County approves gravel mining permits in central, north Curry

August 24, 2012 09:24 pm

 

GOLD BEACH – The Curry County Planning Commission on Thursday approved a conditional permit for gravel mining on a new site in north county that the developers said contains heavy rock that would be used on jettys.

“This particular site really is only good for jetty materials,” Joe Main of Main Rock Products in North Bend, a family owned company, told the commissioners.

He said jettys in Port Orford, Gold Beach and Brookings would be scheduled for work and could use that material. Main said the last jetty repaired on the Oregon coast used rock that had to be brought down from Washington.

 

 

Main said that jetty rocks had to weigh 180 to 185 pounds per linear foot.

“When you extract the rock, you don’t blast. You want to shoot one egg out of a carton without breaking the other eggs. It’s a small blast. If you shoot a big blast, you make it less usable for jetty,” Main said.

Mike Main said the site would be developed to add jobs in both Curry and Coos counties.

“We try to keep the employees year-round,” he said, with the employees doing maintenance when the gravel isn’t being mined.

“There aren’t a lot of sites left as big as this site. It has lots of potential,” he said.

Wayne Foster, the owner of the 360-acre site zoned for timber, said he has owned the land for 63 years.

“I was buying it when I got my draft notice,” Foster said.

Planning Director David Pratt recommended and the commission agreed that the permit would not be for the usually specified one to five years but conditions were specified rather than a time period for review of the conditional use permit.

“Failure to comply with all conditions of approval, or violations concerning the use approved herein, may result in nullification of this approval by county, after notice of the violation and a public hearing before the Planning Commission. The Planning Director is authorized to investigate and determine if the conditions of approval are met and to promptly report his findings to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission may institute an immediate rehearing of this matter if a violation of the conditions of approval is found to be valid.”

Pratt said this condition, instead of renewal over a certain number of years, is needed because of the lack of staff in the Planning Department that would be needed for the regular renewals.

The site is 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. Plans are to mine 41 acres of the 360-acre site.

The applicant requested 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 applicant stated 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.

The applicant said 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 said that all residents within earshot would be notified at least an hour before any blasting takes place. Signs would be posted on the access road warning of quarry activity and the road to the quarry would be gated and locked when not in use. The operator will keep a water truck on hand for fire and dust suppression.

No one spoke against the application after concerns over certain conditions that quarry could create were worked out before the hearing.

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.

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, the developers had agreed to construct the straight route, eliminating the S curve.

The other letter was from attorney Frederick J. Carleton, who represents three property owners in the vicinity of the quarry.

Carleton said his clients were 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.

The developers said they did not intend to go anywhere near the Floras Creek area for their access but would come only from the south of the mine area.

One of the conditions required by the Planning Commission was that the southern route be used.

The commission also approved a three-year extension of a rock quarry in the Hunter Creek area southeast of Gold Beach.

“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.