Steamboat Springs People who have something to say about a proposed gravel pit in the south valley can say it tonight at Centennial Hall.
Routt County commissioners will hear plans for a gravel pit six miles south of town on Colorado Highway 131.
The meeting is the public's last chance to testify on the proposed mining operation before the board makes a final decision.
Lafarge is asking for permission to operate five pits within a 128-acre parcel on the More Family Ranch, as well as a permanent concrete plant, seasonal crushing and screening plant, washing plant and asphalt batch plant that would run on the site during the construction season.
The proposal to bring another pit to the south valley has drawn criticism from nearby homeowners and residents in other parts of the county who feel a pit does not belong on largely agricultural land.
The Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Planning Commission have already reviewed Lafarge's plans and made recommendations to the board.
The council recommended the board not approve the pit last month because it wanted to preserve the view of the south valley from Rabbit Ears Pass. The Planning Commission recommended granting Lafarge's request earlier this month, but its support came with several conditions.
Planning commissioners were not unanimous in their recommendation. Five commissioners approved the plan; the three commissioners who voted against the proposal said they could not endorse it even with stipulations added to address their concerns.
Dissenting commissioners argued that area plans indicate the south valley is valued for its open space and agricultural heritage, and warrants protection from industrial uses.
While the three commissioners recognized Lafarge's efforts to alleviate air, noise and visibility impacts, they could not go along with the suggested setting.
The Planning Commission recommended protecting the parcel from development after Lafarge reclaimed the pit in 12 to 15 years.
County commissioners will take earlier recommendations into consideration when it makes its decision, but they have the final say.
People who show up to the hearing shouldn't count on a decision tonight.
The board acknowledged Monday the possibility of postponing its decision if public comment drags on too long.
Closing public comment and tabling its decision until a later date would give the commissioners time to reflect on what was said and get answers to any unanswered questions.
The board already has plenty of facts and opinions to weigh. Comments about the gravel pit have flooded the commissioners' mailboxes, phones and e-mail.
County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said due to the large volume of correspondence, Monday at noon was the cutoff for all letters, phone calls, faxes and e-mails regarding the board's decision on the proposed gravel pit.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall.