Gravel pit comments due by Sept. 22
With less than a week to go before public comment closes on a proposed gravel pit above Johnson Lane, Douglas County commissioners will discuss an agreement with the excavator today.
Knox Excavating proposes mining gravel on Washoe Tribe allotment land. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking public comment on an environmental assessment that’s due Sept. 22.
The agreement would place .05 percent of the gravel sales proceeds in an account to maintain Johnson Lane.
Knox is not required to get county approval for the gravel mine, though commissioners will determine today whether they will offer public comment.
The allotment land isn’t exactly tribal land. Parcels were distributed to Washoe families in the 1890s for them to use.
Knox Excavating’s John Maxwell said he hopes the operation will result in a pit the size of Bing Materials, located in the heart of the county’s largest community.
Maxwell said the owners of the property live in Oregon and Washington.
“It’s their property,” he told county commissioners earlier this month. “I work for them. I’m under direction to secure that site. It’s been used as a shooting range, kids go out there to party and we’ve hauled untold amount of garbage off that property.”
Maxwell said that depending on demand there could be 30-90 truckloads a day using Johnson Lane.
Residents who’ve provided public comment to commissioners said they were concerned about the increased traffic.
Chiquita Circle resident Rexford Black said that the mine will increase traffic within 100 feet of his home.
“The approval of the mine will greatly reduce the comfort and value of many homes,” Black said. “I feel sure that the residents whose lives will be negatively affected will not accept this without significant opposition.”
Skyline Ranch resident Philip Goetz said he purchased his home to be as far away as possible from Highway 395.
“I am not opposed to business, but this is the wrong place to have a gravel mine,” he said. “I moved here for peace and quiet and bought a home in one of the most expensive locations in Douglas County as far away as possible from the highway. I don’t want the noise of big trucks ear my neighborhood or the increased risk of an accident with one.”
Residents Kim and Judy Herminghaus want commissioners to deny the agreement and oppose the permit.
“We understand that the commission has no jurisdiction over BIA land, but we do expect that water and road concerns, as well as zoning issues are part of your responsibilities,” they wrote. “We ask you to step up for us and say no to this venture before our community is very adversely affected.”
Douglas County commissioners meet virtually 1 p.m. today. For information on how to comment and watch the meeting, visit the county’s web site at douglascountynv.gov and click on the “Watch Board Meetings” tile.