DRAPER — A proposal to expand a gravel pit at the Point of the Mountain got caught between a rock and a hard place Wednesday.
More than 100 residents packed the Draper City Council Chambers to voice their concerns over the proposed extension, only to learn that Geneva Rock had changed its plans. Presented with the new proposal, the council informed Geneva representatives they either needed to proceed with their original presentation or start the application process over.
The company originally asked for a rezone of 73 acres of its property to allow for industrial manufacturing in an area once zoned for residential at Point of the Mountain.
As part of the application, Geneva proposed to forego any mining at Steep Mountain, a hot spot for hang gliders, and instead establish a 78-acre conservation area with an easement granted to Draper or Salt Lake County, said Dave Kallas, spokesman for Geneva Rock.
Some residents and local medical professionals have expressed concerns about how potential pollution from the expanded gravel pit could affect the health of people in Draper and surrounding communities.
But as Kallas presented the company's plans Wednesday, many in the crowd and among the City Council were surprised to learn the company had modified its proposal after hearing public objection.
Kallas said Geneva officials "know there's been a lot of concern about this proposal."
He said instead of 73 acres, the company is now asking for 18.5 acres to be rezoned to allow for mining, while the rest of the area would remain "as is."
The area Geneva wants rezoned will be "not getting any closer (to homes) than what is happening in the Lehi area" and will be even "further back," Kallas said.
Additionally, the requested area is "a lot lower, so it actually brings the height of the mine down," he said.
"This is a significant reduction. But in addition to that, what we have done is we have identified 22 acres in our currently permitted property that we will reseed. It's exposed land, it's exposed to the wind and it's disturbed from mining. … We would go and reseed those 22 acres, which would help reduce the total overall exposed area," Kallas said.
While Kallas was in the middle of his presentation, Draper Mayor Troy Walker interrupted.
"It is completely different than what was presented. … This is a significant change in the game," he said, calling for a recess to allow the City Council to discuss the changes.
When they returned a few minutes later, the council said that Geneva could either present its original application or start the application process over again.
Geneva's legal counsel asked for "five more minutes" for Kallas to give the rest of the presentation "since everyone's here," but was denied.
Kallas then said he would withdraw the application and start over.
Because the City Council did not have a chance to vote on the proposed rezone, Geneva will not need to wait a full year to start the application process over again — as it would have had the council voted, said Draper City Attorney Mike Barker.5 comments on this story
Kallas said Geneva will draw up its revised request and submit a new application in the "near future."
"After receiving feedback from the city, the public and other stakeholders, Geneva Rock decided to reduce the size of the area that it had requested for rezone," Kallas said late Wednesday in a statement to the Deseret News.
"Because the proposed reduction was significant, the city will require Geneva Rock to return to the planning commission, where we can explain our revised request and allow the public to weigh in," he added.