Gravel pit protests cite truck traffic
Generating 25-100 gravel truck trips a day, a proposal to mine gravel in the East Valley to help pay for a new sewer pond for a Lake Tahoe sewer district has prompted an ad and email campaign in protest.
Sewer District No. 1, which serves all of Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe residents, wants to dig a 25-foot deep pit which they plan to line for winter effluent storage.
A half-page advertisement encouraging residents to contact their commissioners and protest the pit has appeared in several editions of The Record-Courier.
The sewer district has piped its effluent over Kingsbury Grade to the Pine Nuts for decades.
In 1992, it dug three unlined ponds for effluent storage that it used until a test well revealed an increase in nitrates in 2006.
The next year, the district started sharing a lined Bently pond with the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District.
The collapse of Douglas County’s building industry reduced the demand for sewer pond space and gravel, but with its resurgence, the proposal was made in anticipation of the closure of the Bing Pit in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
That pit excavated 800,000 tons of gravel in 2005-06, before the crash. The sewer district estimates it will excavate 250,000 tons a year over the next 19 years, depending on the market for gravel.
Residents in East Valley are concerned that gravel trucks will use their road. The route for northbound trucks would be down East Valley to Buckeye and then onto Highway 395.
Southbound traffic would take East Valley to Toler Lane and then onto Waterloo. An alternative route is down to Pine Nut Road and then onto 395.
Truck traffic would not be permitted to turn north onto East Valley Road unless it was brought up to standards. If that happened, the traffic would use Johnson Lane to get to Highway 395.
The county and the district agreed that excavating nearly 10 million tons of gravel over 35-45 years would do about $194,901 in damage to the roads.
At their Dec. 9 meeting, Planning Commissioner Jim Madsen questioned the calculations that went into the figure.
“I don’t agree with your methodology,” he said. “There’s 4.6 miles from East Valley Road going down to Buckeye. We’re talking 30,000 trips a year. You’re telling me that $194,000 is adequate to take care of that road. Buckeye Road and East Valley are not built for truck traffic.”
The developers of Grand View Estates, which is located at East Valley and Stockyard roads, sought a delay of the planning commission meeting, citing Bing Construction v. Douglas County. That case occurred when county commissioners sought to revoke Bing’s special use permit over residents complaints about truck traffic but failed to notify Bing. Deputy District Attorney Cynthea Gregory said the difference was that Grand View Estates was not the permit holder, and wasn’t within the required noticing radius.