GarCo upholds Lafarge gravel hauling |

GarCo upholds Lafarge gravel hauling

An afternoon’s worth of testimony boiled down to three minutes of discussion Monday, as the Garfield County Commissioners let stand a special use permit for the Lafarge Mamm Creek gravel pit.

“I see no reason to revoke or suspend the permit,” said Commissioner Larry McCown, less than two minutes after testimony wrapped up.

Doug and Dan Grant, who operate a competing gravel pit just east of the Mamm Creek pit, had charged Lafarge with violating its special use permit, which the county issued last year.

The Grant brothers’ main argument was that Lafarge exceeded the maximum number of trips allowed in and out of the pit in June and July.

David McConaughy, a Glenwood Springs attorney representing Lafarge, said pit operations did not exceed the 200 “average daily trips” allowed in the special use permit.

The two sides calculated “average daily trips” differently, with the Grant brothers coming up with as many as 400 average daily trips on one day in July.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) agreed with the county’s interpretation of state regulations pertaining to average daily trips. It said Lafarge did not exceed the maximum number of trips allowed in its highway access permit.

In a letter to the Grant brothers and Garfield County, Owen Leonard, CDOT’s Region 3 director, also said he saw “no reason” for his department to investigate the gravel pit issue.

“I consider this matter closed,” he wrote.

Defining “average daily trips” proved confusing, because at times, CDOT has counted one 40-foot truck trip as three passenger car trips. The Grant brothers used the passenger car definition.

In explaining her vote to let the special use permit stand, Commissioner Tresi Houpt said the exercise in understanding “average daily trips” wasn’t a waste of time.

“I hope we all learned from this,” she said.

Valley View Village subdivision

At Monday’s meeting, the commissioners also approved the 44-unit Valley View Village subdivision at Battlement Mesa.

They first listened to objections from area residents who questioned the applicant’s ability to build a quality project.

The residents focused on two spec homes the applicant, Grace Homes, is constructing in the area.

Their complaints included foul-mouthed construction workers, workers who camped out on the construction site and urinated on residents’ property, and what they considered “shoddy” construction that would lower Battlement Mesa property values.

“It’s a disgrace,” said Peggy Rawlins, a board member on the Monument Creek and Battlement Mesa Service Association.

Grace Homes president Terry Lawrence apologized to the residents. He said part of the problem came because the two spec homes were the first his Grand Junction-based company has built in Garfield County.

“It’s been a learning curve for us, every step of the way,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the problem employees at the spec homes came because his company didn’t have management staff on-site.

When construction begins at Valley View Village, Grace Homes will have construction managers on the job.

Lawrence said his company plans to begin construction in November, and conclude the residential phase in May of 2007. A “floating phase” will be completed in May of 2009.

Valley View Village will be located on 36 acres at the intersection of Battlement Mesa Parkway and Stone Quarry Road.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

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