Gravel pit hearing revisited

Lafarge to continue presenting plan to commissioners

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners will continue its hearing of a proposed gravel pit in the south Yampa Valley tonight.

The three-member board will once again take up the controversial issue at 7 p.m. at Olympian Hall.

Lafarge Corp. is proposing to mine 100 acres of land on the More Ranch, which is six miles south of Steamboat Springs on the east side of Colorado 131.

At the end of the meeting, the board is anticipating to make a recommendation regarding the validity of the project.

"We will give our view if this is an appropriate site," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

The commissioners were expecting to make this decision last week, but the 7 p.m. Nov. 13 meeting lasted five hours. During the meeting, Lafarge gave its pitch on why the proposed gravel pit should be supported.

The commissioners also took public comment, which included opposition presentations by the city of Steamboat Springs and a resident group, Concerned Property Owners in South Valley.

For tonight's meeting, Lafarge will be given a chance to give closing comments and to respond to resident concern.

The Concerned Property Owners in South Valley will also be given the opportunity to give a final presentation to the board.

"It will then be up to the Board of Commissioners to discuss the proposal with planning staff," Stahoviak said.

Regardless of the outcome of tonight's meeting, county officials expect Lafarge to submit a final application to the county's planning department.

If the application is put forward, Lafarge will have to present its proposal in greater detail to the Planning Commission and to the Board of Commissioners.

The heart of the conflict is the visual impact the pit would have on the south valley and the need for gravel on the south side of Steamboat Springs and in the southern part of the county.

Currently, the company has two pits open in the south valley, but those pits are expected to be out of material soon. The county estimates that if growth in the valley remains stable, the More pit would last for about 12 years.

Lafarge officials contend a pit in the south valley is needed to serve customers in the area.

Opponents argue the pit would be against the Steamboat Springs Area Community Plan and the need for gravel in the future is not clear.

Opponents also are concerned about pollution, dust, displaced wildlife and truck traffic.

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