Gravel pit plan raises concerns for neighbors

Neighbors of a proposed gravel pit at 104 29 3/4 Road are concerned that traffic associated with the pit will put a strain on the narrow, two-lane road.

More than 50 people attended a picnic May 22 so they could discuss the proposed pit and sign a petition to protest it.

The Grand Junction Planning Commission may approve a conditional-use permit for the pit June 8. It would be the last step the owners, a local company called the Schooley-Weaver Partnership, would have to take before beginning operations. Work would start “almost immediately” if the permit is approved, according to Vortex Engineering President Robert Jones II.

Vortex is designing the project and representing the owners.

Carol Zehner, who lives on 29 3/4 Road, said it has no gutters or sidewalks and that the neighborhood has lots of families with children who often walk along the road to get to and from a school bus stop.

Zehner said she also worries about her vehicle being clipped as she pulls out of her driveway by one of the 150 trucks that would be allowed to come in and out of the site each day.

Jones said the 150 round-trip figure would represent a “peak scenario.” Another gravel pit in the area uses a different road for access.

He said a 100-foot-high ridge on the 16-acre site would come down during the project. Zehner said she’s worried that would allow odors from the nearby Mesa County Landfill to waft into the neighborhood more easily. Zehner said there already are some days she has to close her windows and stay inside to avoid odors.

She’s also concerned about Orchard Mesa Canal No. 2, which runs through the neighborhood and by the site.

“Our concerns are what will happen to the groundwater or methane gas, if it seeps through,” she said. “Noise, air, water — all of it we’re worried about.”

Jones said the project shouldn’t be as invasive as some others because there will be no storage at the site and workers will not have to use crushers or processing runners to extract gravel because the site “has a lot of natural existing pit run.”

“It’s much quieter than standard gravel pits,” he said. “A lot of the noise and dust are due to types of operations they have with crushers and stockpiling, and they won’t have that with this project.”

The conditional-use permit would last for five years and could be renewed for an additional two. Jones said he expects the project to last no longer than three years, which is the length of a permit the operation has obtained from the Colorado Department of Transportation for access to the road leading to U.S. Highway 50.


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