Johnnie St. Vrain: A little digging on 'active mine' near Longmont bike path

Mar. 12—Dear Johnnie: On the south side of the bike path, east of town, is a new chain-link fence, just west of North 119th Street. The new fence has signs on it that say: "Danger. Active mine. Keep out." How come I've seen nothing about this? Sounds fishy. — Z

Dear Z: It's not fishy now, but it might be fishy one of these days.

The fence has been erected and signs placed in preparation for gravel mining on that property, the permit for which was granted by Boulder County in 2003, according to documents on the city of Longmont website.

"In 2015, the property owner submitted an application for annexation into the city and desired to maintain their gravel mining permit. They requested approval of a PUD (planned unit development) plan, which mirrored the mining plan and conditions of approval as set forth in the original Boulder County permit," Jim Angstadt, Longmont's director of Public Works & Engineering, said in an email. "The PUD plan was amended ... to reflect changes to the Irwin Thomas site as a result of the Costco development."

Angstad said the city has been working with the building materials company Holcim Group (formerly Aggregate Industries) on the timing for the start of mining operations.

"There are a number of premining activities which must take place prior to (the) start of actual mining," Angstad said. "The city anticipates that premining activities will begin within the next three weeks with mining of material to be underway in April."

By the time you read this, those "premining activities" might have already started.

When the mining is complete, "The final reclamation plan includes five irregularly shaped ponds totaling about 73 acres," according to an overview of the project on the city's website.

"The mining process can take up to 10 years, and the length of time depends on a number of factors, including market conditions/demand and when they start mining," the website says.

It's been a coupleof years since you and other Longmont residents would have seen anything about this.

According to the city's website, a neighborhood meeting was held in January 2016, and public hearings were held with the Planning & Zoning Commission in January 2017 and City Council in September 2017. "Notification to all property owners within a 1,000-foot radius was mailed out and signs were posted on the property."

The Times-Call wrote about plans for his property in July 2021, when the City Council OK'd the changes to the land use designations.

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