Approval Sought Again For Gravel Pit In Montrose County

Apr 23, 2015

Two years ago, the Montrose County Commissioners denied a special use permit to construct a gravel pit.

The commissioners cited concerns over the location of the haul road, the length of time the asphalt plant would operate and the size of the pit as reasons for denying the permit.

However, the commissioners encouraged the applicant to reapply if they could address those concerns. 

The Montrose County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting Thursday to hear feedback on the proposed Uncompahgre Pit. 

The proposal calls for the construction of a gravel pit, concrete batch plant and asphalt plant on 245 acres, nine miles south of the city. 

A satellite image from Google Earth that shows the site of the proposed Uncompahgre Gravel Pit in Montrose County west of State Highway 550.
Credit Google Earth

The area is zoned for agricultural use meaning the applicant needs a special use permit from the county to build and operate there.

The Montrose County Master Plan says the area is "designated for development in agricultural, agribusiness, low-density residential and planned development uses."

The first application for a permit in 2013 called for a mine with life of 105 years and estimated pit production at 104,000 tons annually. The county commissioners denied that permit.

A recent report prepared by Steve White, the county’s planning and development director, says the revised proposal looks to double production, but shorten the mine’s life to 56 years.

In the report, White recommends the planning commission approve the permit.

The South Valley Alliance is a group of more than 100 residents who live near the proposed pit. They oppose its development.

Barb Bernhardt, with the alliance, says some of her concerns with the project are "air quality issues, view shed issues, dust, asphalt emissions, highway traffic, safety, [and] incompatibility generally speaking on many fronts with surrounding land uses." 

Bernhardt says she feels the pit is an industrial operation and doesn’t fit the criteria for approved activity in an area zoned for agricultural use.

In his report, White says “the site plan conforms to the district design standards” and “public health and safety will be mitigated through regulations set forth by” the county and state.

White declined to comment to KVNF about the report and his recommendation for permit approval.

The public hearing for the application is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday at Friendship Hall in Montrose.