eight different recommendations to save cottonwood trees and preserve wetlands, while still allowing a gravel pit. Some of the recommendations were previously suggested by planning staff.

The site is located one-half mile south of Milner in an area between the confluence of the Yampa River and Trout Creek on County Road 179. Rancher Frank Camilletti and Precision Excavating are proposing a 50-acre site that would produce up to 180,000 tons of gravel a year.

Under the new study's proposals, Camilletti would lose some of his proposed 50 acres.

SourceWater Consulting suggested maintaining a 100-foot buffer from the drip-line of surrounding cottonwoods.

Camilletti had wanted a 50-foot setback or less, saying stopping the pit at the drip line would have been sufficient.

The consultants also suggested a 100-foot buffer between the pit and the adjacent wetlands.

"It is obvious that the water table will be lowered extensively below the existing wetlands bordering the proposed mining operation," the report states.

In light of information like this, SourceWater and its lead scientist Jord Gertson recommend more testing on groundwater levels than what Camilletti's consultants had suggested.

The new study calls for biweekly testing on groundwater table fluctuations. Camilletti had wanted a monthly test done.

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