Planners: OK pit on 26 conditions
The Garfield County planning staff has recommended approval, with 26 conditions, of the Mamm Creek gravel pit southeast of Rifle.But a hearing on the proposal before the Garfield County commissioners Tuesday lasted only a few minutes after the attorney for the applicants asked for more time to work with county planners on the conditions.Attorney Tim Thulson appeared on behalf of applicants John C. Martin and Richard Stephenson of Carbondale, Scott Balcomb of Glenwood Springs and Jim and Jean Snyder of Rifle, operating under the name Roaring Fork Resources, Inc.The commissioners continued the hearing until Oct. 14.The proposed gravel pit and processing plant would be located on 110 acres about two miles east of Rifle, between the Interstate 70 frontage road and the Colorado River. An additional 73 acres could be mined in the future, but expansion would require a separate special use permit.The entire parcel covers approximately 484 acres, including 62 acres of cottonwood and willow trees that must be cut down to make room for operations along the Colorado River, according to the application.The applicants plan to mine 400,000 tons of gravel a year, mining the estimated 4.6 million tons of aggregate at the site over 11.5 years.The area is zoned agricultural/industrial. Special uses in this zone district include extracting and processing.The planning staff recommended approval of the special use permit, but suggested 26 conditions to regulate the industrial operation. They include:-No more than 200 vehicle trips to or from the property on any day, on average.-Hours of operation limited to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays from March through November. Operating hours from December through February would be 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.-All activities within the gravel pit must comply with state noise standards. -Clarification of provisions for perpetual maintenance of the I-70 frontage road with the Colorado Department of Transportation.-A flood mitigation plan to deal with the effects of gravel pit berms along the Colorado River, which could create deeper, faster water at times of high runoff.-A plan to show compliance with county zoning resolutions to prevent waste material from the pit being swept downstream during a flood.-A plan to direct and limit outdoor lighting to avoid glare and safety conflicts with motorists on I-70 and pilots using the Garfield County Airport.-A plan to mitigate wildlife hazards and habitat changes resulting from the mining.Gravel pit opponent Doug Grant said he favored the continuance, but he believes the application should go to the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission for an in-depth review.”That’s a good place to iron (conditions) out,” Grant said.Grant also said new information from the applicant should be submitted well before the Oct. 14 meeting.”I need extra time to review it,” he said.The gravel pit has already received permits from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.The commissioners took action Tuesday on two other planning items:-John and Susanne Clark received preliminary plan approval for up to eight residential units on a 57-acre parcel north of Highway 82 at 3523 County Road 103 near Carbondale. The subdivision approval calls for four single-family units, and allows accessory dwelling units at each one.-The Bond subdivision received preliminary plan approval. It is located one mile north of New Castle off County Road 245. The plan allows two building lots of two acres each, on a total of four acres. The applicants are Darrel, Damon and Page Bond.
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Since Colorado’s not yet in the clear of the global pandemic, the Garfield School District Re-2 is heading into next year with a relatively frugal budget.