The Curry County Planning Commission approved a five-year extension of Freeman Rock's permit to remove and process gravel 1.75 miles up from the intersection of Jerrys Flat Road and Highway 101 along the south bank of the Rogue River.

The original conditional use permit was issued for three years beginning in May 1984 and every three years thereafter until 1996. Since then, the county has agreed to extend the permit by three to five years and allow the company to alter the amounts of gravel it extracts.

The last permit was issued for five years, in 2007, for 40,000 cubic yards, and this permit will allow them to do the same as long as they are in compliance with the various agencies with which they hold permits.

Those include an operating permit from the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), valid through June 30, 2013; Department of State Lands gravel removal permit, good to May 4, 2013; a Basic Air Contaminant Discharge Permit from the Department of Environmental Quality, valid through Aug. 1, 2022; and an Army Corps of Engineers permit, good through May 31, 2014.

A general stormwater discharge permit issued by the DEQ that expired June 30 received an administrative extension, allowing "continued operations following all the guidelines in the old permit."

Under the state lands permit, Freeman Rock is allowed to scrape gravel from river bars, but can't operate in the water. The DOGAMI permit addresses upland extractions.

In the 23 years of operation there, there has been one complaint andndash; of dust, in 2009 andndash; which was investigated and declared unfounded.

The company has indicated it will proceed with a reclamation plan upon completion of work there.

"I don't see anything negative about this," said Commissioner John Brazil. "It appears you're doing a pretty good job out there."

The request will be sent to the Curry County Board of Commissioners for final approval.