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County affirms no environmental statement needed on Forada gravel pit

Douglas County commissioners agreed with the Douglas County Planning Advisory Commission's recommendation that an environmental impact statement is not necessary for the potential gravel pit near Forada.

The commissioners made that decision at Tuesday's regular board meeting.

Prior to taking action, Dave Rush, director of Land and Resource Management, explained to the board that they were not making a decision on the actual project, but that they had to decide if more information was needed on the proposed gravel pit project if a permit was applied for and brought before the board.

Because the potential gravel pit would be less than 40 acres, the environmental impact statement is not required but can still be done if deemed necessary, according to Rush.

Commissioner Jerry Rapp questioned the size of the gravel pit, stating that it "looks sneaky." The proposed size of the pit comes in at 39.9 acres.

Rapp also asked Rush, "If we decline not to permit it, can they go to the state? Can they circumvent the permitting process?"

Rush reiterated the fact that a permit, at this point, is not in question.

"We have no permit to consider yet," he told Rapp. "And there is nothing they can do to circumvent the process."

While no Forada residents were at Tuesday's meeting, they have been vocal in their opposition to a gravel pit, citing noise and traffic among their concerns.

Minnerath Investments LLC, owned by Joe Minnerath, who also owns road contractor Central Specialties Inc. has proposed digging gravel in Hudson Township, next to the city of Forada.

The plan calls for an entrance and exit on County Road 4 at the north end of the site. It would operate from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday from April through November, with trucks making an average of 10 trips to the gravel pit per hour.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in nearly 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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