Residential rezoned to mining

Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 5:37 pm

by Lynda James, Senior Correspondent, The Flume

Without any deliberation as posted on the agenda, the Park County commissioners approved rezoning 28 acres of residential zoned land to mining for High Speed Aggregate Aug. 17. (See The Flume front page article Aug. 4)


In doing so, the county commissioners ignored the recommendations of the county planning department and the planning commission. Both recommended not rezoning the 28 acres.

County Attorney Lee Phillips read the 11 conditions attached to the resolution before the unanimous vote.


"People need to read the conditions. They are extremely stringent and they (miners) are trying to listen to the residents," Commissioner Mike Brazell said.


Commissioner Dick Elsner said it was not an easy decision.

Commissioner Mark Dowaliby said mining and residential are compatible.


The 11 conditions are:

  1. Notify the county 48 hours before heavy equipment is transported over county roads.

  2. Current driveways need to be registered and new permits pulled for any new driveways.

  3. No mining activity within 100 feet of Platte Drive and 50 feet of the west and east property boundaries.

  4. No mining activity between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. or on Sundays and federal holidays.

  5. To reduce noise, sand must be in truck beds before loading.

  6. Written notice to adjacent property owners 10 days before mine startup in spring and shutdown in the fall.

  7. Report mining and reclamation status to the county upon completing mining, initial reclamation and successful reclamation of each phase.

  8. Comply with state and local noise regulations.

  9. Applicant may provide aggregate to Park County and adjacent property owners.

  10. Provide sanitation facilities during mining operations.

  11. Failure to comply with representations made at the hearing or any conditions will be a violation of the Land Use Regulations.


At least 20 or more residents at the Aug. 17 commissioner meeting silently filed out of the room after one was told no comment would be taken until the end of the meeting.


During public comments at the end of the meeting, John (Skip) Kunst, Sr. asked when and how the commissioners made their decision and developed the conditions.


Phillips answered during two commissioner work sessions and one executive session. Deliberations were not posted on any work session agenda, only on the Aug 17 agenda.


Phillips said most of the conditions were offered by High Speed and county staff recommended the rest.


Kunst asked if the conditions were finalized in executive session.


Phillips said he would not disclose what took place in any executive session.


Kunst asked if an operating agreement, additional reclamation requirements above state requirements or a performance bond were considered.


Phillips said no, all would be illegal.


"What did the county get for the rezoning?" Kunst asked.


"We got the conditions and they won’t mine on Sunday," Elsner replied.


Brazell said that if the property wasn’t rezoned, High Speed would not be required to reclaim the historic mine tailings.


Kunst said he didn’t care about the historic tailings. He cared about the company mining new land, leaving and not reclaiming their own mine tailings.


Dowaliby said High Speed would have to reclaim because the state permit would limit the amount of overburden stored at any time.


"The county’s business plan should include more than mining and marijuana," Kunst said.


The Mined Land Reclamation Board public hearing for High Speed’s 112 hard rock mining permit was scheduled for Aug. 23 in Denver beginning at 9 a.m.


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