Dotsero gravel plan goes to Gypsum council Tuesday
December 7, 2016
GYPSUM — Last month when the Gypsum Town Council launched the process to consider a 172-acre annexation toward Dotsero that involves a new gravel mining operation, a neighboring property owner bemoaned the fact that the hearing didn't attract much notice.
That doesn't appear to be a problem any longer.
On Dec. 13, the Gypsum Town Council will revisit the proposed Taylor, Miller, Coyote River Ranch annexation and the accompanying special use permit request from Elam Construction to remove up to 230,000 raw tons of material annually during a 12-year period from the 163-acre Coyote River Ranch property owned by Karl Berger. Elam has also proposed asphalt and concrete production operations at the site. The Taylor property of approximately 6 acres and the Miller property of 2.5 acres must be annexed prior to the Coyote River Ranch action to meet contiguity requirements and bring the larger parcel into the town.
The proposal has attracted the notice of Colorado River Road residents and river recreationalists since the original town hearing on Nov. 8.
In anticipation of next week's meeting, on Tuesday night Elam hosted a community open house to present its plan.
"We are getting quite a bit of feedback," said Lana Gallegos, Gypsum town planner. "Most of what we have received is in opposition."
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During his presentation before the Town Council last month, Jon Mueller of Elam Construction said impacts from the operation will be minimized by berms planned at the property and by the relatively remote location.
"It is unlikely you will hear any noise from the Colorado River Road or from the Colorado River if you are a boater," he said.
But neighboring property owner Matt Bryan disputed that claim saying the planned 200 truck trips per day and the noise, diesel odor and dust impacts associated with the gravel operation would adversely affect both residents and recreationalists, particularly because the Colorado River is located 150 feet away from the proposed operation.
Bryan also questioned if the town of Gypsum had done enough to inform people about the plan. During the past month, word about the project has spread around the community but locals continue to voice concerns about notification.
"We don't know enough about this," said Gypsum resident Ken Hoeve. "It's not a question of saying 'no.' It is an issue of saying 'not yet.'"
"What is the benefit to Gypsum?" said Hoeve.
Because of the annexation issue, Hoeve noted the town has a unique opportunity to should carefully consider what they want from the operation before proceeding to a vote.
"There is way too much to look into with this to say 'yes' right now," said Hoeve.
Opponents of the gravel mining proposal expect a strong turnout for Tuesday's hearing. The town council meeting is slated to begin one hour early, at 6 p.m., so members can dispense with other business. The town anticipates launching the annexation/gravel mine discussion at the regular, advertised time of 7 p.m.
Gallegos noted that Tuesday night's hearing will involve resolutions completing the annexation process, second reading of the proposed zoning ordinance, the annexation agreements and the special use hearing to allow the gravel mining operation.
The entire annexation petition, zoning change and special use permit for the proposal can be viewed on the town's website at http://www.townofgypsum.com under the "Departments" tab and "Projects Under Review" tab.