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Controversial Eden gravel pit proposal is headed to Weber County Commission

A gravel pit proposal that has received opposition from a number of residents in the Ogden valley area will be heard by the Weber County Commission on Tuesday.
A gravel pit proposal that has received opposition from a number of residents in the Ogden valley area will be heard by the Weber County Commission on Tuesday.
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SALT LAKE CITY — A gravel pit proposal that has received opposition from a number of residents in the Ogden valley area will be heard by the Weber County Commission on Tuesday.

After a public hearing on June 25, the Ogden Valley Planning Commission recommended denying the proposal to rezone 14.15 acres near 4720 E. 2650 North in Eden for a gravel pit. A final decision for the project now falls on the commission.

"Everyone has the right to request a zone change, but this particular petition just didn't meet the standard of being truly in line with the general plan," said John Lewis, who chairs the Ogden Valley Planning Commission.

Lewis noted that the proposed project is "too close to the Eden Water Works well, it's too easily a disturbance to the North Fork River," and, he said, "it's literally adjacent to (Snowcrest) Junior High, it's a stone's throw from the preschool and the retirement center."

Rob Edwards, who submitted the proposal on behalf of Levanta LLC, said the project will reduce carbon emissions by decreasing the miles for concrete delivery.

"Currently, there are some locations in the area that the county has invested in and that are being built that cannot receive concrete in the allotted time to meet international building code," he said, noting that "drivers are driving, you know, frantically to get there."

Edwards has previous affiliation with Western Elite Mining LLC. His father, Ken Edwards, is listed as the registered agent for both Levanta and Elite Mining.

Lewis said the planning commission felt that any benefits of having concrete production in the valley "just didn't outweigh the cons."

"We do recognize that growth is coming, but this probably isn't the right place and it's definitely not the right time," he said.

Residents in the valley expressed concern about impacts on air quality, noise pollution and waterway contamination.

"With it being right in the backyard of the junior high, those kids are going to be breathing that in," said Huntsville resident Brook Secrist, who said she grew up in Brigham City a couple of miles away from the Staker Parson plant.

"We would wash our vehicles and the next morning, there's a film of silt on our cars — like enough that you could write your name on the window and see it," she said. She added that if the plant were put in she would not feel comfortable sending her daughter, who is currently attending Valley Elementary, to Snowcrest.

However, Edwards said the proposal has generated a lot of misinformation.

"Nobody wants to understand the upsides to this project and they've got this idea that we're coming in there and we're going to create this big huge gravel pit, we could never do that. First and foremost, the market doesn't allow for that."

He said the business would be small, would service only the Eden area and noted that "we couldn't come down the canyon and compete down in the valley."

He said the pit would differ from other such operations because the proposed project would not build an actual dig, but would instead utilize materials from the river bed located on the parcel.

"It's not a pit, it's the river way, it's a river drainage. It's not a pit," he said.

However, Lewis said after visiting the property, "I could not, personally figure out how you would dig in that river without disturbing the water" or "how you wouldn't send plumes of silt down the river into the lake."

President of Eden Water Works, Ron Lackey, is also concerned about water contamination.

"This proposed gravel mine is about 150 yards from our well," he said, noting the well "in the summertime, provides about 60% of Eden Water Works' water."

Lackey said that because the well was only about 60 feet deep, "if there's a fuel spill, or an oil spill, or some kind of chemical spill, or even, you know, any other kind of chemical, it could ruin our well."

"As a water company, it's our job to look out for all of these threats that could contaminate our water," he said. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality division of drinking water lists concrete, asphalt, tar and coal companies, as well as gravel mining operations, as potential threats to water contamination, he explained.

Shauna Miller said she moved to valley from Ogden because of her daughter's asthma condition.

"As long as the air stays clear she does pretty well," she said, affirming that her daughter's health had improved since the move.

Miller said she is concerned that a gravel pit, which would be located close to her home, would exacerbate her daughter's condition.

"It will kill her, like literally. The doctors told us 'You guys have to move,'" she said.