By Libby James
Photo courtesy No LaPorte Gravel
They’ve been at it for two years and they’re not through yet.
The citizens of the small rural community of LaPorte, tucked into the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and only five miles from the Fort Collins urban area, do not want a gravel mining operation in their midst. To that end, they have banded together against formidable odds to do what they can to keep Loveland Ready Mix from operating a gravel mining operation on 123 acres of land the company owns close to the center of town.
The citizens’ objections are based on a host of reasons ranging from noise, air quality, health and safety, traffic, and property values. But foremost is their unanimous conviction that the mining operation will destroy the quiet, rural nature of their community—the reason why these people chose to live where they do.
In 2017 Loveland Ready Mix submitted their gravel mining plan to Larimer County. In response, 300 LaPorte people objected at a neighborhood meeting and eventually submitted a petition opposing the project signed by 1,400 people.
In 2018 the Colorado Division of Mining and Safety approved the mining and reclamation plan submitted by Loveland Ready Mix. LAPAC, the LaPorte Area Planning Advisory Commission, voted against it. Later that year the Larimer County Planning Commission disagreed and voted for approval.
Approval for the project came in November 2018 when the Larimer County Commissioners approved the project with a two-to-one vote. In January 2019, Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Steve Johnson approved Loveland Ready Mix’s Findings and Resolutions signaling a go-ahead for the operation. Newly-elected Commissioner John Kefalas recused himself from the vote.
It seemed the citizens of LaPorte had lost their battle. Not so. By mid-February, the non-profit organization, No LaPorte Gravel, along with co-plaintiffs, filed an appeal with the Larimer County District Court over the approval of the special review permit allowing Loveland Ready Mix to proceed.
No LaPorte Gravel claimed three reasons for their appeal: unlawful approval of the concrete batch plant, violation of the Larimer County noise ordinance, and failure of the County to adopt a state-mandated master plan for gravel mining before approving the permit.
In response, Loveland Ready Mix and the Larimer County District Court filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds of an improper appeal format. No LaPorte Gravel is currently rewriting their complaint.
Robert Havis, a member of No LaPorte Gravel, hopes to see the decision remanded to the County Commissioners for a second look.
The battle continues. The citizens of LaPorte care enough about their community to keep on fighting.