ACA/Holman gravel pit application raises questions

ACA Products is currently moving through the permitting process to operate a 10-acre gravel pit near the West end of County Road 140 on land owned by County Commissioner Frank Holman.  Gravel pits are one of the many operations which are both a necessary component for our community’s sustainability as well as having the potential to harm the environment and our sustainability if improperly executed.  This is not unique, nearly everything we do harbors a cost versus benefit balance — environmentally, financially or even emotionally.
This current application has raised several questions within the community on a variety of fronts.  Perhaps the most unsettling question brought to my attention is the conflict of interest of having an application with a potentially large financial gain for one of our three County Commissioners pass through numerous reviews and approvals by county staff. An application which eventually will be approved or denied by the other two commissioners.  Can we be assured the entire process is transparent and all parties are acting objectively without bias or fear of retribution?
The area in question is zoned RC – Recreational. The section of the Chaffee County Zoning Resolution on RC zoning states “It is the intent of these regulations to allow for a variety of recreational uses while exercising controls that will preserve the natural environment.”  Since mining is not included as a permitted use of RC zoned land, we must ask, is this truly worth making the exception?  Are there alternative sites to obtain this material which are zoned appropriately?
Environmentally there are even more questions. For example, has the ground water been adequately studied?  To protect subsurface water, excavation is not allowed within 20 vertical feet of subsurface water.  The evidence used to satisfy this requirement in the Planning and Zoning Staff Review (March 24, 2010) is the water level at a single private well nearly a quarter mile away.  Does this provide an adequate indication of water levels on the proposed site?
This application has stirred emotion in many, as it comes on the heels of the Commissioners’ controversial decision allowing Nestle to remove water from our valley for its bottled water business.  Understandably it also engages a “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) sentiment among not only the nearby residents of Weldon Creek, but also those which enjoy the views and recreational opportunities of the adjacent areas.
I’m not asking if we need a new gravel pit.  I’m asking if this is an appropriate location?  Are there more suitable alternative locations? Is the approval process being handled objectively and with integrity?  Hopefully these and many other questions will be answered before this application goes before the Commissioners on April13, because approved or denied, we all want to have confidence in the process.

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

42 Responses to “ACA/Holman gravel pit application raises questions”

  1. Chris Cavalea

    My husband and I agree with you about the conflict of interest. We live in Weldon Creek and see that there already is activity in the gravel pit, permit or no permit. The roads inside of Weldon Creek are being used and have already show signs of stress from the mud, rocks, and other debris left by Mr. Holman. When we purchased and built our home in Weldon Creek, our intentions were to be surrounded by the serenity and beauty of nature not the noise and dust of industry. I am hoping the other 2 commisioners do their job as they should and do not fall prey to the "Good Ole Boys" scenario.

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  2. Mary Roberts

    I'm concerned about the proposed "grinding" of gravel and the possibility of silica dust created. We had this problem in LaPorte, CO 20 years ago. At first we only heard the grinder noise at night (if you grind at night you can get around opacity/air pollution rules), then area horses were diagnosed with silicosis.

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  3. Tom Karnuta

    Weldon Creek?

    All of what, three houses with square footage way to large for the amount of people inhabitating them, all within the confines of a gated fort. That's about as ungreen as you can get in my book. As you know the roads in Weldon Creek were a mess before the first foundation of the first house ever went in.

    Sounds to me like it's just another case of "I already have my home in the mountains, now I don't want anyone else".

    Having local sources of agregate are important to maintain the infrastructure of our community and keep our maintance costs in check.

    However, operating without a permit, if true, in another issue.

    Tom

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  4. Chris Cavalea

    Well, I am not really familiar with my neighbors of Weldon Creek or their habits, so if your interpretation of them is true, then we ARE a new breed to Weldon Creek.

    Our family of 3, lives in a modest size home built of ICF concrete with plans to add solar this summer, and yes we drive a Prius. But you are right, coming from Chicago, we do enjoy our space. Like I said before; When we purchased and built our home in Weldon Creek, our intentions were to be surrounded by the serenity and beauty of nature not the noise and dust of industry.

    I

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  5. Tom MacKelvie

    The planning commision has asked the applicant to consider an alternate access route directly to Hwy 50 at Weldon creek (not the subdivision - the creek) instead of using CR140 / CR140&CR250 to either Hwy 50 at the inersection with CR250, or Hwy 285 & CR140 intersection. They have proceeded with building access to CR140 as originally stated and applied for with the state mining permit, which has already been aproved at that level. As I understand it though, this road aparently is not considered part of the 10 acre gravel pit mine - but for some reason one to Hwy 50 would be, and it seems acreage disturbed to build that one would have to be subtracted from the 10 acre pit area.

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  6. Tom MacKelvie

    Also, who gets to pay for the additional road maintenence?
    The county has no "impact fee" or collection of a "royalty" percentage system is place.
    At the Mar 30th meeting, Road & Bridge asked for $10,000 to be potentially paid on an annual basis. The applicant didn't think that was fair as compared to say, for example, a contractor working in the area, so they didn't think they should pay anything.

    And how about the road standards. Or improvements. One point on the lower corner of CR140 crosses a large ditch, on a down graded 90° curve, with a grove of pinion blocking site. The road is only 18 feet wide edge to edge of chipseal. How is a school bus going to pass a truck on that? Who takes the liability for something like that?

    As was stated by the author, there are a lot of people that will be impacted by this, not just the ones in Weldon Creek. I count a rough estimate of 150-200 parcels that use CR140 & CR250 above the state highways. Then there are user groups, bicyclists, equestrian, walkers and joggers, children... all basically confined to the 21 foot wide road since there are no paths or much of a shoulder.

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  7. Monarchviews

    Well since nobody wants it we will just use heavy trucks just like nestle with their water to haul aggregate in from other areas. We can burn more diesel, belch more smoke, create more traffic problems, give more work to firms from the front range, etc. Sounds hypocritical to me.

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  8. Ed Rogers

    As a retired precious metals geologist living on County 210 I must put my dimes worth into this. A dime made from metal mining.

    First, my sincere thanks to Steve Stucko for a well balanced and informed piece.

    Tom Karnuta is correct. If the ACA operation near Welden Creek does not have a permit and is operating that is a whole different question. It should be shut down by Chaffee County until permits are issued. Any mining operation must have the proper permits. We had a gravel operation on 210 where the Friend Ranch development now is. It did not have any permits or County approval. We got that operation shut down. If it had the permits, it would not have been shut down.

    With that said it is now time to ask a serious question.

    Do the residents of Welden Creek or for that matter those in the county want growth? Do you want your roads maintained? Do you want new homes built? Do you drive cars or use a computer?. If you do then you must have mining. We have a saying in the geological profession: "If you cannot grow it you must mine it". That statement speaks volumes.

    I cannot tell you the number of times I went before a board with a proposal for a precious metals mine. These proposals had the required data, the mines would have been well run, reclamation would have taken place and lots of well paying jobs would have resulted. They were often turned down because no one wanted the mine in their back yard and politics won out.

    I always found it ironic that those opposing a mine would drive to the meetings in cars made of metal and on roads built with aggregate, communicate on computers with metals from mining, wear gold jewelry, live in homes made from products produced by mining, ride bicycles from the lightest weight metals and composites those were also ridden on roads and trails built with aggregates.

    You cannot just tell a mining operation to go elsewhere. (to another persons back yard) Geological processes put the deposits where they are.

    If ACA meets all of the requirements for this permit they should be given the permit to operate and the county should monitor the operation. If ACA falls out of compliance, shut the operation down until requirements are completed. I have read the requirements requested and the County has not taken this request lightly.

    As for taxpayers paying for road repairs. ACA is being required to set aside funds for road maintenance and repairs. Also, how many developments have gone into rural areas where the developer did not put one dime into the new roads and maintenance of those roads? Development has never paid its way. Mining does pay its way and the ACA operation will produce good paying jobs for ten years.

    No one wants any type of mine close by. But if you do not have mines you do not have the minerals needed for civilization and that includes well maintained roads. It is that simple. Permitted mining can be done correctly and Chaffee County needs the aggregate for roads.

    Ed Rogers

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  9. Wade Bigall

    As a landowner in Weldon Creek, but not yet a resident, I must admit to some personal bias on this issue. Honestly though, EVERYONE has personal bias on issues such as these.

    Tom, why the hatred against Weldon Creek and it's inhabitants? I don't view my future home as a "gated fort", simply a different type of development than the area is used to seeing. Bringing 60 plus potential couples or families to the area is a good thing - and if they have above average means this is even a better thing. What better way to see Salida grow and evolve than an influx of people who pay taxes, get involved with the community, and have disposable income?

    Ed is correct that nobody wants mines in their back yard but everyone wants the material that mines generate. However when the County Commissioner stands to benefit from the operation of the mine, and his associates are the ones who approve the application, then the appearance is that the best interests of the community are not being represented.

    Also, the notion that the gravel pit will produce good paying jobs for 10 years is a bit nebulous. How many jobs does a small gravel pit really create, and for how long? I have many gravel pits in the area I reside, and after the first few years of operation they all operate intermittently and finally become an eyesore and fall into disrepair. The pit will likely make it more difficult to sell lots in Weldon Creek, which would delay the addition of future PERMANENT residents to the county, which are the true source of lasting economic growth and job creation.

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  10. Ed Rogers

    Thanks for the dialogue Wade. Nice to see some honest and intelligent feedback on what is a very controversial issue and one that is played out all over our country.
    Yes, I may have been a "bit nebulous" on the jobs front. It is not a major operation and certainly not a mine union wage. Mining at every level is one of the most hazardous occupations in this country. However, with the present economic conditions in the county and the need for the product, those jobs may be the difference between a family staying in the county and having to move elsewhere.
    Commissioner Holman cannot take part in the decision to approve or not approve the permit. In a true transparent government he cannot influence the decision in any manner. If the procedure is a transparent one then the best interest of the community can be served. That transparency can be assured with a packed meeting room every time the gravel pit is on the agenda, with those in attendance making themselves heard and with sincere intelligent questions being asked by everyone in attendance.
    Your last line gets to the true issue with regards the addition of future PERMANENT residents which are the true source of lasting economic growth and job creation. Where do you put the operations that insure the material for that lasting economic growth? Those operations will always be in someones back yard. This is the problem that the mining industry faces, meeting that demand.
    Maybe Steve Stucko's column on this particular gravel pit can lead to an honest dialogue on the issue of mining in the county and the need for that mining.
    Ed Rogers

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  11. C. Evans

    II would like to ask what will happen if there is a tie between the two commissioners voting on this issue? (I assume Frank Holman can't vote on this). What would happen in this instance?
    This looks like a done deal before it even goes to a final vote. It scares the **** out of me.

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  12. Ed Rogers

    Hello C. Evans. If the two commissioners split then the application does not pass. You must have two yes voted even when a third commissioner cannot vote.
    With regards "a done deal". No matter what side of an issue you are on the only time a done deal occurs is when the public does not show up at the meetings. Voter involvement in force on any county issue is required to preserve transparency. If you have concerns then show up and voice them. Bodies before the commissioners translates into votes and that translates into re-election.

    Ed Rogers

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    • Tom MacKelvie

      Well... looks like that's NOT the way it works.
      They are in executive session now with the county attorney. Sounds like as long as commissioner Holman has filed "X" number of hours ahead of time with the Secretary of State notifying them of his conflict of interest... Guess who gets to break the tie?

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      • Ed Rogers

        Hi Tom,
        Thanks for the follow up on this point. My information came directly from the County and now via your message I find out that even those working in Planning and Zoning are not aware of certain "tactics". This tactic blind-sided everyone. It seems the longer Mary and I live here the more disgusted we become with the way government is carried out. Well meaning citizens can pack a meeting and still there is a lack of transparency. I am sorry this has happened. Remember one thing, there is still the voting booth.
        Ed

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  13. Susan J. Tweit

    Steve, thanks for the thoughtful article. That it's spurring comments and dialogue is a good thing. It sounds like people need to let the County Commissioners, Holman included, know their concerns. Yup, we need gravel operations, but the fact that is located on a parcel zoned as recreation and which is owned by a sitting CC raises big flags for me.

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  14. Tom MacKelvie

    There were some other things that came up at the Mar 30th Planning meeting that were not mentioned or addressed in the documents on the county web page.
    And there were motions made and passed on a long list of items to be looked into.
    Unfortunately, the minutes of the meeting, which list all these things, cannot be released to the public until they have been approved - which does not come until the next Planning commision meeting on April 27th. Which is two weeks after this goes before the commisioners where they could act on it, or send it back to Planning to allow them to finish their job.

    Another unfortunate thing is that the "press bench" sits empty these days. It wasn't too long ago that it was filled with the likes of Ron from the Mountain Mail, Patrick from the radio station and Ed from Colorado Central.

    What are some of the things the county can or should impose on the applicant? They are charged with the "Health, safety and welfare" of all residents. What do other counties do in these situations?

    Changes in the permit granting period - shorter term at first to see how the contractor performs in accordance with county requirements
    Restrictions on:
    hours of operation
    times of year certain parts of the process can be done
    Maximum number of trucks per day
    Duration of the project could be reduced to 3 years instead of ten
    Speed limits and traffic warning signals
    Road standards
    Dust and noise limitations
    and more...

    It was assumed that ACA would haul all material, but they let it be known they wanted this location to be a commercial sales point. This causes the estimated truckloads that Road and Bridge came up with to be completely under estimated. That estimate was aproximately 20,000 loads. <-- that's one way BTW. So we need to double that since each truck goes IN and then comes back OUT.

    And what about this dust issue? ACA says they will use water to keep it down. When asked how much they estimated 3 truckloads per day (4,000 gal tanker). And when asked where they'd get it from... they said they'd truck it down from their B.V. site. That's 3 trucks more per day. If it's estimated this to be done 200 days per year, which is a number that many seem to use to estimate the number of workdays per year, that puts it at potentially 6,000 truckloads. Of water. From one end of the county, to another. Looks like 70 - 75 acre feet of water to me. A significant chunk.

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  15. Louella Pizzuti

    I guess I really don't understand zoning. I thought the planning and zoning process was supposed to determine what was appropriate land use and that we were then supposed to let those guidelines determine what we did and where. In my limited understanding, I assumed zoning was supposed to help us foster growth while preserving the things that make people, plants and animals want to live here. But if we're considering mining in an area zoned for recreation, my assumptions are way off.

    Don't get me wrong, I do understand that we need the things we dig for. Our presence here isn't made magically green/sustainable/superior when we buy organic or local; we have a tremendous (often hidden) impact on the earth. I just don't understand why we bother zoning something if the zoned use ends up being pushed aside.

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  16. C. Evans

    Ed, thank you for the clarification. You are so right about the public standing up for their beliefs.............

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  17. Tom MacKelvie

    Why would ACA and Holman proceed with building their access road, that surely is an expensive investment, with total disregard for any other possible way to make this project work than the way they planned it, if they weren't very, very, very sure it's a done deal?

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  18. Wade Bigall

    Thanks to Tom M for continuing to bring up excellent points. Would we not need another zoning variance to establish a retail operation in a recreationally zoned area, or does this fall under the commercial variance? Tom's last point is his best; as he rightly points out that undertaking the access road project before the variance is granted is quite suspicious.

    Louella's take on this issue is also very relevant. If I find a copper deposits on my homesite, can I then apply for a variance to open a copper mine in a residential area? After all, everyone needs copper and it's gotta come from somewhere......

    Finally, I think all the discussion about how the gravel is needed for the county, and how it helps growth is completely missing the point. Frank Holman is not developing this gravel pit for the good of the county, he is doing it for the good of his wallet. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I think that it should be stated as such, and this project not be painted as anything else.

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  19. C. Evans

    Good points raised, folks. A few more........
    The ACA trucks going to & from the "proposed" site right now (on CR 140 from 285) are travelling at high speeds........what will be done mitigate this? What about the damage sure to be done to the already too narrow and pot-holed county road? Who will pay for the repairs?

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  20. Laura Yarbrough

    Money is the root of all evil...if someone didn't stand to earn so much from a project like this, no one would even think of supporting a project like this....one that provides a limited number of jobs, but causes an unlimited amount of noise, traffic, pollution, and wildlife disruption, not to mention decreases in property values and the quality of life for residents living anywhere near the site.

    Rules are rules....if the area is question is zoned for recreational purposes, why is anyone even considering the idea of permitting a gravel mine on the property....Gravel mining is not a recreational activity.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....people are drawn to Colorado to experience it's natural, unspoiled beauty. Imagine their disappointment when visiting Salida, where instead of enjoying beautiful mountains and bubbling streams, they are greeted by gravel mountains, crawling with noisy trucks, while the "music" of gravel grinding plays in the background.

    You've heard the saying, "that's a face only a Mother could love", well, the site of the Gravel Pit is a view only an owner/investor could love.

    Hindsight is 20/20....don't let this be the case with the ACA Project. Think about how little most of us have to gain, and the massive amount we all have to lose should it go forward.

    Sometimes you shouldn't do the most profitable thing....You should just do the right thing.

    Laura Yarbrugh

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  21. L Perri

    A big awesome thank you to T. McKelvey and the residents of Weldon Creek for your immediate response to the ACA issues.
    The residents in Weldon Creek are not the only family's on County Road 140 who want the truck hauling halted. As I understand it, an alternative route location is available, and needs to be accessed. I am one of a dozen family's who want to keep the recreational setting of our back yard safe and beautiful.

    Many of the family's that live on County Road 140 were born and raised in this area. Their Grandparents immigrated to this area, had businesses here and are burred at the Salida Cemetery. We know recreation and can embrace the occasional summer traffic and hunting seasons which have been going on for years. But a mining pit with trucks and industry, we can not embrace.

    Do we sit back and let our children be limited to the driveway when riding bikes? Maybe we should stop exercising, no walking dogs or jogging because of truck traffic that starts 7 am and goes until 7 pm. Makes me wonder how safe a truck, with a load of dirt, on a two lane road, already full of gravel, can stop before a tragedy happens? Maybe a dear. Maybe a human.

    Mr. K, if the baseball fields turned into a gravel pit, could you, would you support infrastructure?

    What about that alternative route to Highway 50, the state can hold the commissioners and ACA mining pit accountable for the effects of industry.

    Here's a thought, why not use Butala? Already established mining pit. They are running with a skeleton crew of one man. Everything is in place.

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  22. Chris Cavalea

    As a retired nurse, we came to Salida for the clean air and water quality, but since 2008, Nestle has been a major big industry..approved by the County Commissioners, and now this!

    Basically, these are the points made by various people:

    The possibility of silica dust created cause sickness in animals, especially horses.

    We already have heavy trucks like Nestle's hauling their water in from other areas, burning diesel (approved by the county commissioners) ---do we need more?

    A professional geologist living on Sackett Street in the comfort zone of Salida, who has had his family supported by most of the residents in Weldon Creek for Perc Tests performed before building, has nothing to add other than ”operating without a permit, if true, is another issue.”

    Another retired Geologist uses the same commentary he wrote back in 2002 "Everything comes from mining" in his opinion, —he lives in Poncha Springs, unaffected by the traffic changes, noise changes, and ecological changes and fails to address those changes to our community.

    The County Commissioner stands to benefit from the operation of the mine, and his associates are the ones who approve the application, then the appearance is that the best interests of the community are not being represented.

    PERMANENT residents which are the true source of lasting economic growth and job creation will be less likely to buy parcels in Weldon Creek.

    The fact that is; that the mine located on a parcel zoned as recreation and which is owned by a sitting County Commissioner raises big flags for me.

    Zoning was supposed to help us foster growth while preserving the things that make people, plants and animals want to live here. But if we’re considering mining in an area zoned for recreation, my assumptions are way off.

    Why would ACA and Holman proceed with building their access road, that surely is an expensive investment, with total disregard for any other possible way to make this project work than the way they planned it, if they weren’t very, very, very sure it’s a done deal?

    Frank Holman is not developing this gravel pit for the good of the county; he is doing it for the good of his wallet. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I think that it should be stated as such, and this project not be painted as anything else

    The ACA trucks going to & from the “proposed” site right now (on CR 140 from 285) are travelling at high speeds……..what will be done mitigate this? What about the damage sure to be done to the already too narrow and pot-holed county road? Who will pay for the repairs?

    Rules are rules….if the area is question is zoned for recreational purposes, why is anyone even considering the idea of permitting a gravel mine on the property….Gravel mining is not a recreational activity.

    People are drawn to Colorado to experience its natural, unspoiled beauty. Imagine their disappointment when visiting Salida, where instead of enjoying beautiful mountains and bubbling streams, they are greeted by gravel mountains, crawling with noisy trucks, while the “music” of gravel grinding plays in the background.

    What about that alternative route to Highway 50, the state can hold the County Commissioners and ACA mining pit accountable for the effects of industry.

    Here’s a thought, why not use Butala? An already established mining pit, they are running with a skeleton crew of one man. Everything is in place.

    Evryones' input on this matter is greatley appreciated.

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  23. J. S.

    To take a piece of property zoned recreation and turn it into a gravel mine when there are others mines already available, just seems senseless.

    The ACA trucks going to & from the “proposed” site right now (on CR 140 from 285) are travelling at high speeds. The safety and welfare of the residents, children, and animal life that live along the route, are all going to be affected. No one can really estimate the amount of pollution that will be generated by these trucks via noise, dust, and diesel or the effects the pollution will have on the environment and the residents.

    Why not use Butala?

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  24. Wade Bigall

    Not to beat a dead horse, but......

    The question on the table is not whether Chaffee County desperately needs another source of gravel and where can they get it. If that was the question, maybe the answer would be Butala.

    No, the question really is can someone apply for a zoning variance to extract material out of the ground for the purposes of making profit simply because the material happens to be there?

    Again, this is not an altruistic endeavor for the greater good; it is a way for a person to produce monetary gain. The decision as I see it is which of those two is more important in this particular case.

    I should make it clear that I have absolutely nothing against Frank Holman. Since I don't know him I have to assume that he is good member of the community, is probably a nice man, and performs his work for the county honorably. That being said, I think the honorable thing to do in this case is walk away from this clear conflict of interest.

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  25. Tom MacKelvie

    After another 3+ hour long meeting today, this time before the BOCC, with much review and several comments by a well attended meeting, the Commisioners have sent the application back to the Planning commision.

    The deadline for submiting any additional comments or concerns to the county is Friday April 16th.

    Planning commision April 27th

    Then back to the Board of County Commisioners May 11th

    Thanks to all for everyones input on this!

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    • Pat Duletsky

      Thanks Tom and everyone for your work. Does that mean that there will be no public comment on April 27? Will ACA be presenting new plans to them between now and Apr. 27? Where will comments have the most impact? (County staff, planning commision, County commisioners?) I really appreciate those of you who keep on top of the procedures and time lines and help the rest of us contribute.

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      • Tom MacKelvie

        Pat-
        I'm not sure if there will be another chance for public verbal comments to be taken at the April 27th meeting. I suspect possibly if there are issues that have not been addressed yet. I assume ACA will have new or updated items as they were requested to look into and/or do.

        All writen comments will become part of the record. Personal and verbal comments to go along with written comments have the most impact as I understand it.

        All written comments should be sent, by this friday, April 16th, to Kim Antonucci, county planner and noted that you would like to submit them as part of the ACA Holman pit application for record.

        Kim's E-mail is: [email protected]

        If you have a question or want to call her about these things (she's very helpful), the number is: 719-530-5565

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  26. C. Evans

    Thank you everyone for all you're hard work! I'm so pleased!

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  27. Scott Martinez

    This is a letter I sent today to staff and commissioners and tried to communicate my feelings and thought about what is being proposed. If anyone is opposition please email the Planning and Zoning staff, numbers will help.

    My name is Scott Martinez, my wife, and one son reside at 12139 County Road 140 Salida, Colorado. I was born and raised here, have been in business most of my life and have resided at my current residence for four years. My family has been in the area since 1915, and my grandfather and father were in business since that time. I left the area for four years to attend college, and once again for a year and a half in 2005. When I returned I could have chosen to live anywhere in the valley I would have liked, and I chose the County Road 140 area for the simple rural and ranch feel that this area brings.

    When I purchased the residence my only fear was that the ranch land would be turned into dense housing as in 2006, since the real estate market and development was very strong in this area. The same type of development had happened to a property I built on County Road 144 in 1996. In the late 1990’s there were issues with a gravel pit (mining operation) located close to that property on County Road 160. The same issues that faced people in that area now face my neighborhood once again. The only difference was that the operation was in operation, and was asking to expand. With the help of numerous concerned citizens, as well as a current county commissioner that operation is not in operation today, because of the same issues that are currently in your hands today with the ACA application.

    The county adopted a comprehensive plan in 2000 and has passed a “Right to Ranch” ordinance to correct and improve areas in this county to make a best place to live, which I feel it is. I believe it would be wrong to set precedence in changing the zoning to accommodate a business that seeks mining operations. I believe a precedence was set in the late 1990’s with the County Road 160 pit as it was asked to stop operations once the City of Salida’s lease ended with the contractor, because of it’s location next to a recreation area. So my question would be why would there be approval to change a recreation zone on a working ranch to an industrial zone? There are currently three other operating gravel pits (mining operations) in industrial zones with no need of a fourth.

    As representatives of the county I would ask that you recommend: approve, reject, or deny this application with respect for the surrounding property owners, and the people who live on the roads that lead in and out of the Holman Ranch. We all know if this is recommended and approved it would bring all the issues that this type of operation brings. The main issues being the safety and welfare of the residences that supported, and trusted you, to make the right decisions for your fellow neighbors.

    With respect,

    Scott Martinez

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  28. Scott Johnson

    Can anybody tell me if Frank Holman (County Commissioner) and Mike Holman (ACA Products owner) are related?

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  29. C. Evans

    Scott, the Mountain Mail made an error. The ACA persons name is Mike Coleman, not Mike Holman. It's on page 2 of today's MM.

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  30. Scott Johnson

    Shoot, I thought that we might have an even bigger conflict of interest than we already have here.

    Thanks for the correction.

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  31. Tom MacKelvie

    Many people don't realize the price we pay for this thing known as "freedom of speech."
    Tuesday evening, April 27th, I hope many of us will attend the Planning commission meeting and let your voices and comments be heard for the record.
    A controversial situation this pit application is...

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  32. C. Evans

    Did anyone stay til the end of the hearing? Any report on what happened? To all the people who attended and spoke, a huge THANK YOU to you all.

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  33. C. Clark

    Does anyone else think that it raises some serious ethical questions when a sitting county commissioner goes before the Planning and Zoning Board and says "Hey, if this gets approved I'm going to make a lot A LOT of money, just saying." This in front of a group of people he has the authority to fire, in the case of county staff, or remove (or at least not vote to reappoint) in the case of members of the Board. This stinks to me. I can't figure out why it was allowed? Am I crazy? Do I have some sort of overly sensitive belief that the Board and Staff would be influenced by this?

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  34. C. Evans

    I don't think you are crazy at all.......I think some people may be waiting to see if others come forward before they'll say anyhing. Alot people seem to think this is a done deal. Where are the ones who will stand up to this? Let's get a grassroots movement going! I'm in...............

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  35. Michael Haynes

    My wife and I are soon to be living in Windmill Ranch Estates and have been watching this with interest as our house will be very close to CR 140. I may be way off on this as I'm on the outside looking in right now and IF this gravel truly has properties that are so amazing as to make it absolutely vital and essential to the well being of the county and no other pre-existing gravel sources would provide a good alternative, then I would take no stand on this even though we will most likely be effected by the truck traffic.

    But from here this just looks like another deeply entrenched and powerful individual getting to change all the rules based on his own personal gain, not on what's best for the community and at least some of the decision making committee is at the moment either blind to that or afraid to voice opposition.

    I'm not offering anything new, only another concerned voice to the choir.

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  36. Mark Emmer

    For those who don't know, the R.B. Pit Special Land Use & Mining Application was withdrawn on May 18, 2010 with a cryptic letter from ACA Product's president Jon Hollenbeck:

    "After further consideration, ACA Products., Inc. is withdrawing both applications. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter."

    Coincidentally (?), at the previous day's Board of Commissioner's meeting there was a hearing on Karin Adams & Paul Moltz's application to relocate CR 302 east of Johnson Village. Relocating the road would allow Moltz to expand his reservoir that lies south of the road. (Yes, there's a huge reservoir and very high dam there; you'd never know it if you didn't drive CR 302 because it's invisible from Hwy 285.)

    When they tried this in 2005, the Commissioners asked for some public benefit, like storage rights in any expanded reservoir. Back then, Moltz walked out and the relocation died.

    This time, Jerry Mallett raised the question of Commissioner Holman's independence in reviewing the application, since he was in line to receive a substantial royalty stream from Moltz's ACA Products if the gravel pit was approved. Holman recused himself and Commissioner Glenn, who was on the board in 2005, brought up all the old issues of safety and storage for use by a governmental entity in the county. There was no resolution as Commissioner Giese asked for time to further study the issue. Without Holman's vote, there was no way to immediately proceed.

    The next day, ACA Products pulled the gravel pit application. Hmmm.

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