Neighbors to fight 2nd proposal for concrete company's quarry - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Neighbors to fight 2nd proposal for concrete company's quarry

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Colorado Springs based Transit Mix Concrete Company is reapplying to open a quarry at Hitch Rack Ranch in southwestern El Paso County. The company says it will help to close down other operations near Colorado Springs; people living near the proposed site say this starts the second battle between neighbors and the concrete company.

Last year Transit Mix applied for 400 acres on the Hitch Rack Ranch land, that proposal was denied after a vote by the Mined Land Reclamation Board because of neighbor complaints over water issues, wildlife and roads in the area. A new proposal is to mine a 200 acre area which the concrete company says will make less of an impact.

"It allows us to be economically competitive," said Jerald Schnabel, President of Transit Mix Concrete Company.

"Same location, Same serious issues," said Kristan Rigdon representing the Highway 115 Citizens Advisory Committee.

Transit Mix Concrete Company is taking another crack at opening a quarry on Hitch Rack Ranch just west of Highway 115.

"We revised this one," said Schnabel, "Reduced the size of it, addressed the three main issues and we're going back in with what we think is a plan to accommodate the neighbors down there."

The revisions for those three issues, 400 acres to 200 acres, wildlife corridors, and a private road, but neighbors say the main problem is water.

"For us any threat to our water supply is serious," said Rigdon, "We have no alternate supply of water."

Neighbors worry that water is in the rocks like an aquifer and don't want it wasted. The concrete company says if water does run off it'll be filtered then entered into the creek.

"It keeps us hidden from every angle," Schnabel said while showing a model of the area, "And I think that this reduction addresses the three major issues they talked about."

The company calls this a 4 for 1 deal. If the ranch quarry opens they would close and reclaim the Pikeview and Black Canyon quarries. Their downtown headquarters would move near South Academy in a more industrial area that they already own.

Neighbors say those moves have been in the works before this proposal.

"It just feels like a spin," said Rigdon, "That deal has absolutely no relevance on whether or not this highly controversial location is the right place for a quarry."

So why a second proposal? The company says they've looked at over 100 locations,"This was the least amount of impact, and we're not preaching no impact," said Schnabel.

The concrete company says 1,500 people live within a mile of the Pikeview quarry, while only 13 homes are within a mile of the proposed spot.

"We go down here and we reset out in a rural area with very few residents near the quarry," said Schnabel.

But the people just outside that mile radius will continue the fight to protect the land,"We already have three quarries within a five mile radius this will be the fourth," said Rigdon, "We already have heavy truck traffic. We will continue to fight to oppose this quarry."

The concrete company says the movement of four locations could happen over the next three to four years if the proposal passes.

The Highway 115 Citizens Advisory Committee says they are waiting to see the proposal to create a plan of action.

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