Johnstown residents fight back against gravel pit permit in their backyard

Posted at 7:01 PM, Oct 30, 2017

JOHNSTOWN, Colo. -- The beauty of an open space view is what pulled Cristi Baldino and her husband, Terry, to buy a home at the Thompson River Ranch subdivision in Johnstown.

“We paid extra for to have just open space,” said Cristi. But they say they’ll no longer be getting their money’s worth.

“About a year ago, we got notice that the owner of this property has applied for a special use permit to change the zoning from agriculture to allow a sand and gravel pit,” said Baldino.

For the next five to seven years, if the zoning permit is approved, the Baldinos’ open space will be turned into a gravel pit.

“Visually it’s an eyesore and it causes your property value to drop,” said Baldino.

In addition, Baldino says the gravel pit will create a lot of dust, noise and traffic.

“They are proposing 221 truck trips out on our frontage road. The frontage road is the only access to and from our neighborhood,” said Baldino.

The 136-acre site named Stroh Quarry will be placed right in the middle of two subdivisions and will be used to build projects like roads.

Coulson Excavation, which owns the open space and will be running the quarry, didn’t want to be interviewed on camera, but asked Denver7 to use their video to answer questions as to why the picked the subdivision where Cristi and her husband live.

“Some people think that you could just go out and dig in an old piece of ground out here and find aggregate but it only lives down through the bottom of the rivers down through here,” said Ken Coulson, with Coulson Excavation.

Both Thompson River Ranch and Thompson Crossings are located near the Thompson River in Larimer County, which is where the company says they have to mine for gravel.

“The specifications of the city of Loveland and Fort Collins -- you can’t just have dirt or sand. You have to have rock and it has to be of quality to ensure performance,” said Executive Director of the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association, Thomas Peterson.

But still, the Baldinos and several of their neighbors say they didn’t sign up for a gravel pit view.

They have a hired a lawyer to represent them and formed the Thompson Area Against Stroh Quarry group that is fighting against the approval of the permit. An upcoming hearing on the permit before the Larimer County Planning Commission will take place next month.

The city of Johnstown sides with neighbors but it’s going to ultimately be up to the planning commission to approve the gravel pit permit.