Open Letter to Mr. Frank Holman

Open Letter To Mr. Frank Holman

Dear Mr. Holman,

In March of 2010, you, in concert with ACA Products, submitted an application for a Special Land Use and Mining Permit on “Holman Ranch” at the end of CR 140. The application was for the operation of surface mining and crushing on ten acres. Significant opposition by neighbors and county residents resulted in a May 12, 2010 split vote and consequent “No Decision” by the County Commissioners. On May 20, 2010, you withdrew your application commenting that you were “surprised by how many problems the application created.” The “problems” created were  your neighbors’ and your County’s objections to your application.

On July 15, 2016, you once again, in concert with ACA Products, submitted an application for a Land Use Permit Change for Surface Mining and Crushing on this same “Holman Ranch” at the end of CR140. This new application was to be for an operation nearly three times larger than the original application. County records show that you have consistently articulated the need for gravel with fine clay composition to be made available to the county and on November 14, 2016, the Chaffee County Road and Bridge Department issued a quid pro quo for the available extracted material “to offset costs to repair paved surface on affected County Roads.”

Mr. Holman, your actions have created a maelstrom of civil discontent and objections from both neighbors and county tax payers. In precedent to your applications of 2010 and 2016, never did you embrace the courtesy to address their concerns. Never did you solicit support or comments from those most affected by your wish to alter the character of their neighborhood or the quality of their lives. Never has the community nor the Planning Commission witnessed your vocal presence to address their questions and their concerns. 

Mr. Holman, you know well that your proposed mine to deplete aggregate would lower your neighbor’s air quality, contaminate their views, create abrasive disquiet, degrade their property values, decrease tax revenues to the county and force the county into compliance with future tax burdens. Mining aggregate fails in job growth, fails in tax base enhancement and degrades opportunities for tourism. Economic Development Corporations in every state across the entire nation support this claim.

Mr. Holman, you know well that your proposed mine would erode the residential market position along the corridor of CR 140 and compromise county prospects for future residential growth, depress current market value of homes in proximity to the proposed gravel pit and reduce tax revenue.

Mr. Holman, you are assuredly informed from the Planning Commission meeting of September 13, 2016, that aggregate with clay composition consistent with that available at “Holman Ranch” is available from multiple sources within transport to Salida. You are also aware that entering into a quid pro quo with the County, when you were a County Commissioner, for material for which there was no license to extract is legally reprehensible and in violation of broad public disclosure.

Mr. Holman, you are aware that current efforts to delineate the legal boundaries of CR 140 and assessments of road quality to accept unlimited use by quarry transports does not abrogate the responsibilities of either the Planning Commission nor the Chaffee County Commissioners in their prescribed mission to “assist landowners in using their property and to enforce the adopted Land Use Regulations to protect property owners from incompatible land use”  and that the Chaffee County Land Use Code defines its mission as “promoting the health, safety, quality of life, convenience, order, prosperity and welfare of the present and future inhabitants.”

Mr. Holman, it is now clear that over 90% of the neighbors within one and a half miles of your proposed gravel pit vehemently oppose your request for this land use change. These are your neighbors: they are engineers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, ranchers, pilots, an astronaut, surgeons, retired and employed and all contributing to the tax base of Chaffee County. They are of the consensus that a mining and crushing operation in their neighborhood is incompatible with the future quality and prosperity of their homes and their properties. None dispute your ownership of your mineral resource, nearly all dispute your right to extract this resource for commercial use.

Mr. Holman, both you and your father have a legacy of administrative service to Chaffee County. As a County Commissioner, you were entrusted with safeguarding the planning and the commission of the county. In this recognition, I request that you withdraw your application for Special Land Use and Mining permit. It is inconsistent with the mission of the Chaffee County Land Use Code, inconsistent with The Comprehensive Plan for this Rural Zone and in violation of the interests of the community tax payers. A withdrawal would see those who have personal commitments to you and allegiances of prior kindness be relieved of conflicts of interest. They would accept that you have a greater commitment to the welfare of the community and Chaffee County than the pursuit of personal financial gain at their expense. Your neighbors and the Chaffee County community would be pleased to read your response.

Christopher F. Leydon, Salida

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