Pueblo County Commissioners approve controversial gravel pit

Video Pueblo Gravel Pit

AVONDALE, Colo. - - Update: Pueblo County Commissioners approved the Special Use Permit of Fremont Paving and Redi Mix 2-1 Thursday. 

There are additional amendments which include no traffic near Pueblo County High School before 8 a.m. and between 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and an additional amendment that states if wind speeds are 30 mph or more, crews cannot operate.

County Commissioners say there is more work to do and they will be working with Fremont Paving and Redi Mix. If the applicant violates the Special Use Permit, County Commissioners can ask the applicant to show just cause and County Commissioners can review yearly.

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A Pueblo land dispute that's nearly 20 years old will be resolved this week.

Pueblo County Commissioners will come to a decision this Thursday regarding the fate of the controversial gravel pit proposed to go in near Avondale.

This was announced after a five-hour public hearing on the topic was held at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center in Pueblo. The proposed gravel pit by Fremont Paving and Redi Mix has been in discussions since 2001. The company already has a state pit two miles west of the proposed spot near Badger Hills. 

That plan was approved by Pueblo County Land and Development back in April 2017. However, it was quickly appealed by opponents who live nearby.

Now the decision rests on the shoulder of the County Commissioners. Friday is the deadline for them to come to a decision on Fremont Redi Mix's request for a permit to begin extracting aggregate from the location east of 40th Lane and south of Olsen Road.

Wendi Kern has been opposed to another gravel pit near the city of Avondale since she moved there.

“It has actually turned neighbors against neighbors, families against families, and friends against friends,” said Kern on Tuesday.

Kern believes another pit will mean more large trucks driving through her neighborhood at high speeds. Creating a danger to local schools. 

“The big thing is the safety of the children in front of the Vineland schools," said Kern. "I’ve personally witnessed children nearly being hit right in front of that school. It’s just dangerous it’s absolutely dangerous.”

At Tuesday's hearing, a number of local farmers also voiced displeasure, and concerns over their water supply and dust hurting their crops. 

However, not all of the people living in the area were opposed to the gravel site. Many said Fremont Redi Mix had proven itself to be good neighbors. 

“To the west of this proposed site is the existing site," said Dan Henrichs when asked if he is concerned of a new gravel site. "So they are just going to be digging the rock and hauling it over there.”

Dan Henrichs owns property near the proposed pit. He says if dust were going to ruin the farms, it would’ve already happened.

Fremont Redi Mix says they will water the site and continue to adhere to safety concerns under the law.

They claim the second site will be significantly smaller than the state site, in order to accommodate people living nearby.

Supporters of the gravel pit argue it would save the county thousands of dollars.

“To have a high-quality close proximity pit reduces the cost of freight [of gravel] to every taxpayer in Pueblo county,” said Henrichs. 

A number of businesses in Pueblo County voiced support for the pit, including home builders, concrete makers, and paving companies.

County commissioners are set to make a decision on the pit on Thursday at the County Courthouse when their public meeting begins at 9 a.m. 

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