Lafarge may get more time

Supporters will ask commissioners to postpone hearing

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— The proponents of a controversial gravel pit will ask county commissioners to postpone a scheduled July hearing until Sept. 16.

Members of the public are invited to today's 4:15 p.m. hearing at the Routt County Courthouse but won't be allowed to speak.

"All we're considering is a postponement to a later date, and we will not take public comment," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Monday.

County officials have received more than 1,000 pieces of correspondence regarding the plan.

Lafarge West Inc. is proposing to develop the gravel pit on 128 acres of land close to Colorado Highway 131 about five miles south of Steamboat Springs.

The commissioners in late April tabled a decision on the pit until July 22.

As recently as May 12, Lafarge confirmed its interest in proceeding with the July hearing, but on May 20, the company's Gary Tuttle informed County Planner John Eastman that Lafarge would prefer to wait until it knows how the federal government views the potential impacts of the gravel pit and a related concrete plant on wetlands on the site.

"After consideration, Lafarge has decided to request that the July 22 hearing be continued until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made its determination on our 404 permit application on River Valley Resource," Tuttle wrote.

"The COE has jurisdiction over impacts to wetlands on the site and will address this issue in its decision."

Lafarge has removed its plans for an asphalt plant from the proposal since the commissioners first tabled the matter. At that time, the commissioners wanted to learn more about potential air pollution from the batch plants and air flow models that would show how that pollution might travel through the valley.

They also sought more information about the legal implications of moving an existing irrigation ditch away from the gravel pit.

Stahoviak said this week that Lafarge's plan to take the asphalt plant out of the project would eliminate the need for the company to hire an independent consultant to conduct the air current study.

Stahoviak said she could not anticipate a reason why the postponement sought by Lafarge would not be granted today.

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