GUEST COMMENTARY | Neighbors Voice Concern About Proposed Gravel Pit
by Dennis Schultz
Apr 24, 2013 | 1565 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Last November Lone Eagle Land Brokerage sold 556 acres to the Lazy K Bar Land and Cattle Co. LLLP, owned by Jay Jutten.  There was a 3.69-acre parcel with a house on T Road owned by Gail George.  Lone Eagle contacted Ms. George and told her the property surrounding her home had been sold. They then told her the new owners were putting a feedlot next to her home and asked her if she would be interested in selling.  

They made her an offer and she accepted. Lone Eagle then called her back and asked her to move the closing up to the end of 2012.  All of this was done with the intention of removing an opponent and acquiring the home to be the office for Rocky Mountain Aggregate LLC and a Gravel Pit/ Strip Mine Operation.  

In early February Rocky Mountain Aggregate posted the state required Public Notices 40 feet inside of their property line, beyond a no trespassing sign at the very end of T Road, clearly in a location that they hoped would not be seen. A Feb.18 2013 email from Zane Luttrell, the owner and operator of Rocky Mountain Aggregate, to the County's director of Land Use requested that the proposal be rushed and placed on the March Planning Board meeting agenda.  

This land is zoned Agricultural and the application is for a heavy industrial Gravel Pit via a Special Use permit. The main issue when considering a special use permit is compatibility with the area.  The Montrose County Master Plan describes Gravel Pits as "Heavy Industrial;" Agricultural Zoning can be used for Agriculture or Rural/Residential. Luttrellcame to our homeowners and locals meeting, where he admitted to an average of 120 full semi-truckloads of gravel per 11-hour operating day. These trucks of course come to the site empty, so this creates 240 trucks turning and entering T road daily from Hwy 550; one every 3 minutes, just for the gravel portion of the operation. In addition there are concrete and asphalt plants in the proposal, creating even more traffic and pollution.  

He also claims that the operation will not be seen. In order to dig his proposed pit 25 inches deep and 10 acres to hide all of the equipment it would take over 16,000 semi truckloads, or 800 working days before the operation is behind his berm. In addition, the proposal includes the storage of 77,000 tons of topsoil on a four-acre area; imagine this loose, dry soil sitting atop a mesa with our far above average winds.

After hearing the local landowners’ concerns and complaints, Luttrell revised his application to state 1.8 trucks an hour. These unrealistic numbers are just to push the application through and make it more palatable when he had already told us the reality of the volume of the operation. Keep in mind this is the scenic corridor between Montrose and Ouray and a wildlife area. These semi-trucks and the operation itself are located on the ridge above Moonlight Mesa and just west of Hwy. 550.  Many people purchased property and their dream homes with these views and the peaceful nature of the area. The applicant says they want to be "good neighbors." Do you think this operation would make a good neighbor?  

Keep in mind there is an operating gravel pit 1.1 miles south and another permitted gravel pit 1.4 miles south that has never been mined because there is no need for this gravel.  

This monster project does not belong here; it affects hundreds of people negatively, for the good of one family.

If you are concerned or interested in this Special Use Permit Application, please attend the Planning Board Meeting on Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m., at the Montrose County Fairgrounds.  You may also comment to the Land Use Director

Thank you.

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