La Plata County commissioners approved a new gravel mine south of Durango near Bondad on Tuesday.
Since 2014, Crossfire Aggregate Services, under an agreement with the Bonds family, has attempted to obtain a Class 2 land-use permit with the county to start the gravel pit.
The property is about 1 mile northwest of the intersection at U.S. Highway 550 and La Posta Road (County Road 213). Gravel pit operations will occur on about 220 acres.
The actual area to be mined is about 170 acres and will be reclaimed after the gravel pit eventually shuts down.
But for years, complications with the proposed project have delayed an official approval of the Class 2 land-use permit, which the county requires to operate a gravel mine.
This spring, the La Plata County Planning Commission recommended the project be denied because of outstanding issues, mostly over water, sewer and road access.
With the Planning Commission’s “NO” vote, Crossfire was able to plead its case to the Board of County Commissioners, which has the ultimate say on issuing a Class 2 land-use permit. Ever since, commissioners have directed county staff to work out lingering issues to get the mine started.
Those attempts came to fruition Tuesday, with a unanimous vote to issue the Class 2 land-use permit.
“We’re thankful everyone was able to come together and reach an agreement for the newly revised project,” Commissioner Gwen Lachelt said.
In September, Crossfire indicated it would be open to scaling back the scope of the gravel mine in an attempt to resolve many of the issues that tripped up the project from being approved.
The gravel pit operation is expected to create six jobs, and at its peak, produce about 335,000 tons of gravel a year.
Issues of water and road access were resolved, too. The operation will use no more than 1,400 gallons of water a day and have no more than 200 average daily trips of traffic.
Crossfire will also install a turn lane on La Posta Road into the property and improve the county road’s intersection with U.S. Highway 550.
New buildings on the property include a weigh station, scale house, equipment/maintenance shop, office, a concrete batch plant and a mobile rock-crusher and wash plant to support gravel production.
A proposed asphalt plant was removed from the final approved project.
Crossfire said operations will take place about 313 days out of the year. Hours of operation depend on the season and temperatures, as well as demand for gravel, the company said.
The gravel pit is about a half-mile away from the nearest residence, according to Crossfire, and higher in elevation. As a result, the company does not expect noise to be a nuisance to neighbors.
The initial term of the lease to operate the gravel pit is five years, Crossfire said. However, the lease may be extended for an additional 30 years.
“Everyone has been a team player in this to help us get to the finish line,” said Gregg Donaldson, a spokesman for the project.
Lachelt said county staff and Crossfire’s ability to resolve many of the issues also helped ease concerns from nearby neighbors. No one spoke against the project at Tuesday’s board meeting.
“When we considered this before, it seemed like the impact of the project was pretty high,” Commissioner Julie Westendorff said. “I’m glad there’s been some ability to reconcile.”
Commissioner Brad Blake said the gravel pit will be a benefit to the community. Crossfire has touted an increase in property and sales tax revenue as a result of operations.
“Gravel pits are very important for our area,” Blake said.