Approval asked for gravel pit
More than 62 acres of cottonwood and willow trees would need to be removed to make way for a proposed gravel mining and batch plant operation along the Colorado River east of Rifle. The tree-cutting is part of a proposed application scheduled for a public hearing at the next Garfield County Board of Commissioners meeting, at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Courthouse Plaza in Glenwood Springs.Applicants of the proposed Mamm Creek Sand and Gravel Pit are requesting approval of a special use permit to allow extracting and processing operations on the Hunt and Snyder ranches 1.8 miles east of Rifle, north of I-70 and the Garfield County Airport. The gravel would be processed on-site and sold in various forms of concrete and asphalt.The area in question is zoned agricultural/industrial, and uses by right include single-family residences. According to the application, there is presently a wide range of farm and ranch operations in place. Special uses in this zone district include recreation, resort and industrial, which includes extracting and processing.Roaring Fork Resources, Inc. plans to mine 400,000 tons of gravel annually, which, based on a total of 4.6 million tons of mined aggregate, puts the life span for the pit at 11.5 years. Applicants John Martin of Carbondale, Richard Stephenson of Carbondale, Scott Balcomb of Glenwood Springs, and James and Jean Snyder of Rifle, collectively known as Roaring Fork Resources, Inc., are seeking permit approval for a 483-acre area.Roaring Fork Resources proposes to construct a gravel pit operation on two parcels run by Lafarge Corp. The first parcel, on 122 acres, would contain four pits, while the second parcel, on 74 acres, would house two additional pits. Terrill Knight, of Knight Planning Services in Eagle, authored much of the application submitted to the Garfield Planning Department. The application spells out proposed hours of operation, road use, noise impacts, smoke emissions, water use, amount of gravel extraction, size of plant structures and site rehabilitation. In the application, Knight states that the project is located in an area largely commercial and industrial and claims it is “an excellent location for the proposed use.” The application also claims there are few ranches nearby so the potential is minimal on impacts on surrounding property.Pit operators are planning to run the plant from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sundays from March through November. From December through February, operations are being proposed for 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.No new roads are being planned to the site, though existing roads would be improved.The applicants are asking approval for a portable scale and house, a concrete batch plant, an asphalt plant, a concrete products manufacturing area, sand and gravel stockpiling, a portable shop, an office trailer, ditches and a detention pond.Plans call for rehabilitating the area at the end of the operations. Over the life of the pit, Knight estimates that 98.04 acres of lakes would be created through gravel extraction. Applicants note that these areas could provide some habitat for wildlife and for recreation, though salvaged topsoil is not expected to revegetate the land surrounding the lakes for wildlife forage.A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers floodplain study contained in the application concludes, “the proposed Mamm Creek Gravel Pit incorporates the recommendations from multiple review agencies to generate a plan that is conscious of the environment and economically feasible to the client.”The Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology has already approved a construction materials permit for 110 acres of the site, and 73 acres in the future for mining and extracting.Other items on the Sept. 3 county commissioner agenda include:-A discussion with town of Carbondale officials on improvements to Highway 133.-A discussion and action regarding the Panorama Fire rehabilitation contract.-A request to approve a preliminary plan for the Bond subdivision, located one mile north of New Castle.-A request to approve a preliminary plan for the Waterstone subdivision, located approximately three miles north of the Canyon Creek/I-70 interchange.
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