By Rita Clagett

North Fork Valley Reporter

DELTA (December 5)–The Delta County Board of County Commissioners met at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, to hear the Jensen family application for a gravel mine on Grand View Mesa in Crawford, and attendant public comment. A capacity crowd of more than 60 people filled the meeting room at the Delta County Courthouse. Forty-two people signed up to speak. Grumbles greeted the commissioners’ announcement that they would end the meeting at 3:45 because they had a prior 4 p.m. appointment.

From Highway 92 opposite Crawford Road, agricultural land stretches to the rim of the Smith Fork Canyon. A few rooflines on the horizon only hint at the proximity of more than thirty homes neighboring the proposed gravel pit on the ridge in the center of the photo. Photo by Rita Claget

Matt Jensen, partner in M&L Mining LLC, presented his family’s application for an open pit gravel mine adjacent to a subdivision and agricultural land in Crawford. The commissioners then opened the floor to public comment in favor of the proposed mine, and nobody spoke. After more than a dozen people spoke in opposition to the proposed industrial use of the 80-acre site, the commissioners announced that they had canceled their prior appointment and would reconvene after a five minute break.

In all, more than 20 people spoke in opposition to the mine, offering a wide range of arguments. Speakers included a retired coal miner and a current gravel mine worker who both live in the subdivision, an emergency room nurse at Delta County Memorial Hospital, a wealthy investor, the general manager of a nearby organic farm, an expert witness in real estate lending, and an engineer who had been hired to evaluate potential noise and dust effects and M&L Mining’s mitigation plan.

The remainder of those who had signed up opted not to speak after hearing all preceding arguments. Matt Jensen and his parents, Larry and Michele, also partners in M&L Mining, gave concluding remarks. The county commissioners closed the public comment period at 4:38, and moved to take the application and public comments under advisement. They announced their intention to deliver a decision regarding the application at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 17.