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Commissioners OK Permit Modification for Pioneer Sand Gravel Pit

The Fremont County Commissioners on Tuesday approved expansion of a gravel pit operation south of Florence along Siloam Road.   While acknowledging that there are major impacts from truck traffic through the Sumo subdivision coming off of Siloam Road, the Board of Commissioners said that while Pioneer Sand is cooperating it is not the company’s responsibility to solve that problem.   Pioneer Sand won approval from the commissioners to expand a gravel pit on the Phillips Ranch property by another 135 acres.   The existing Conditional Use Permit for Pioneer Sand covered 40 acres.

Leslie Novoa pleaded with the commissioners to do something to slow down the truck traffic through the Sumo residential area.   She said there are always kids playing and the problem with speeding trucks is getting worse.   Novoa said the road was never engineered for heavy truck traffic.    Dr. Angela Bellantoni of Environmental Alternatives represented Pioneer Sand at the public hearing and noted that Pioneer has agreed to help fix the road with road base material even though its’ not their responsibility.   She noted that Pioneer has agreed to supply road base or $4,950 cash to the City of Florence to fix the gravel road from the cattle guard on Siloam Road to the Sumo Golf Course entrance.   They will also supply $2,500 for maintenance on Bear Paw Drive and contribute $2,500 a year for maintenance in that area.   Pioneer would also furnish $2,500 if a Siloam Road extension to Highway 67 is completed.

Commission Chairman Ed Norden told Novoa that the Board of Commissioners is well aware of the on-going problems the City of Florence has had with the road through the residential area.   Norden said the Board has discussed the issue with Florence City Council members and urged the city to find out if the Colorado Department of Transportation would reissue an access permit to Highway 67 for a road that was proposed in the past to skirt around the south side of the homes.   Norden said the county stands ready to work with Florence and Pioneer Sand to develop a haul road that could be used to bypass the residential area.

The Commissioners on Tuesday also voted to authorize a grant application to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for a Community Development Block Grant to help recover more of the funds the county spent recovering from the September, 2013 flooding in the Cañon City and Penrose areas.  Budget and Finance Officer Sunny Bryant said the grant application in the amount of $56,950 would reimburse the county for its’ final costs of local equipment and materials to recover from the flooding.     It was noted that the federal government made $58.2 million available to the Colorado Division of Emergency Management to the 14 Colorado counties that were affected by the flooding two years ago.

The Board of Commissioners Tuesday also agreed to fulfill a request by Cañon City’s Golden Age Shuttle program to make a donation of $5,000 to the transit program for the rest of calendar year 2015.    Golden Age Director Jim Wiles made the request in March saying that since expanding Fremont County’s only public transportation service to include Florence, Penrose, Rockvale, Williamsburg, and Coal Creek, they would not have enough funds or revenue to sustain the program through the year.   District 2 Commissioner Debbie Bell said the Golden Age Shuttle is the only transportation option for many senior citizens and disabled in eastern Fremont County.   Bell also noted that the $5,000 is a worthwhile investment of county dollars because the transit program is the only one in Colorado that operates exclusively with volunteer drivers.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting the commissioners:

  • Authorized County Manager George Sugars to sign a contract to accept a $25,000 Underfunded Courthouse Facility Commission grant from the Colorado Judicial Department.   The money is to be used to have a consultant analyze the need for expanded space in the Fremont County Judicial Building for the local courts.    Unfinished space on the second floor of the Judicial Building will be the primary area examined for expansion;
  • Appointed Fremont County Department of Transportation Director Tony Adamic to be the county’s representative on the Regional GIS Authority governing board to replace Bill Giordano who retired.