Planning panel OKs gravel pit; residents miffed

Despite the angry outbursts and indignation from several Orchard Mesa residents, members of the Mesa County Planning Commission on Thursday night approved a conditional use permit for a 75-acre gravel pit, asphalt plant and cement plant at 31 and C Roads.

Commissioners voted 4-3 to approve the proposal, but Mesa County Commissioners will have the final say during a hearing 9 a.m. March 7 in the public hearing room of the old County Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave.

Orchard Mesa residents who spoke out against the proposal said they were not opposed to the already operational Parkerson Construction Inc. gravel mining operation, but they opposed the asphalt and cement plants set to be located there.

The plan calls for an estimated 400 trucks a day, with operations from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at least 6 days a week, for roughly the next 25 years. The company would upgrade three intersections in the area and use four haul routes to accommodate increases in traffic.

Laney Wooster was one of about 30 Orchard Mesa residents who showed at Thursday night’s meeting to oppose the plan. She said the impacts would be unconscionable to residents of the 140 homes within two miles of the operation, because of the smells of the asphalt plant, increased traffic, dust and the overall decrease to the rural quality of life.

With the current gravel mining operation that allows 100 trucks a day on 31 Road, Wooster said she and her husband already “can’t hear each other speak on our front porch.”

Wooster said she had collected signatures of 200 neighbors who also opposed the project and the impacts to the neighborhood.

Tom Benton with Parkerson Construction said the company has been working with Mesa County on the traffic plan for about a year. He said later in the hearing that he is aware of the opposition by neighbors, but believes there is a way for the company to operate and the nearby residents to experience the least impacts possible.

Planning commissioners said they wanted the company to work with neighbors on mitigating those impacts. Parkerson will be required to mitigate noise and dust, create berms and landscaping, and it cannot locate operations within 250 feet of homes.


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