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County approves gravel pit

Posted: Thursday, Jul 25th, 2013

DEL NORTE – Even though public comments had been closed, the Rio Grande County Commissioners agreed to hear comments by property owner Marty Lukso about the proposed gravel pit on County Road 18 in South Fork, west of the existing concrete batch plant, during a hearing last Wednesday.

Lukso said the area of the industrial-zoned gravel pit was close to an area that is zoned residential. “The area looks like a disaster,” he said. “To me, it is just another make-money and leave-mess.”

After Lukso’s comments, Tom O’Rourke said, “There is a reclamation plan and a tax bond that is filed every year for these pits.”

After providing all legal materials, proof of easements, access, deed of ownership and agreeing to supply the county commissioners with copies of all permits from the Colorado Department of Mining for mineral rights extraction and pending recommendation of the planning commission and CDOT, the gravel pit operation by the O’Rourkes and Mellotts was conditionally approved.

A possible impasse was avoided when Gale Fletcher offered to buy a parcel of land “that is of no use to me at all” for fair market value to settle an ongoing dispute that complicated matters regarding an easement and access on the two adjacent properties.

“I don’t approve of this gravel pit at all; it’s a real thorn in my side,” said Fletcher. “I have absolutely nothing to gain by buying that piece of property; I want you to understand that.”

“Tell you what. To be fair about the whole deal, give me $10 and it’s yours,” said Randy Mellott to Fletcher. “I don’t want to cause you any trouble. I’m tired of this crap and just trying to make a living.”

Fletcher said, “Okay, you’re on.”

There was no handshake between the two men who were sitting too far apart, but it was reminiscent of times past when that is all it took for an agreement between gentlemen.

Fire ban lifted

An easier agreement was reached when the commissioners voted to lift a fire ban for the county in coordination with the Forest Service.

Grant received

Commissioner Karla Shriver announced that the county had received a grant from the El Pomar Foundation in the amount of $25,000 to help individuals relieve the impact of the fire in regards to food, clothing and shelter. The department of Social Services has a list of people who are most in need of funding.

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