P&Z public hearing Wednesday on new county mining standards

The Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to the Garfield County Commissioners on proposed standards for mining operations across the county.

The hearing, to be held as an online webinar, starts at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22.

Register here to attend the webinar. (We recommend registering in advance.)

Garfield County is taking a positive initiative in considering these new standards. They would be used to evaluate the Rocky Mountain Industrials limestone mine expansion proposal as well as other proposed mining operations elsewhere in the county.

It will be important for Planning and Zoning Commission members to see a good showing of public interest in the value of this effort. Please attend the webinar if you can.

There will be an opportunity to speak, if you wish. The webinar manager will also report the number of people attending the online meeting. Just attending, even if you don’t speak, will show support for the county’s effort.

About the proposed 1041 mining standards

The new mining standards use the 1041 review process. It’s named for a Colorado law passed in 1974, House Bill 74-1041. The 1041 law allows local governments to address a wide variety of impacts that could result from a proposed activity.

Garfield County already uses the 1041 review process to regulate airports, heliports, water projects, landfills, water and wastewater treatment plants, highways and transit stations.

The new 1041 mining standards would be applied county-wide on public and private lands within the Rural, Public Lands, and Resource Lands zone districts. The standards would not apply in other zone districts or within city or town limits, and mining operations would be prohibited in Industrial zones.

The standards do not apply to sand and gravel operations nor to oil and gas wells, which are regulated under separate provisions in the county’s Land Use Code.

The next step in the process

After holding the public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to make a recommendation to the Garfield County Commissioners.

P&Z could recommend that the County Commissioners approve the standards as presented by the county staff. The standards were fine-tuned in a line-by-line review held during P&Z work sessions on March 25 and April 1.

Alternately, P&Z could recommend approval with modifications, which would be spelled out during the meeting on Wednesday.

For example, P&Z members discussed removing requirements that would call on mining companies to assess workforce housing and greenhouse gas emissions when submitting their project proposal to county officials.

P&Z’s action is advisory. Authority to enact the 1041 mining standards rests with the County Commissioners. They are slated to hold a public hearing on the 1041 mining standards on Monday, May 4.

DOWNLOAD the County Planning Staff Memo and Public Hearing Exhibits (2.4 MB)

Tips on attending a virtual public hearing webinar

Register here to attend the webinar. (We recommend registering in advance.)

Opportunities for public comments and questions during the public hearing are provided through the GoToWebinar platform. To participate in the public hearing and comment during the session, follow these steps:

1. Register to participate in the public hearing using the link above. (We recommend registering in advance.)

2. You’ll receive a registration confirmation by email. Follow the link in that email to join the webinar at the scheduled time.

3. To ask a question or make a comment during the webinar, click the hand icon in your control panel to “raise your hand.” The webinar organizer can see your raised hand.

4. During the comment phase of the public hearing, the organizer will call on each person with a raised hand and will un-mute them so they may provide any comments or questions, one at a time, during the webinar. (If your computer does not have a microphone, you can also connect to the webinar by telephone. The number is provided in your confirmation email.)

5. Alternatively, you may also type a question or comment in the “Questions” bar within the control panel. Staff will read these questions or comments aloud during the public hearing.

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