Lake County is reviewing a conditional use permit application for a 129-acre gravel-mining operation along Colorado 91. This use would severely impact the entry corridor into Leadville from the Top of the Rockies scenic byway.
The subject property also borders a conservation easement comprising over 500 acres of pristine wildlife and riparian habitat along the Arkansas River. You would also be able to see this project from the most picturesque stretch of the Leadville CO & Southern railroad, or while enjoying the solitude of the backcountry hut on Mt. Zion.
The applicant, Schofield Excavation of Gypsum, seeks approval to mine sand, gravel and aggregate, stockpile topsoil, produce asphalt and road material as well as crush road base, all within frightening proximity to the Arkansas River.
These operations would be in plain sight not only of visitors to our county and daily commuters, but also nearby homeowners. Their quality of life, as well as property values, would be negatively impacted by the aggressive change in natural appearance and the daily operations of the proposed use.
Schofield is also proposing 24-hour operations when necessary, but somehow plan to mitigate sound and light pollution.
The original application was withdrawn after three commission members recommended denial. Schofield has already re-submitted the conditional use permit application in a second attempt to seek approval for their request.
Their proposal goes against the comprehensive plan for the area, which emphasizes conservation development. This pre-existing plan should be valued over an eyesore which would be successful in simultaneously raping natural resources, endangering the water table and displacing a wildlife migration corridor while welcoming visitors to beautiful Lake County, Colorado.
Please join me in letting the county planning and zoning members, and the county commissioners, know that this type of use is not welcome in such a vulnerable and naturally pristine location at the gateway to our beautiful valley.
The meeting for the re-submitted conditional use permit is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. If you cannot be there in person, please consider writing to our planning and zoning members and county commissioners in opposition. This is clearly a bad choice for Lake County. It would not only negatively affect the area, but would send a message that conservation is not a priority in Lake County, leaving the door open for other destructive enterprises to make their way into the valley.