Community Planning & Permitting Director determines gravel mine Special Use approval has lapsed – April 27, 2022
Dale Case, Director of Community Planning & Permitting, has reversed his April 11, 2018 determination and finds the Special Use for the Martin Marietta gravel mine east of Lyons has lapsed. View the Director’s determination letter, April 27, 2022. Read more…
Past Public Meetings and Hearings
Board of Adjustment (BOA) Public Hearing on Docket AP-18-0002 – July 25, 2018
An appeal hearing of the Land Use Director’s determination of April 11, 2018 has held by the Board of Adjustment (BOA) for Docket AP-18-0002 on July 25, 2018. After the Public Hearing and public comment portion of the meeting was held, and after Board deliberation, the Board of Adjustment’s motion to overturn the Director’s determination that the Special Use permit SU-96-18 mine had not lapsed failed by a vote of 3-2 (3 board members voted in favor of the motion, 2 were opposed). An affirmative vote by four of the five members of the BOA is needed to overturn a determination by the Land Use Director.
Documents and Links:
- Docket AP-18-0002 information
- Public comments
- View the video recording of the July 25, 2018 BOA hearing
Background and Past Actions
Boulder County conditionally approved Special Use permit SU-96-18 on August 20, 1998, by Resolution 98-32. The resolution approved a gravel mining operation (owned by Western Mobile at the time) in the Saint Vrain River valley east of Lyons, and consolidated several previous county approvals of Special Use applications for gravel mining in the area.
Martin Marietta Materials Inc. is currently seeking permission to continue activities under Special Use permit SU-96-18 by moving to the next phases of gravel mining operations. The permit approved a 30-year phased plan for gravel mining in areas totaling approximately 881 acres to allow the county, residents, and the mining company to review and address issues regarding larger area impacted and to better plan for reclamation instead of on a parcel-by-parcel basis. In addition to the conditions of approval in Resolution 98-32, mining operations under SU-96-18 are subject to the limitations of a Special Review as described in Article 4-604 C. of the Boulder County Land Use Code.
Prior Land Use Determination – April 11, 2018
On April 11, 2018, the Boulder County Land Use Department (now known as Community Planning & Permitting) reached a determination regarding gravel mining for Martin Marietta Materials Inc. under Resolution 98-32. The determination responds to a request from Martin Marietta Materials regarding the status of the approval.
After an exhaustive review of public information related to the area in question, Land Use Director Dale Case determined that the use approved in permit SU-96-18 has not lapsed (view Determination Letter). This determination is based on Article 4-604.C of the Land Use Code (“the Code”). The Code provides that a use approved through Special Review shall lapse if there has been no activity under any portion of the Special Use permit for a continuous period of five years or more. The Director’s Determination is limited to the narrow issue of whether the use has lapsed. The Code does not allow the county to look at impacts, including potential environmental or traffic inputs, as part of this determination. A subsequent action, known as an Interim Review, will be undertaken by the county to review environmental, traffic, and other land use issues through public hearings.
In making this determination, the Director reviewed information contained in Land Use Department files, permit documents from the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, information submitted by the public, and information regarding the status of use provided by a consultant hired by the county. The consultant’s report also gives the opinion that the use approved in Special Use permit SU-96-18 has not lapsed (view consultant analysis).
The approval in Resolution 98-32 encompasses all phases of mining operations and incorporated existing gravel mines previously approved through Special Use by the county. The approval governs not only the mining operations, but also activities related to planning, preparation, and all necessary post-mining reclamation activities. If the evaluation of “activity” did not include post-mining reclamation, for example, the county would not be able to enforce post mining requirements.
Resolution 98-32 requires an interim review five years prior to commencement of any mining at the site. In the course of this review, which would include duly-noticed public hearings before the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners, the county will review the next phases of mining activity. As a result of the interim review, new conditions of approval may be imposed and original conditions may be modified, reduced, or waived to accommodate changing technology, new knowledge of environmental concerns, or other new information not available at the time of the original approval. To date, the county has not received an application or request to commence an interim review.
In addition, Resolution 98-32 requires Martin Marietta to establish a community advisory committee. Staff suggests Martin Marietta establish this committee as soon as is practical. The level of community interest in potential impacts of mining activities makes it important to establish an open and clear line of communication between Martin Marietta and area neighbors.
As this proposal moves forward, this webpage will be updated to reflect changes in the status of SU-96-18, along with an interactive map of the area. Notice for all public review hearings will be provided per Article 3-205 of the Boulder County Land Use Code and will include a written notice to adjacent and nearby property owners and a published notice in a newspaper of general circulation in Boulder County. Subscribe to the Martin Marietta Materials Inc. Gravel Mining Permit news list to receive information updates via email or text message.
Parks & Open Space’s Role
Boulder County Parks & Open Space does not have a decision-making role in determining whether or not Martin Marietta has permission to mine the area. Parks & Open Space purchased the Western Mobile Open Space in 2001, subject to existing mining permits. Parks & Open Space has documented significant natural and historic resources along the St. Vrain Creek Corridor as well as opportunities for providing public use of the lands. That information has been provided to the Land Use Department, DRMS, and Martin Marietta, all with the goal of conserving and enhancing the natural resources and long-term open space values of the property wherever possible. Learn More →
- Director’s Determination Letter, April 27, 2022
- Director’s Determination Letter, April 11, 2018
- Heil Law & Planning LLC analysis, January 31, 2018
- Letter from Martin Marietta Materials, July 12, 2017
- Letter to Martin Marietta Materials, January 24, 2017
- Board of County Commissioners meeting information, January 3, 2016
- Development map, April 22, 1999
- Resolution 98-32, August 20, 1998
- Concept Mining Plan, January 22, 1998
- Report: Habitat Conservation For Birds Of Prey, August 30, 1997
- Report: Habitat Use By Breeding Birds, August 1, 1997
- Applicability of Conditions of Approval