Pine Nut gravel pit gets planning recommendation |

Pine Nut gravel pit gets planning recommendation

The prospect of trucks hauling gravel right next to the subdivision he’s been trying to sell homes in for years had Grand View Estates manager Steve Mothersell pleading with Douglas County planning commissioners to at least delay approval of a plan to mine aggregate in the Pine Nut Mountains above East Valley Road.

Grand View Estates near the intersection of the Stockyard and East Valley will bear the brunt of the truck traffic from a pit proposed by the Douglas County Sewer District.

Planning commissioners approved a special use permit for open and subsurface mining on the district’s 1,000 acres at the base of the Pine Nut Mountains. The district plans to sell the aggregate in order to defray the cost of a lined sewer pond required for its future growth. The mining permit will have to go to Douglas County commissioners for final permission.

Philip Behenna, who lives on Eldon Way said he didn’t believe it would be less expensive to dig a new sewer pond than to deepen and line one of the three the district is already using.

“I’ve been told there is an immediate need for flood control and an eventual need for the effluent pond,” he said. “This project neatly fails address both of those.”

Mothersell’s attorney, Alex Flanga of Holland & Hart, cited Bing v. Douglas County, saying no one noticed Grand View Estates specifically.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthea Gregory countered that in the Bing case, the county was modifying Bing’s special use permit without notifying him. In this instance, Grand View Estates was outside of the required notification area. Mothersell said he found out Friday that the gravel pit would be on Tuesday’s planning commission agenda.

The sanitation district serves Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe communities and ships treated effluent over Kingsbury Grade to storage ponds owned by Bently Nevada.

Until 2004, the district used three unlined ponds in the Pine Nut Mountains for its effluent, but was required to stop using them after tests revealed they were leaking.

District Chairman Mike Bradford said the district believes that selling the aggregate is a legitimate way to keep the cost to its ratepayers down.

The district has also offered to dig the county a retention basin on the same property near Buckeye Creek which would reduce flooding on what Engineer Rob Anderson called the biggest drainage out of the Pine Nut Mountains.

The flood control structure wouldn’t be done for several decades. Anderson estimated the sewer pond would take nine to 18 years to complete depending on the demand for gravel and how long the district could use the Bently ponds.

Bently’s Matt McKinney said the company’s first loyalty is to the Minden Gardnerville Sanitation District, which also uses the pond. Treated effluent from both districts goes to irrigate fields in the summer, but must be stored over the winter. David Park said irrigation water from effluent kept fields off Muller Lane green long after traditional sources had run out.

Anderson said the site has gravel suitable for both concrete and asphalt and would provide a local source when the Bing Gravel Pit runs out of material.

He pointed out that Carson Valley builders would have to order gravel from out of the county if there wasn’t another local source. Anderson said testing revealed that blasting probably wouldn’t be required to mine the aggregate.

Trucks from the site would use Stockyard to reach East Valley Road and then turn south. Those destined for northern locations would travel down East Valley to Buckeye and then turn north onto Highway 395.

Those headed south would continue to Toler Avenue and turn down Waterloo to reach Highway 395.

One of the key issues for Planning Commissioners was potential damage to the roads. They approved the measures with $194,901 for road improvement through area. Anderson said that some of that would result from removing aggregate from the flood pond and so the cost should be borne by the county.