Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Steamboat Springs A local sand and gravel company's request that Routt County extend the operation of its mine has raised concern from nearby landowners who feel an extension could bring long-term visual impacts and increase traffic.
Connell Resources Inc. is asking the county for a 10-year extension on its special-use permit to mine gravel at the Thompson Pit, which is about seven miles east of Steamboat Springs on the northeast side of U.S. 40.
The question is before the Routt County Planning Commission tonight.
When the county approved a special-use permit for Connell in 1992, estimates showed the pit could produce enough raw materials to continue operating up to 19 years. The permit allowed for the use of the gravel pit, crusher, concrete batch plant and asphalt batch plant.
Based on yearly average sales of 200,000 tons of gravel, raw materials in the pit should last for another three to five years, although decline in construction activity could prolong the pit's operation.
Connell Resources would like to extend the life of the pit by bringing in rock from other gravel pits to use in its asphalt plant, wash plant and, potentially, a concrete plant that was never constructed but is permissible under the original permit.
Gravel importation would allow the company to fully utilize resources at hand, such as sand.
But outside gravel sources mean traffic along U.S. 40 will likely increase as trucks from other pits haul their loads to the Thompson Pit.
The Routt County Planning Commission will also consider a church's request to expand its facilities.
Euzoa Bible Church sits on 28 acres about 1.5 miles north of the Steamboat Springs city limits.
The existing church building, however, can no longer meet the demands of a growing congregation.
Church leaders are asking that the county amend the church's current conditional-use permit to allow for the future construction of a new building in its Strawberry Park location.
An organization committed to controlling growth within Strawberry Park would like to see the church expand elsewhere.
The Strawberry Park Group opposes the construction of a new church building on the grounds that growth disrupts the rural nature of Strawberry Park.
Millie Beall, president of the Strawberry Park Group, said the organization does not wish to undermine the church's mission to grow but would rather see it carry out that mission within an urban area.
"We believe they have a very noble mission," Beall said. "They have a very successful church. We would like to support them."
Ron Pollard, an elder at Euzoa Bible Church who is coordinating efforts to obtain the amendment, said increased membership makes it difficult for the church to comply with attendance and traffic limits set by the current conditional-use permit.
Combined Saturday and Sunday attendance at Euzoa currently numbers 350 people, he said. A new building would seat 400 people.
The Routt County Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. in the commissioners' hearing room.