Our friends in Weld County, the CLR-34 Neighborhoods Association, have encountered a setback in their opposition to a Martin Marietta Materials concrete and asphalt plant in Johnstown. After prevailing in the Court of Appeals against the MMM application, their request to have the plant torn down was denied on June 4. In a second ruling and shocking reversal, the judge sent the case back to the county commissioners who originally approved the special use permit. CLR-34 is currently reviewing its options. For more information visit the CLR-34 website.
In an opinion piece published just two days earlier, the Greeley Tribune argued that the case should have been put to rest with the Court of Appeals ruling. When they took the case back to court in May, county officials argued that “residents who sued to stop the plant from being built near their homes and farms are to blame for the fact that Martin Marietta officials completed construction of the $20 million plant during the lengthy legal dispute.” The Tribune asserts that blaming residents is detrimental to the county. “Much of the frustration and general distrust many residents have for commissioners these days have their roots in the dispute over this high-profile decision. In fact, other lawsuits against commissioners in unrelated cases followed the asphalt plant dispute. This most recent court filing will only perpetuate the frustration and distrust.” The June 4 ruling surely has led to the further erosion of public trust in Weld County.
Citizens in and around the St. Vrain Valley want to trust that Boulder County will proceed in the best interests of the people and wildlife living in the vicinity of the proposed Martin Marietta Materials mining operation near Lyons. However, the recent ruling by the County’s Land Use Department on the five-year lapse provision has shaken our confidence. The county’s land use code specifies that special use permits must lapse after five years of inactivity. Why? These special uses are intensive and conditions change over time. There has been no mining on the site for at least ten years, but the Director of Land Use accepted weed remediation and prairie dog control as activity under Special Use Permit 96-18.
We all have an opportunity to show our opposition to this mining operation. Join SOSVV as we appeal the five-year lapse decision at the Boulder County Board of Adjustment hearing on July 25 at 4:00pm (Boulder County Courthouse, Commissioner’s Hearing Room).
We hope to see you there!