Gravel pit rejected by planning commission

Grand Junction planning commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-2 to reject a permit that would have allowed gravel extraction near an Orchard Mesa residential neighborhood.

Commissioners Gregory Williams, Patrick Carlow, Richard Schoenradt and Rob Burnett said they voted against the permit because they were concerned about safety issues surrounding the gravel pit, which would have been located at 104 29 3/4 Road. The permit would have allowed 150 trucks to make daily trips to and from the site, using 29 3/4 Road, which is two lanes wide and has little to no shoulder.

Children have a small dirt area along the road to wait for a school bus, neighbor Melanie Rockow told the commission. That space is smaller when its snowy outside, she said. Finding a place to stand or play away from trucks coming in and out of the site on 29 3/4 Road may be nearly impossible, Rockow said.

“I hope the safety and quality of life issues aren’t sold to make somebody else rich,” she said.

Project representatives played phone tag with School District 51’s transportation manager, trying to see whether the bus stop could be moved to a safer location, according to Vortex Engineering President Robert Jones II, a representative for the project’s owners, Schooley-Weaver Partnership. Jones said 29 3/4 Road was selected as a better option than using 30 Road because 30 Road had a steeper slope for trucks to travel on.

Jones said Tuesday he also would have been willing to change the hours the pit would operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to better accommodate families.

These actions convinced Commissioner Mark Abbott to support the project. He and Commissioner Ebe Eslami voted for the permit.

“Although I wouldn’t want this in my neighborhood,” it complies with city standards, Abbott said.

“On property rights alone, I’ll have to vote for this measure,” he said.

Nearly 50 people attended Tuesday’s meeting. None testified in support of the permit.


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