County in Oregon rejects Delta gravel mine expansion proposal

June 13, 2013

The Lane County Board of Commissioners in Oregon on Tuesday rejected Delta Sand and Gravel’s bid for a hearing on the company’s proposed pit expansion, according to The Register-Guard.

Delta’s proposal calls for a 70-acre expansion of its Division Avenue property so the company can dig mining pits.

The board’s rejection endorses a previous decision from the Lane County planning director and from a Lane County hearings official to turn down the expansion proposal.

Delta now has the option to appeal to Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals.

The expansion proposal has been controversial for the county because the 70 acres is designated for agriculture, and the county’s land use plan notes that gravel mining is not allowed there. However, Delta has argued that 30-year-old county documents point to the site as a gravel resource, which Delta said overrides the land use designation.

Delta said its existing pits–its only gravel resources–will be exhausted in the next 12 to 15 years, but the proposed pit could provide gravel for another eight to 10 years.

Despite Tuesday’s rejection, Board of Commissioners Chairman Sid Leiken and Commissioner Faye Stewart have expressed concerns about the depletion of gravel mining areas that were designated three decades ago.

County staff are considering options for reanalyzing the county’s land use plan.

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