Hello All,

We, the people, are scheduled to go before the Boulder County Board of Adjustment (BOA) on Wednesday, July 25 at 4pm in the Commissioners Hearing Room, Boulder County Courthouse.

The Boulder County Land Use Director determined on April 11, 2018 that the gravel mining permit issued in 1998, Special Use 96-18, had NOT lapsed under Section 4-604(C) of the Land Use Code. We hope you can attend the BOA on July 25 and show the County we will not put up with this.

SOSVV asserts in its appeal to the Board of Adjustment that Director Case exceeded his authority and incorrectly applied this lapse provision, Section 4-604(C). There is no evidence to suggest that any mining has occurred on any portion of the subject site since at least 2006, and Special Use 96-18 has long since lapsed due to inactivity. Furthermore, SOSVV asserts that the Director erred in his interpretation of Section 4-604(C) and that this interpretation is not consistent with the Land Use Code’s bedrock purpose to protect health, safety, and general welfare.

SOSVV will be represented by attorney Mark E. Lacis and attorney James R. Silvestro (Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, PC).

Here are six essential documents that you’ll want to review prior to the BOA hearing on July 25.  Please share these docs with your friends, neighbors and encourage all to unite behind SOSVV’s Appeal.

1.)  April 11, 2018 letter from Dale Case to Martin Marietta regarding his determination on the lapse provision.  (3 pages)
2.)  May 10, 2018 letter of appeal from SOSVV’s legal counsel to the Board of Adjustment.  (9 pages)
3.)  May 23, 2018 letter to BOA and Dale Case regarding expert witnesses.  (2 pages)
4.)  May 24, 2018 response from Martin Marietta’s counsel to Dale Case.  (2 pages)
5.)  June 1, 2018 follow-up to SOSVV’s letter of May 23, and response from counsel for Martin Marietta.  (7 pages)
6.) June 4, 2018 letter from counsel for Martin Marietta to Dale Case opposing SOSVV.  (6 pages)

OTHER URGENT BUSINESS:

We had to pay a $750.00 fee to the County just to file the papers for a hearing before the Board of Adjustment.  As this issue expands in the courts, we are going to need more financial resources. Appropriate responses from SOSVV to the heightened aggressive tones from the mining industry (See June 4, 2018 letter from Martin Marietta), will also require additional money.

SOSVV is excited and grateful to share this: Van and Lisa Rollo have generously offered a matching donation of up to $5,000 for SOSVV’s legal fees.  If our community supporters contribute to the $5,000 match before of the deadline of June 30, 2018, the Rollos will personally match those donations dollar for dollar.  Please, accept this challenge and donate to Save Our St. Vrain Valley!  Your donation will be automatically doubled. We need this soon to pay our excellent legal team.

Donations are received at SOSVV’s website:  https://sosvv.wordpress.com.

Richard Cargill, Chairman, Board of Directors, SOSVV

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Mark Your Calendars: Board of Adjustment Appeal Hearing Rescheduled for July 25 at 4:00pm

The Board of Adjustment Appeal Hearing has been rescheduled for July 25. Please help us pack the hearing room to demonstrate our community’s opposition to gravel mining. If you have something to contribute specifically on the five-year lapse provision and/or Director Case’s decision about the status of Special Use Permit 96-18 , please come early to sign up for public comment (limited to 3 min). Note that only comments relating directly to these topics will be permitted.

Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1325 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302

See the Boulder County Land Use “Martin Marietta Materials Inc. Permit SU-96-18” website for a synopsis of the decision and the appeal. There are also links to public comments on file, as well as other background documents relating to the permit.

Board of Adjustment Appeal Hearing Postponed + Matching Donation Campaign

Dear SOSVV community,

The Board of Adjustment Appeal Hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, June 6th has been CANCELLED, reschedule date pending. Boulder County Land Use Director Dale Case informed our attorneys, Ireland Stapleton, late yesterday afternoon that the BOA will not have a quorum on June 6th. We will update you as to the reschedule date as soon as we are notified. We hope that you will be able to stand with us then.

We are so grateful and excited to share that Van and Lisa Rollo have generously offered SOSVV up to a $5000 match donation in June 2018 to help raise $$$ for our legal fees against MMM. If our SOSVV membership or any other potential donors contribute $5000 between now and June 30th, 2018, the Rollos will personally match donations made $ for $. In other words, if we collectively raise $5k, the Rollos will also donations $5K in June. (If SOSVV is only able to raise $2.5K, then they will donate $2.5K, etc.)

We have our first face-to-face with Martin Marietta and their attorneys, and Land Use and their attorneys, at the BOA Appeal Hearing (reschedule time to be determined). We hope that you will stand by us and join us to show your support, and please support our legal fund now to maximize our efforts and the Rollos’ gracious contribution.

Sincerely,
Amanda Dumenigo
Chairperson, SOSVV

Attend the Board of Adjustment Appeal Hearing on Wednesday, June 6th at 4:00 PM

On May 10, 2018, SOSVV appealed the Boulder County Land Use Director Dale Case’s long-awaited ruling on the 5-year lapse provision that SOSVV highlighted for the County’s immediate consideration in early 2017, after we learned of Martin Marietta Material’s mining plans from Land Use’s building site approval. The Director ultimately accepted MMM’s unsubstantiated Activity Log as constituting mining activity and ruled that Special Use Permit 96-18 is still active.

The Director’s extremely liberal interpretation of “activity” accepted weed remediation, prairie dog control, and administrative fillings as activity, and in lieu of decades of annual state DRMS reports where the Operator(s) declared that No Mining had occurred. SOSVV hired the law firm Ireland Stapleton, the law firm that defeated MMM at the Colorado Appeals Court earlier this year in Weld County.

We need your attendance on Wednesday, June 6 at 4:00 pm– at the BOA Appeals Hearing  County Courthouse, Third Floor, Commissioner’s Hearing Room, 1325 Pearl Street in Boulder, CO 80302 (“or at such other time and place as is specified in the public notice for the meeting.” SOSVV will update you if the hearing is not at the Commissioners Hearing Room).

We need to pack the hearing room. This will make an impression and strengthen our case before the Board. If you have something to contribute specifically on the five-year lapse provision and/or Director Case’s decision, please come early to sign up for public comment (limited to 3 min) .

The Appeal Hearing agenda is:

Director’s Presentation defending his decision on lapse provision – 5 min
Applicant’s Presentation- 15 min (Ireland Stapleton representing SOSVV)
Martin Marietta presentation – 15 min
YOU– Public Comment (3 min each– must sign up to speak prior to hearing)
Director Case’s response– 5 min
MMM’s response– 5 min
SOSVV response- 10 min.

Read the Ireland Stapleton for SOSVV BOA Letter of Appeal.

SOSVV Media coverage on BOA Appeal in the Daily Camera.

Gratefully,
Amanda Dumenigo
SOSVV, Chairperson

Please make a timely, tax-deductible, online contribution to the SOSVV Legal Fund.

SAVE THE DATE
SOSVV Benefit concert at Planet Bluegrass
Thursday, September 27th

Stay tuned for upcoming details and ticket sales.

PlanetBluegrass

SOSVV Files Appeal with Boulder County Board of Adjustment

SOSVV’s law firm has filed an appeal with the Boulder County Board of Adjustment regarding the Land Use Director’s decision on the status of Docket SU-96-18. Read the letter from Ireland Stapleton to understand our legal stance as we prepare for a public hearing (stay tuned for information about the time and location of this hearing–we hope to fill the room with community members who oppose this mining operation). In the meantime, we are seeking tax-deductible donations toward legal fees–thank you for your support!

Statement from SOSVV Chairperson regarding Boulder County’s decision about the status of SU-96-18

Daily Camera: Boulder County’s 1998 approval of gravel mining east of Lyons is still in effect, land use director says

It appears that Dale Case, Boulder County’s Director of Land Use, and the County’s third party consultant hired to advise on the five-year lapse provision of SU-98-16 accept weed control and prairie dog remediation as constituting mining activity. The third party consultant states in his report, “I have not received documents or evidence of the stated activities. For the purposes of this legal opinion letter, I assume that the stated activities have occurred. The nature of the stated activities should be easily verifiable.” There are two blatant problems with this: 1. assuming is not adequate, and 2. taking the operator’s word is not advisable or adequate. We do not assume or trust MMM. We provided the County with FACTS, including 20 consecutive years of annual Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining and Safety reports by the Permit holder, and each year they stated “no mining activity” under the state permit for the year. SOSVV, with the help of our attorneys from Ireland Stapleton, will be appealing Mr. Case’s decision. We are confident that truth and common sense will prevail. This is a defacto rezoning, incompatible with current and preexisting uses, with detrimental health, safety, and environmental consequences. While we are extremely disappointed by the County’s poor judgment, we are committed to ensuring that there is No Mining in the St Vrain. We need your help more than ever. Please donate to our legal fund, display your signs. Together we will defeat this threat, just as our neighbors in the CLR-34 group recently did in Weld County.

Amanda Dumenigo, SOSVV Chairperson

A Better Way: Family Before Gravel– Community Before Corporations

Martin Marietta Materials has yet another local controversial legal issue: Paula Oransky, represented by the Denver based firm Springer & Steinberg, filed a lawsuit against Martin Marietta Material’s because she was terminated “without due process and in retaliation for her lawful off-work exercise of her state and federal constitutional rights of free speech, assembly, and petition and in violation of state law on employee off-job activities.”

MMM does not counter the fact that it fired Oransky because of her attempt to protect her family and community from Anadarko Petroleum’s drilling plans in the area (including 36 new wells within two miles of the Oransky home and her children’s elementary school). This was Oransky’s first protest ever, and it was organized by the Erie Protectors –a citizen’s group concerned with the impacts and threats of the massive oil & gas extraction operations that continue to plague their community.

“I wouldn’t want to work at a place that doesn’t value their employees’ right to be active in their own community…I’m pretty conservative in some areas, but not when it comes to corporations having the power over a community, not when there are health impacts. A corporation shouldn’t be able to negatively impact a community that may or may not even have a voice. When corporations have power over people and it’s affecting their health, that’s not an inconvenience, it’s a health issue. There has to be a better way.”

We couldn’t agree more– This case is yet another confirmation of MMM’s utter disregard for communities and their rights. It makes SOSVV very proud that our community has been able to prevent MMM so far from negatively impacting our community–it’s health, wildlife, safety, environment, and freedom. Please join and support us in our mission to protect the St Vrain Valley. Donate, display your yard signs (available at the Mountain Fountain Market in Hygiene or Redstone Liquors in Lyons), get your letters into Dale Case Director of Land Use. There is a better way. Family Before Gravel. Responsible mining in unpopulated areas.

Read the article Boulder Weekly article by Joel Dyer  “Paula Oransky never dreamed she could be fired for protesting against oil and gas wells near home” published on March 29th, 2018.

The Nightmare Draws Closer to the End

by Dave Kisker, President, CLR-34 Neighborhoods Assn. Published in NoCo Today

It was on January 27, 2015 that we first heard about the plans that Martin Marietta Materials (MMM) had for the 131-acre parcel on Weld CR 13, just south of US 34.  The news of an extensive aggregate transloading, processing, and distribution facility had just hit our neighborhood, directly adjacent to the parcel under consideration.  For most of us, the idea that there would be an asphalt plant, a concrete plant, concrete and asphalt recycling, and, worst of all, a 1-mile long rail loop, capable of transloading 120 cars full of gravel from Wyoming was just too much to imagine, let alone believe.   Yet, there it was.  In several posters, MMM laid out the story that was to become our daily reality over the next 36 months.

Although there were no real details forthcoming (“oh, we don’t know that yet” was the common refrain to nearly all questions) it was clear that this was going to have an enormous, negative impact on the surrounding homes, farms, and businesses, if Weld County allowed it to occur.

Over the next few months, as we waited for the MMM application for a Use by Special Review (USR) permit to be filed, we studied the criteria and the procedures for submission of a USR application.  We attended Planning Commission hearings and Board of County Commissioner hearings.  We also learned about asphalt and concrete production—the risks, the impacts of noise, odor, dust, traffic, etc.  Some of us quite literally became experts to the point that we sometimes knew more about what to expect than the MMM staff did.

When the process finally got underway, we were optimistic that good sense would reign supreme and that Weld County would quickly reject the MMM USR application.  Our confidence was buoyed when the Planning Department and then the Planning Commission recommended denial of this proposal on the grounds of incompatibility—the same arguments against it that were made by Windsor, Johnstown, Greeley and Larimer County.

So, we were understandably stunned when on August 12, 2015, the Weld County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to approve the application and let the project go forward.  This was in direct conflict with the numerous arguments that we had presented that showed the project was clearly unsuitable for this site:  it was incompatible with present and future surrounding uses; it didn’t have any connection to agriculture; MMM had made no effort to preserve what had been valuable PRIME farmland.  All of these criteria were requirements found in the Weld County Code, and we felt that none of them had been met.

One aspect of the incompatibility was particularly troubling—the noise that was projected to emanate from the site was going to be extreme.  MMM was seeking allowance to routinely undertake the 24-hour operation, 7 days a week.  The mile-long trains would arrive in the middle of the night because the daytime unloading required 10 hours, and then the train would have to leave to make way for the next one.  Their own noise study indicated that they would be unable to meet the residential noise limit at their property line, which, since they were surrounded by homes, seemed reasonable.  In the one significant concession that the Weld BOCC allowed, they agreed and imposed this requirement on MMM as a “development standard”—a requirement for operation.

Because of the likelihood that MMM would never be able to meet this requirement as well as the clear evidence that the Weld County Code criteria for approval had not been met, our neighborhood of homeowners, farmers and businesses decided to appeal the BOCC decision, as was our right.

In Colorado, the appeal process for land use decisions starts at the District Court.  Over the next 14 months, with several sets of submitted briefs, we made our case to Judge Todd Taylor of the District Court.  However, on January 27, 2017, Judge Taylor ruled against us, refusing to reverse the BOCC decision to approve the MMM permit.  In the meantime, MMM had proceeded with construction of their project at their own risk, ignoring the possibility that a group of citizens might be able to prevail against a Fortune 500 company.

Despite Judge Taylor’s ruling, we felt that our case was so strong that it was worth proceeding with an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals (COA).  While we narrowed our arguments, using only the strongest ones, we didn’t compromise our principles—the process was not followed fairly and the decision should be reversed.

On November 22, 2017, a three-judge COA panel unanimously agreed with us and issued an order to the District Court to reverse the BOCC decision and deny the USR application from MMM.  The decision was based on the argument that MMM would not be able to meet the noise requirement, as their own study confirmed.  This ruling was temporarily delayed, pending MMM and Weld County exercising their right to petition the COA to re-hear the case, or to petition the Colorado Supreme Court to hear the case.  On 12/3/17, both the County and MMM submitted a petition asking the COA to re-hear the case.

Following some procedural requirements, the same three-judge panel of the COA issued a one-word order on 3/15/2018 in which they simply said “DENIED” to the petitions to re-hear the case.  Thus, the citizens surrounding this project are now a major step closer to the end of the nightmare to which they have been subjected over the last 3 years.  While MMM and Weld County have the right to petition the Supreme Court to consider the case, it’s unlikely that this will occur because there do not seem to be any Constitutional issues at stake.  If these petitions are not filed by April 13, 2018, or if the Supreme Court denies the petitions, it will finally end.  The USR permit will be invalidated and MMM will be occupying the site illegally, at which point Weld County will be obligated to force the land to be returned to the state in which it was found on August 11, 2015.  Although this will be costly, MMM accepted all risk when they convinced the County to issue the permits for construction despite our appeal.

Things are changing in Weld County.  It’s no longer appropriate for land use decisions to be made without full consideration of the external impacts of these types of heavy industrial operations.  In addition, while the deck often seems stacked against the ordinary citizens, when sufficiently organized and committed, our experience shows it’s possible to prevail, even in the ultimate “David vs. Goliath” situation.

SOSVV February 2018 Newsletter

SOSVV is honored to be among the recipients of the 2017 Patagonia Environmental Retail Grant, selected by the staff at Patagonia Boulder on Pearl Street. I knew Patagonia was cool when I read Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. I knew Patagonia was the real deal when I serendipitously met Yvon Chonard, it’s founder, and shared a burrito at Dos Gringos Burrito in Carbondale in 2007. But my expectations where surpassed when I got to know the local staff in Boulder in the process of applying for their Retail Environmental Grant for SOSVV with Lily Trienens. A grant designed to help grass-roots, non-profits with community-driven initiatives to protect their local environment. This grant has the added benefit of familiarizing each of their employees with local environmental issues and of empowering them to contribute positively and tangibly in their community.

After hearing about our mission, Martin Marietta Material’s proposed mining project & defacto rezoning of 600+ acres in the St Vrain Valley of agricultural land causing repirian habitat loss, wildlife threats, environmental impacts (including noise pollution, air pollution, aquifer impacts), and potentially devastating health impacts, traffic hazards, etc.,
Emily Weldin, Patagonia Environmental Coordinator, invited me to speak at their store. Staff closed the store early to Holiday shoppers– just days before Black Friday at the peak of the Holidaze when most retailers are expecting that employees work late–
in lieu of a discussion on local environmental issues in Boulder County.

That’s what congruence at work looks like. These funds and your continued, generous support is what has and will continue to enable SOSVV to protect the St Vrain Valley from invasive industrial threats. 

Patagonia Down Sweater, modeled by Lily Trienens (her very own Christmas gift) with Emily Weldin, Patagonia and Amanda Dumenigo SOSVV
SOSVV LOVE Online Auction

We are ALSO so grateful to Patagonia Pearl Street Boulder staff for their generous gear donation: Down Sweaters, perfect for Spring & to benefit Save Our St Vrain Valley. Just in time for Valentine’s Day! These His‘ & Her’s Patagonia Down Sweaters are the perfect gift for the one you love! Check out our online silent auction SOSVV LOVE or on Facebook. Please don’t forget to Bid &/or Share Share Share the LOVE. These will make you & your love feel warm & fuzzy, look amazing, and help protect the St Vrain Valley.

Bid at Charity Auctions NOW– auction ends at midnight on February 13th.  You may try on these  Patagonia Down Sweaters at The Mountain Fountain– winner will be notified by SOSVV and may pick up items on Valentine’s Day at The Mountain Fountain. Be sure to try their heart-shaped, scrumptious raspberry Linzer cookies. 

PERMIT UPDATE
On less ecstatic news, we were told last Fall that Land Use had hired a third-party consultant to evaluate the particulars of SU 96-18 and make recommendations. We learned from our latest review of internal correspondence dated January 16th, 2018 that the Land Use Dept / the County appears to have had a “hiCcUp” with their third party consultant, but should have a decision within a week. That deadline came and went– but we certainly appreciate the Director and the County doing their due diligence and affirming that Martin Marietta’s permit has lapsed due to the five year of inactivity lapse provision.

We also learned from internal correspondence between the Division of Reclamation, Mining & Safety and Julie Mikulas, Land Manager, Martin Marietta Materials dated February 2nd, 2018 that Martin Marietta is in violations of the pond bank erosion repairs and the slope gradient, and has failed to demonstrate that the current flood protection plan is adequate to protect the site from stream capture and associated flood damage.

Ms. Mikulas’ response for Martin Marietta was to request a nine month extension to comply with the State’s corrective actions, extending deadline to June 25th, 2018. In justification for their extension request, Mikulas identifies “…dealing with some issues with Boulder County [and that] The neighbors have questioned the validity of our Special Use Permit with Boulder County. The Boulder County Land Use Director [Dale Case] requested that we submit documentation showing that our permit has not experienced a five year lapse of inactivity. We submitted our documentation to the Director mid July 2017.”

Worth noting: it took MMM FIVE months to meet the Director’s obvious request to submit proof of continuous mining activity– and MMM’s activity log constitutes of a self-serving list of compliance with administrative procedures, paying fees, weed remediation, prairie dog control. MMM included no receipts or substantiating evidence supporting these non-MINING activities and requirements. SOSVV’s claims that MMM has not mined under any portion of SU 96-18 is confirmed by the partial landowner, Director of BCPOS, Eric Lane, in his June 2017 letter to US Fish & Wildlife requesting a new Biological Study reflecting current conditions and new information be considered.

Ms Mikulas concludes by asking the State’s Division of Reclamation, Mining & Safety for a nine month extension to comply with corrective actions currently mandated by the State:

–”[Martin Marietta] would prefer to not re-work the banks now and then have to go back in and rework again once the reclamation configuration is determined.”–

It seems that Ms. Mikulas / Martin Marietta Materials do NOT care about the dangerous position that their existing violations and unwillingness to adhere to the recommendations made or to the deadline set by the State’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety compromises the citizens and properties in the St Vrain Valley. Ms Mikulas overlooks the fact that floods are not scheduled events, that can be postponed at industry’s convenience or that will be contained by negligible restoration work– as evidence in the 2013 Flood.

Ms Mikulas doesn’t realize that we are not “the neighbors”– we are SOSVV– a community of concerned, informed citizens throughout Boulder County and the Front Range, comprised of hydrologic engineers, farmers, ranchers, geologists, recreationists, attorneys, writers, researchers, businessmen, parents, Native American leaders, and activists.

SOSVV proclaims the right of self-governance in matters that directly affect the people and the environment in which we live. We assert our community’s right to clean air and pure water from the St Vrain River; the rights of ecosystems to thrive; the right to peaceful enjoyment of this unique place by residents, recreationlists, and visitors; we assert the importance of conserving the archeology, wildlife, Prime Farmland, and wholeness of the St Vrain Valley– the least developed mountain river valley leading from the Front Range onto the Great Plains.

SOSVV will be submitting an official letter to the State’s Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety in response to Ms Mikulas’ February 2nd letter and to MMM’s extension request from the State.

Please make your voice heard. We’re louder together. Write your letter noting your objections to Dale Case while Land Use are evaluating issues. Display your lawn signs. Follow us on Facebook for latest news. And please Donate to support SOSVV. You can make you tax-deductible donations on our website or on Facebook page.

If you have images from the 2013 Floods / post-flood, please enter our photo contest, submit your images as a response to this email, via Facebook or SOSVV website.

Gratefully,

Amanda Dumenigo
Chairperson, SOSVV

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