via Richard Cargill, SOSvv Chair, Board of Directors:
Board of Adjustment Hearing – Weds, July 25th, 4 pm Commissioners Hearing Room, Boulder County Courthouse (Pearl St Mall)
Re: Save Our Saint Vrain Valley’s (SOSvv) appeal to Bldr Cnty Land Use Director Dale Case’s determination that the Special Use 96-18 mining permit from 1997 now held by Martin Marietta Materials (MMM) has not lapsed. The Board of Adjustment is a group of appointed volunteers with decision-making power in this appeal.
• 5 min presentation by Dale Case
• 15 min presentation by SOSvv’s attorney
• 15 min ” by MMM
• Public Comment period. Sign up at the beg. of the meeting – 3 mins/person. You can sign-up but give your time (pool it) to someone else instead of speaking when your time comes.
• 5 mins more for Dale Case
• 5 mins for rebuttal/response from MMM
• 10 mins for SOSvv rebuttal/response, final comments
Your presence at the meeting says a lot even if you choose not to speak. If you do speak, SOSvv’s attorney’s recommendation is that you speak from personal experience as a resident, be respectful & professional.
• The original gravel mining permit was approved in 1997 with certain conditions, including that site plan & landscaping be approved by Bldr County Commissioners before operations begin. They accomplished this on Jan 3, 2017 in 10 minutes with no questions raised (you can view it online.)
At the meeting, one slide showing a b&w sketch of the site plan was shown. Very brief discussion touched on building heights and lighting. MMM had asked for lighting to be mounted higher (25’) than required (12’) and to be left on 24/7 for 10 years. MMM accepted that lights be on from dawn to dusk instead, noted by commissioner Deb Gardner as “a good compromise.”
There was no discussion re impacts of the operation on the surrounding community, environment, or any discussion of the Lapse Provision & changed conditions since 1997.
• The Lapse Provision states that any Special Use permit will lapse if there is no activity at the site for 5 years. Dale Case determined that the permit had not lapsed because MMM stated they had removed weeds and done some “prairie dog control” at the site. MMM has not provided concrete evidence of these activities. Much rests with the interpretation of “activity” as it relates to the mining permit. Does removing weeds count as “activity” for a mining permit?
• Soon after the 1/3/17 meeting, a Hygiene resident noticed a short piece on approval of the site plan for the mining operation published in the local newspaper. Community concern spread quickly. Residents came together to form SOSvv and eventually hired an attorney experienced in these matters, financed solely by contributions from community residents. He will make a detailed presentation at the BOA hearing which will be enlightening for all. He recently won a similar case for Weld County residents fighting a MMM aggregate processing operation. Unfortunately, it was overturned on a technicality when MMM appealed & Weld County officials did not stand up for the community.
• If you are a local resident who has biked, walked, or regularly driven by the 800+ acre site for years (bordered by Hygiene Rd, Hwy 66 & Hwy 36) it may prove important for you to tell BOA if you have never seen any signs of activity in the area. Likewise, if you’ve been a St. Vrain Valley resident for the past 10-30 years, it may be esp. important for you to tell from personal experience the changes you’ve seen in the area including: growth, traffic danger, 2013 flood damage, increase in small farms, cyclists & cycling events that bring revenue to the County, etc. One contention is that the area has remained unchanged since the original permit was issued in 1997 (i.e., no need to take into consideration any changes as the permit conditions require)
• This hearing is crucially important to show up for. Yes, decisions can sometimes be appealed, but it will be a whole lot less expensive to win this now, by convincing the local powers-that-be that the permit has lapsed, in order to protect the St. Vrain Valley.
• Also Worth Noting…
In 2001 the North Boulder County Environmental Health Task Force rec’d the highest possible honor for county govt from NACo, the National Association of Counties, when it was recognized for its cooperative community effort with citizens to make the region around Lyons & the St. Vrain River cleaner and healthier. The effort focused on emissions from the Lyons Cement plant & was driven by the citizen group, St. Vrain Watchdogs. Land Use had determined that Cemex’s Special use permit hadn’t lapsed and they wanted to burn millions of waste tires at the site. Fortunately, this never happened due to citizen vigilance/efforts & eventual cooperation with the county.