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Neighbors concerned about Bing Pit expansion

by Christy Chalmers

A request to expand a Gardnerville Ranchos quarry has neighbors worried about impacts on water quality, dust and noise.

Bing Construction, which operates a materials pit off Kimmerling Road, wants to expand the pit. The expansion would mean less space between the pit and surrounding homes, and in the words of Monarch Lane resident Sharon Driscoll, “bring these annoyances closer to my home and double the problems that now exist.”

Driscoll is one of more than a dozen residents who have signed letters expressing concern about expanding the pit. As proposed, the pit boundary would move 300 feet to the north and northeast and up to 160 feet west. Currently, a 660-foot buffer zone separates the houses and the pit. That zone would shrink to 330 feet on the north side, 355 feet on the east side and as close to 369 feet on the west side.

Chambers Field resident Don McIntosh, who has lived in the area since 1975, said he’s concerned about past violations of the existing special use permit as well as the expansion plan. He submitted a three-page letter signed by nine neighbors.

McIntosh said the pit sometimes operates after specified hours and he has complained about occasional cement and debris dumping. Plus, he’s worried Bing hasn’t adequately addressed a restoration plan for when the pit eventually stops operating. The county also never collected a $100,000 bond that was sought to secure an existing restoration plan.

“It’s going to affect all the taxpayers in Douglas County,” said McIntosh. “Something will have to be done with the pit. You can’t leave it sitting in the middle of the residential area.”

A county staff report says Bing is proposing to revise the reclamation plan, in place since 1994, and the county is recommending close supervision of reclamation efforts, as well as a security deposit of 150 percent of the estimated cost. The cost would be determined based on estimates made by Bing’s engineer and a second, independent company.

Other residents are worried about increased dust and noise and possible impacts on Drayton Boulevard, a road that will eventually be built along the west side of the pit.

The Douglas County planning department is recommending approval of the expansion, but several conditions could be included. They include limits on noise levels and possibly construction of a wall or other barriers to reduce noise; an environmental manager to monitor groundwater; a new reclamation plan; moderate slopes in the area of Drayton Boulevard and maintaining the buffer zone in a natural state.

The county planning commission will consider the request Tuesday. The meeting will be at 1 p.m. at the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.