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Rincon Materials’ proposed sand, gravel supply facility focuses on environment, neighbors, future ranchettes

December 29, 2020, 8:36 am
Long-range plans envision a small grocery, gas station (depicted above) closer to Highway 6.

Rincon Partners, a company proposing a sand and gravel operation followed by a small commercial and residential development near Dotsero, issued the following press release on Monday:

DOTSERO, Colo. – Dec. 28, 2020 –A proposal to develop an environmentally-focused sand and gravel supply operation is the first step to bringing a long-contemplated vision of rural residential homes and first-ever commercial services to this expanding community at the eastern mouth of Glenwood Canyon and on the north side of Interstate 70.

Last year,Rincon Partners, LLC acquired 110 acres along the Union Pacific Railroad north of Interstate 70 in the Dotsero area and, after neighborhood outreach, submitted plans to Eagle County to develop that first step.

The previous owner of the property also contemplated a mining operation that was met with considerable pushback, and so Rincon spent the time conducting community outreach and meeting with County staff to receive feedback and address concerns, resulting in a new, unique and very different application that the Eagle County Planning Commission began reviewing on Dec. 2. The second hearing is Jan. 6, 2021. Namely, Rincon’s plan does not have asphalt or concrete plants as were previously proposed.

The application includes a request to approve a Special Use Permit for the aggregate mine and a Dotsero Community Plan exception.

The Rincon team says their request for an exception to the community plan is justified by the end results that have been contemplated since 2012:

  • Rural agriculture areas with ranchettes, ponds and irrigated pastures further away from Highway 6
    • Keeps water rights active and in the area
    • Maintains community vision for rural agricultural and low-density residential uses north of the community center
  • Commercial area closer to Highway 6 (the 2012 Dotsero Community Plan calls for commercial use along the Colorado River. Rincon wants to develop commercial away from the river front.)
    • Small grocery
    • Gas station
    • Potential for civic services (school, park, etc.)

Rincon principal, Michael Young, a nearly 30-year Eagle County resident and currently living in Dotsero, has over the past 20 years acquired 200 acres of land in the Dotsero area, including more than two miles of river frontage on the Eagle and Colorado rivers. Young says, as a resident and ongoing developer of the area, it is a priority for him and the proposed mine operation to be environmentally- and visually-sensitive, as well as compatible with neighbors and Colorado River users during the 10- to 12-year life span of mining activity and through a new industry standard of ongoing reclamation efforts.

“We are committed to the beautification and success of this very special community and lifestyle in Dotsero, the gateway to Eagle County,” adds Young. “I live here and these are my friends and neighbors – their values are my values.”

Young explains that to mitigate potential impacts of the excavation site, of the 110 acres, excavation will take place on 40 percent of the property only.

“Further, no more than 5 to 10 acres of mining ground will ever be disturbed at any one time: roughly nine acres of facilities area will be open and operating throughout the mine life. A new mining area will only be opened as reclamation is completed on finished mining areas.”

Other important project components, reflecting numerous plan changes, include:

  • An electric conveyors-belt system will be used to bring material from the mining pits to the facilities area, eliminating significant visible truck traffic from the upper portions of the site (as was previously proposed) and reducing dust and particulate emissions. The conveyor is three feet tall and around four feet wide and will be kept hidden and out of sight by berms, vegetation, or an enclosure.
  • No new mining pits will be opened between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During the summer, only the already opened 5- to 10-acre mining area will be active. The previous ownership proposed a year-round operation.
  • Many natural areas within the proposed mine will be left untouched to maintain historic viewsheds. Additionally, man-made berms will be developed, as needed, along the mine area of the operation to hide mining activity from the river and neighbors.
  • All traffic will access US 6 directly; none will traverse the Colorado River Road. Almost all of the traffic leaving the site will head east.
  • Hours of operation will be during the daytime, Monday – Saturday, with no operations on Sunday or major holidays (Labor Day, July 4th, etc.)
  • Irrigation during and following mining operations will maintain beneficial senior rights off of the Colorado River.
  • Operations are separated from the river corridor by a 38-acre tract of land already held in conservation easement as well as railroad tracks that see 8 to 10 trains a day, 40 feet above river level.
  • With an electric conveyor and berms considerably mitigating the crusher and digging, most noise in the area will be from the non-stop I-70 traffic flow only.

“This is not a mining operation that will last in perpetuity,” says Young. “Our plan to mine in phases, reclaim as we go, and have a local source for the area’s ongoing construction projects versus relying on many trucks coming from outside the county.  We want to put this land to work for the community, to develop it as part of this community, so that it can serve our community.”

The project is no longer proposed as asphalt and concrete plants and has a 10-year life span.
No more than 5 to 10 acres of mining ground will ever be disturbed at any one time.

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