By SCOTT REED
The gravel pit task force organized by the Utah County Planning Commission spent two and a half grueling hours Wednesday night debating standards to be used by gravel pit operators at the Utah County Commissioner meeting room.
“Existing standards aren’t being followed if mines and pits are operating in different ways,” said Jill Taylor, Planning Commission Chair. “We just want to make sure they are running in a way to lessen the impact on the county.”
The largest disagreement among the task force members was about whether gravel pits should contain a surface outlet that allows water to drain after the pit has been used up. Concerned citizen representatives worried about future use of the pits and how the used pits would affect the surrounding community.
“If there is no real standards set, you are not doing anything for the future,” said David Wilson, who represents Southern Utah County residents.
Taylor said the point of a drainage outlet is that if a pit becomes developed in the future, it has a defense against major downpours and storms.
For the second week in a row, the task force turned the debate on the county ordinance on gravel pit operations to future use of the pits.
“We need to set standards so that the operators work in an orderly manner, so when they leave, the pit won’t be hard to rehabilitate,” Taylor said.
Mark Petersen, who represents Staker Industries, said that he was worried about how the standards would hamper the progression of the pits.
“We need to establish guidelines that work. Not a written, hard core standard that handcuffs the operators.”
The operators concern was that the county was trying to regulate too much of the future use of the pits. Residents and county officials at the meeting expressed the desire to have the pits rehabilitated so they could be used for developement in the future.
“Whether to develope or not is our responsibility becasue it is our land,” Arjun said.