Final gravel pit deadline passes

By: 
Liz Kearney
A proposal for a gravel pit based in Emigrant has been officially declared closed. 
 
In a letter dated Oct. 17 the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Opencut Mining Section told Riverside Contracting of Missoula that its application for a permit was deemed “abandoned and void.” 
 
The company submitted an application in April of last year to construct the gravel pit and asphalt plant in Emigrant on U.S. Highway 89 South between mileposts 27 and 28. Emigrant-area residents opposed to the proposal formed a citizen’s group, Emigrant Neighbors. 
 
The group announced in a press release it hired specialists to assess the property, owned by Robert Story. The specialists identified historical and cultural resources and a wildlife corridor along with the potential of water and soil degradation near the proposed facility. 
 
DEQ asked Riverside to address these issues, called “deficiencies,” which totaled 44 separate points, within the one-year mandatory time frame. The deadline ran out on Sept. 17, and an additional month was extended, after which the permit was deemed abandoned, according to the DEQ letter. 
 
“The 2016 Park County Growth Plan is a step toward maintaining open space, but without specific land-use planning, we risk unlimited development of any sort, in any location,” the Emigrant Neighbors’ press release stated. “Park County residents need a balanced solution to address future development. Emigrant Neighbors looks forward to partnering with other organizations and the Park County Commission to develop and implement a plan for reasonable land use.”
 
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Liz Kearney may be reached at lkearney@livent.net.