On Monday night, September 24, a vacancy on the Board of County Commissioners resulting from the recent death of Commissioner Lew Gaiter resulted in postponement of the final decision regarding a special review requested by Loveland Ready Mix to operate the Knox gravel pit and an accompanying batch plant in LaPorte.
The commissioners will reconvene on November 19, when a final vote is expected. On Thursday, September 27, a vote by the Republican Party Vacancy Committee will appoint someone to Gaiter’s position for the few weeks until the end of his term, creating a full complement of commissioners to hear comments from the applicant, a rebuttal by the opposition, and more public comments before a final vote is taken.
The hearing room in Larimer County Courthouse was close to filled on September 24. A total of 36 people signed up to speak and many went over the two-minute limit. The vast majority of the speakers were LaPorte residents expressing their strong opposition to approval of LRM’s special review request. They cited air quality, ground water, safety, health and noise issues in addition to general incompatibility with the character of the community as reasons for opposing the special review request.
A few supporters tried to explain that LRM was a good neighbor and that the above issues were exaggerated. The intensity of feelings among LaPorte residents was often evident on their faces as they took their seats after speaking. Commissioner Steve Johnson welcomed each speaker warmly and was lenient regarding time limits for what they had to say.
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The meeting, which opened at 6:30 p.m., did not conclude until 10:20, and it is likely that the November 19 meeting will last as long. More than 3,000 people have signed petitions objecting to the Knox mine and batch plant and their determination remains strong despite the Larimer County Planning Commission’s unanimous recommendation to the county commissioners to approve the special review request.