Thompson Area Against Stroh Quarry, Inc. (TAASQ) opposes the proposed Stroh Pit on the land immediately adjacent to the Thompson Crossing (TC) and Thompson River Ranch (TRR) neighborhoods.
TAASQ was formed in 2016 by a coalition of concerned residents in an effort to provide organized opposition to Coulson Excavating’s application for a Special Use Permit for gravel mining at the location of the proposed Stroh Pit.
The location of the proposed quarry is within feet of at least 30 homes in the Thompson River Ranch neighborhood, and is overlooked by several homes in Thompson Crossing, which exists on a bluff to the northeast.
The Larimer County Special Use Permit Guidelines specifically states in Section 4.5.3. (Review Criteria for Special Review Applications) that in order “to approve a special review application, the county commissioners must consider the following review criteria and find that each criterion has been met or determined to be inapplicable: (Criteria A) the proposed use will be compatible with existing and allowed uses in the surrounding area and be in harmony with the neighborhood; and (Criteria D) the proposed use will not result in a substantial adverse impact on property in the vicinity of the subject property.”
We categorically oppose the proposed land use primarily on the grounds of incompatibility with the existing residential and commercial development in addition to the criterion of the land use be in harmony with the existing development.
The definition of compatible is “able to exist or occur together without conflict; capable of existing together in harmony.” Harmony is “a pleasing arrangement of parts; agreement, tranquility or internal calm.”
The definitions of these words make it clear what the authors of the Special Review Process had in mind. Further, they express that the Special Review criteria must be met. They did not add a clause saying the use can be deemed compatible just because the County puts some conditions on the applicant, or because the applicant says the use will be compatible. They did not say that the length of time someone has owned a property, how long their family has lived in Loveland, or the amount donated to political campaigns or organizations allows special consideration and eliminates the requirement to meet all the Special Review criteria. They did not say you can skip the compatibility criterion just because you really want a cheaper local source of gravel.
The relationship of a gravel pit to a residential area is the antithesis of compatibility and harmony, and none of the so-called mitigation measures proposed by the Applicant can change that. (Making something slightly less repulsive does not equal compatible.)
In addition, it is the compounding effects of multiple issues that make this project unacceptable. In other words, if there were only one or two minor incompatibility issues, maybe they could be fixed. But there are so many serious issues and concerns; impacts to people’s financial, mental, and physical health; impacts that are real and, in most cases, certain; impacts that will affect not a few, but several thousand people. It is the compounding effects of so many issues that make this project impossible to adequately mitigate and therefore, unacceptable.
The Coulson family made a business decision to delay mining the land on which the proposed Stroh Pit exists, despite repeated warnings from Larimer County Planning staff not to delay any longer (per Larimer County Senior Planner, Rob Helmick). One thousand homes later, the only way to make this gravel mine compatible with existing uses and in harmony with the surrounding neighborhoods is by changing the definitions of compatible and harmony. We believe that this is not what the authors of the Land Use Code intended.