Garfield County commissioners delay Cerise gravel pit decision |

Garfield County commissioners delay Cerise gravel pit decision

John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The controversial Cerise gravel pit proposal near Carbondale failed to win approval from the Garfield County commissioners on Monday, and the proposal will be taken up in a continued hearing on July 5.

At the next public hearing, the commissioners expect to hear more about certain aspects of the controversy.

The new information, requested by Commissioners Mike Samson and Tom Jankovsky, regards whether the operators of the nearby Blue Pit, operated by Western Slope Aggregates, can put together a coordinated management plan with the operators of the proposed Cerise pit, which is to be operated by Lafarge.

The proposal calls for Lafarge, which runs several other pits in the county, to extract gravel from a roughly 65-acre portion of the Cerise ranch.

The Cerise ranch is located at the intersection of Colorado Highway 82 and Garfield County Road 103, the Crystal Springs Road.

The proposed Cerise pit is across the county road, and on the same side of Highway 82 as the existing Powers gravel pit, also run by Lafarge but due to be closed and reclaimed over the next year or two. It is next door to Delores “Dee” Blue’s ranch, which also is the site of a gravel pit.

“The Cerises should have an opportunity to mine their gravel,” said rancher John Martin, who lives on Thompson Creek Road.

“They shouldn’t have the obligation to keep their place green so you folks can look at it,” Martin said, looking directly at a gathering of Missouri Heights residents opposed to the gravel pit proposal.

The opponents, who dominated the public hearing, argued that they have endured years of dust, noise and traffic hassles associated with two gravel pits operating in the neighborhood – the Powers pit and the nearby Blue Pit. Both have been in operation for decades.

And, some neighbors mentioned, they will have to endure the impacts of living near a gravel pit for an unknown number of years to come, after the county commissioners approved an expansion of the Blue pit, which is situated along Highway 82 about a mile east of the proposed Cerise pit.

They strongly opposed the county’s approval of two side by side pits.

“The cumulative effects have not been addressed,” said Ernie Kolar, a resident of the Wooden Deer subdivision perched just uphill from the Cerise ranch.

Samson and Jankovsky asked for more information about noise and dust impacts, hours of operation at the two pits, and a look at the cumulative impacts and how to best mitigate against those impacts.

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