A Lehi sand and gravel pit will finally get the restoring that county officials have been seeking for the past five years.
Utah County commissioners have approved a settlement with Thomas J. Peck & Sons Inc. that will ensure about $65,000, or $1,850 per acre, is spent to reclaim part of the 35-acre Concrete Products Co. pit.The agreement ends a five-year court battle and removes an injunction that has stood against Peck & Sons since early this year. Utah County sued the Lehi contractor in September 1993 alleging that work being done at the pit was without proper licensing, outside of permitted limits and threatening nearby properties.
The pit is at the county address of 7751 N. 7600 West in an area surrounded by property that is within Lehi city limits. The pit lies within a transitional residential zone, which does not permit such excavation.
The original lawsuit documents alleged that the company mined sand and gravel periodically in the pit after January 1992 and increased that activity substantially in 1993.
According to court documents, the county claims the pit was cut too steeply and that more than 5,000-square-feet of material was excavated, more than the amount allowed under a county use permit. However, county officials say Peck & Sons did the work without obtaining a county permit and a business license.
While the pit was being excavated, homes were constructed on the eastern and southeastern edges of the pit area. According to the complaint, Peck & Sons' actions created a "dangerous nuisance in that the walls of the sand pit have been dug away in such a steep fashion as to exceed the critical angle of repose, thereby placing in peril the adjoining property owners land through slope instability."
The county suggested that the company be fined $2,000 a day beginning March 1, 1993, until the alleged illegal operation stopped. However, a permanent injunction went into effect on May 15, 1998, that halted work at the pit.
Peck & Sons can continue working in a portion of the pit if the company obtains the proper county permits. The reclamation work will mainly be made to portions of the pit near residential areas.
The engineering firm of Dames & Moore Inc. prepared the reclamation plan, which seeks to eliminate depressions in the pit and construct gentle slopes leading to the drainage outlet. Once the plan is complete, off-site drainage will be minimal and not exceed what would exist if the land were in its natural state.
The side walls of the pit will be smoothed and evenly contoured and the pit floor flattened. Surface materials used for final reclamation will support the native vegetation's effort to regrow.
A buffer zone of 50 feet from the property boundary has been included in the plan, with no excavating or filling to be allowed within that zone. The pit's access road will be gated and posted "No Trespassing."
Commissioners said the price for the reclamation plan is higher now than if Peck & Sons had bonded for the damage when they started excavation - $1600 per acre as opposed to the current $1850 per acre.
Under the agreement, Peck & Sons will also have to pay a portion of the county's attorney fees.