With the final step complete, Martin Marietta Materials’ long-discussed plan to exchange land with Jeffco Open Space and expand its 284-acre aggregate quarry is underway.
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On Nov. 15, the Golden City Council approved an amendment to the quarry’s development plan, allowing it to expand into 64 acres south of the current site along U.S. 40. The county approved rezoning the property to allow mining on 48 acres earlier this fall.
City Council’s approval included a condition that Martin Marietta have contact information available on its main website, so people can easily submit complaints about truck traffic, dust, etc. Company representatives readily agreed to this condition, along with other monitoring and recording mechanisms recommended by city staff and the Planning Commission.
With Golden’s approval in hand, Martin Marietta and JCOS are proceeding with their long-discussed land swap.
The quarry will receive the 64 acres south of the current site, which is Open Space land. Once mining operations are complete, JCOS can have it back at no cost.
In exchange, JCOS will immediately receive 21 acres between two parcels north of the quarry, along with a trail easement on its eastern edge. This includes the 6-acre Bachman property at the corner of Heritage Road and U.S. 40, which JCOS intends to deed to Golden for a future park, JCOS Director Tom Hoby said.
Martin Marietta will also transfer another 49-acre parcel north of the quarry once mining operations are complete in a few decades.
Additionally, the company will pay JCOS $14.5 million over the next 30 years to help the agency buy the 1,200-acre Goltra property.
With this southern expansion, mining operations are expected to last another 30-40 years, depending on market conditions. Once complete, the area will become a reservoir, and water rights will transfer to Jeffco.
During the Nov. 15 meeting, Golden residents and City Councilors expressed concerns about debris from trucks along U.S. 40, traffic hazards, dust, and light and noise pollution.
Brian Connolly, a representative for Martin Marietta, explained how expanding the mine won’t increase the number of allowable trips. The quarry is permitted 1,000 trucks in and 1,000 trucks out per day, and it sometimes approaches those volumes during the busy summer months.
He summarized the entire expansion as “the same use, more benefits,” saying the quarry will have all its current restrictions and protections in place, plus a few new ones.
Based on recommendations from the Oct. 5 Planning Commission meeting, Martin Marietta agreed to install cameras at its wheel-washing station to ensure drivers are cleaning and tarping their trucks, which the state requires. If drivers don’t adhere to the rules, the driver and/or the trucking company may be banned temporarily or forever, Connolly described.
Abbott Lawrence, division president for Martin Marietta, said the company’s learned a lot through its application process and wants to be a better operator. He and Connolly described how the company’s voluntarily taken steps to diminish light pollution and improve surrounding roads.
During public comment, several spoke in favor of the application, including Jeffco Economic Development Corporation, the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association, local truckers and construction companies, and Jeffco Open Space.
However, two residents who live near the quarry said they worry about dust and emissions from trucks and the site itself.
Rich Mignogna, who also spoke at the Planning Commission hearing, was thankful the uncovered trucks and traffic complaints had received some attention, but his dust complaints were unaddressed. He also noted how there was no complaint-filing information on Martin Marietta’s website.
Christy Wawrzynowicz, who lives in the new apartments by the Harley Davidson dealership, said continual truck noise forces her to wear earplugs. She also believed fumes from the quarry were affecting her, her neighbors and their pets’ health. They experience a lot of congestion, coughing and sneezing, and leaving the windows open makes it worse, she described.
Connolly said this was the first Martin Marietta had heard of this and planned to exchange contact information with Wawrzynowicz after the meeting. He added that she and her neighbors are welcome to contact state regulators with their concerns.
While they were worried about noise and dust pollution, among other items, the councilors ultimately voted in favor of approving Martin Marietta’s application.
Councilor Casey Brown described it as a “tricky situation,” saying Golden’s a municipality looking at a zoning proposal, while most of the concerns raised at the Nov. 15 meeting are handled at the state level.
“I don’t want anyone to think I’m disregarding or dismissing those concerns,” Brown said. “They need to be better addressed at the state regulatory level and not the municipal level.”
The councilors appreciated how the company had addressed the light pollution and recommendations the Planning Commission made, but they agreed it should have contact information on its website for residents to file complaints.
Councilor Don Cameron noted how, as the company starts mining into the southern property, the prevailing winds could blow more dust and exhaust into the new south Golden development.
He, Mayor Laura Weinberg and Councilor Bill Fisher wanted to see Martin Marietta continue its partnership with Golden and engage more with the nearby residents and businesses.
“(The quarry is) being surrounded a little bit more by these other uses, and we can partner on how to take care of those,” Fisher said of the complex in south Golden. “Because I don’t know that we’ve had to deal with those types of issues in the past, and … the winds are changing.”
Martin Marietta has invited anyone who has any complaints to call 303-481-5260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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