GOLD BEACH – The Curry County Planning Commission will be asked to approve gravel mining in two locations at Thursday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the County Annex building – one in the Hunter Creek area southeast of Gold Beach and the other near Sixes River and the Edson Creek Park.
Planning Director David Pratt said the Hunter Creek site should not be controversial.
“It’s merely an extension of a permit issued in 1991. They’ve kept everything up to date,” Pratt said.
It’s four miles southeast of Gold Beach.
“The other one is a new gravel pit in north county. It’s approximately four miles east of Highway 101 on Sixes River Road to Edson Creek Park and then approximately 2.5 miles northeast on Foster-Edson Creek Road,” Pratt said.
He said that property, owned by Wayne Foster, is on a 360 acre area zoned as timer, of which 41 acres would be mined.
The applicant is requesting conditional use approval to allow aggregate mining. Onsite activities would include drill and blast; shovel, loader or scraper; rip and load; stockpiling removing; screening and crushing.
“The issue is the area over which they originally were going through goes through the park at Edson Creek. There’s something in the deed that prevented that,” Pratt said.
The applicant states that all the land within a mile of the proposed quarry and most of the land within the township has historically been used for harvesting forest products and occasional hunting. The applicant further states the quarry will keep similar hours as the historical logging operation, with the environmental effects of hauling rock from the quarry not differing greatly from the historical environmental effects of hauling logs from the Sixes drainage area and will impact a much smaller area.
According to the applicant, there are only four homes within 2.5 miles of the quarry and the nearest home and public campground – Edson Creek Park – is 1.5 miles and 1,400 feet in elevation below the proposed quarry.
To mitigate potential environmental impacts, the applicant states that all residents within earshot will be notified at least an hour before any blasting takes place. Signs will be posted on the access road warning of quarry activity and the road to the quarry will be gated and locked when not in use. The operator will keep a water truck on hand for fire and dust suppression.
As of Tuesday, the Planning Department had received two letters opposing certain conditions that quarry could create.
One was from David Morrison whose property is southwest of the proposed quarry.
“The access road to his property goes through our property. We were approached by Mr. Foster a few years ago about this quarry and his need to change the configuration of the road,” Morrison wrote.
“The changes that he proposed at that time were not acceptable to us due to a variety of reasons – expansion of road would most likely destroy our gate, multiple large trucks with very heavy loads would be going close to our house every hour during the day causing much noise, dust and pollution,” he wrote.
“At that time we discussed a different route – the straight route – that would actually be easier for the trucks (would not have to negotiate a steep S curve) and better for us (everything would be further away and a hill would probably keep much of the noise, pollution, dust away from us), but this route would be harder to construct,” Morrison wrote.
He said that after reviewing the documents on line, “we cannot tell what route through our property is being proposed. If the route is the straight route, we have no problems with the quarry. But if the route is the S curve route, we oppose the quarry.”
The other letter is from attorney Frederick J. Carleton, who represents three property owners in the vicinity of the quarry.
Carleton said his clients are concerned about any potential use as access the road on the north side of Floras Creek that traverses their property and ultimately ends up on the Foster property.
He noted the staff report from the Planning Department described the access as being Sixes River Road to the property through Foster-Edson Creek Road, which will bypass Edson Creek Park to the west and it is apparently a new access road.
“If this is the ultimate finding then, as long as it is part of the order of approval, my clients have no concern about the application and therefore, no objection. If for any reason access were to be other than that and ultimately through the road that traverses my clients’ property, my clients seriously object for all the obvious reasons – road is inadequate in width, base, impacts on surrounding area including residential uses, noise and safety,” Carleton wrote.