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Opposing the rock crusher

Posted: May 10, 2012 - 10:31am  |  Updated: May 11, 2012 - 12:06am

We are filing an appeal against the Planning Commission’s approval of a 10 year conditional use permit for Coogan General LLC to operate a rock crusher in a D3 residential area. We believe that the Planning Commission did not apply the CBJ Code properly in allowing a rock crusher in a D3 zone.

According to the Table of Uses (Title 49) listing for a rock crusher in an area zoned D3 it:

“Must be in conjunction with an approved state or municipal public road construction project, and must be discontinued at the completion of the project. Road construction by private parties for subdivision development is excluded except as provided in this title.”

Coogan’s plan is very general and is not limited to the use spelled out in the code. It is clear to us that the Planning Commission erred in approving the permit and it should be overturned.

The Planning Commission must determine “based on its own independent review of the information submitted at the hearing if the development is in harmony with the property in the neighboring area and conforms with the comprehensive plan”. The area is zoned D3 with 2 new subdivisions approved to D5. Over the past 20 years the Planning Commission and Assembly have made the area more residential and this new pit and crusher conflicts with prior decisions. Concerns for water quality for the Community Garden and protection of the Montana Creek watershed that were presented at the hearing and in written testimony are inadequately addressed in the 20 conditions listed on the permit.

In a past revocation of a similar permit in the same D3 zoned neighborhood, CBJ staff specified a more stringent review and much more restrictive requirements for a gravel extraction permit.

So why is the CBJ now allowing a return to the “good old days” when the site was really rural? To paraphrase Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” “We’re not in (rural) Kansas anymore, Toto!”

Rich Mattson

West Mendenhall Valley homeowner

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