Eagle: Neighbors grumpy about gravel pit | VailDaily.com

Eagle: Neighbors grumpy about gravel pit

Melanie WongVail, CO Colorado

EAGLE , Colorado Most county residents probably do not notice the what is essentially a 46-acre rock pit just west of Eagle, but the residents who live near the Montgomery excavating site say they find it pretty hard to ignore.The site, owned by B&B Excavating, has been a flurry of activity over the last year the company is building an office and equipment shop on the property, and will pave and re-pave the taxiway and runways at the airport this summer.B&B excavated gravel from the site until 2006. Now the company produces and recycles concrete and asphalt on the property.Some of the companys neighbors said they fear the noise and truck traffic will only increase as B&B grows, but company spokesman Jason Burkey said that is a misconception.B&B is not growing. We are in the process of consolidating our operations, which will make us more efficient and lessen our environmental impact within Eagle County, he said.

B&Bs neighbors, who spoke out against the approval of the new buildings last September, said they are still unhappy with the truck traffic and pollution from the plant.Sidney Blandford IV, who lives across from the plant and whose father formerly owned B&B, said he is sick of the noise, the smell and the dust.We do need gravel in the county, but it needs to be done the right way, he said.Katherine Dodds, who lives across the river from the plant and whose property abuts the site, said she is worried that the plants activity will increase, especially because the company has plans to sell their other site in Edwards.Id like to see anything there but a plant. Its not an appropriate site for it, saidDodds said that two summers ago the area had problems with air pollution from the Montgomery site and other excavating sites nearby.It was like living in a black cloud, she said.The air pollution is better, but traffic from the site is still bad, she said.There are five or six trucks on the road at any given time on Highway 6. Thats the road I use, she said.

However, county officials said that many restrictions have already been put on the site, some in response to residents complaints.The companys permit for the land had no restrictions until last September, when the company wanted to put buildings on the site, County Planner Jena Skinner-Markowitz said.Now the company can only operate 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays during construction season and on limited hours and dates on weekends. In response to complaints about noise, the company has also replaced the trucks back-up alarms with quieter reverse-motion sensors.The county and neighbors have witnessed and commented on the great reduction in noise. We are the first company in Eagle County to use this technology to mitigate noise pollution, Burkey said.As part of the agreement, nine acres of the site is now dedicated to open space and B&B must submit environmental reports to the state and county each year, Burkey said.As for traffic concerns, Skinner-Markowitz said that impact from the operations will be minimal studies show that at peak times, only two additional trucks would be using U.S. Highway 6, she said.To alleviate traffic from the new office building, which will bring additional workers to the site, the company is installing acceleration and deceleration lanes, Burkey said.

Skinner-Markowitz said the county is trying to balance the needs of the community.Were putting controls (on the site) that were never on before. If we eliminate asphalt and concrete production, where would it go. We cant start prohibiting uses, she said.The companys permit for concrete and asphalt production goes until 2017. In the future, if a better location comes up, the county may try and move the site off the valley floor, County Commissioner Sara Fisher said.Its unfortunate. I feel for the folks living across the river. Its impactful to them, but its a necessary business in a community still very much under construction, she said.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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