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News Archive

April 11, 2018

Land Use Department issues determination regarding Martin Marietta Materials Inc. Special Use permit

Land Use Director determines that approval for Martin Marietta gravel mining operations east of Lyons has not lapsed

Boulder County, Colo. - The Boulder County Land Use Department has reached a determination regarding gravel mining for Martin Marietta Materials Inc. under Resolution 98-32. The determination responds to a request from Martin Marietta Materials regarding the status of the approval.

While the director has determined that the use has not lapsed under Article 4-604.C of the Land Use Code, Martin Marietta still must establish a community advisory committee and complete an interim review, including public hearings with the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners, prior to commencing operations.


Boulder County conditionally approved Special Use permit SU-96-18 on August 20, 1998, by Resolution 98-32. The resolution approved a gravel mining operation (owned by Western Mobile at the time) in the Saint Vrain River valley east of Lyons, and consolidated several previous county approvals of Special Use applications for gravel mining in the area.

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. is currently seeking permission to continue activities under Special Use permit SU-96-18 by moving to the next phases of gravel mining operations. The permit approved a 30-year phased plan for gravel mining in areas totaling approximately 881 acres to allow the county, residents, and the mining company to review and address issues regarding larger area impacted and to better plan for reclamation instead of on a parcel-by-parcel basis.


After an exhaustive review of public information related to the area in question, Land Use Director Dale Case has determined that the use approved in permit SU-96-18 has not lapsed (view Determination Letter). This determination is based on Article 4-604.C of the Land Use Code (“the Code”). The Code provides that a use approved through Special Review shall lapse if there has been no activity under any portion of the Special Use permit for a continuous period of five years or more.

The Director’s Determination is limited to the narrow issue of whether the use has lapsed. The Code does not allow the county to look at impacts, including potential environmental or traffic inputs, as part of this determination. A subsequent action, known as an Interim Review, will be undertaken by the county to review environmental, traffic, and other land use issues through public hearings.

In making this determination, the Director reviewed information contained in Land Use Department files, permit documents from the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, information submitted by the public, and information regarding the status of use provided by a consultant hired by the county. The consultant’s report also gives the opinion that the use approved in Special Use permit SU-96-18 has not lapsed (view consultant analysis).

The approval in Resolution 98-32 encompasses all phases of mining operations and incorporated existing gravel mines previously approved through Special Use by the county. The approval governs not only the mining operations, but also activities related to planning, preparation, and all necessary post-mining reclamation activities. If the evaluation of “activity” did not include post-mining reclamation, for example, the county would not be able to enforce post mining requirements.

Next Steps

Resolution 98-32 requires an interim review five years prior to commencement of any mining at the site. In the course of this review, which shall include duly-noticed public hearings before the Boulder County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners, the county will review the next phases of mining activity. As a result of the interim review, new conditions of approval may be imposed and original conditions may be modified, reduced, or waived to accommodate changing technology, new knowledge of environmental concerns, or other new information not available at the time of the original approval. At this time, the county has not received an application or request to commence an interim review.

In addition, Resolution 98-32 requires Martin Marietta to establish a community advisory committee. Staff suggests Martin Marietta establish this committee as soon as is practical. The level of community interest in potential impacts of mining activities makes it important to establish an open and clear line of communication between Martin Marietta and area neighbors.

For additional information, or to submit questions or comments, or sign up for email updates, visit, or contact planner Christian Martin at 720-564-2629 or