Board revisiting asphalt plant ruling

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SAGLE — Bonner County commissioners are taking up a request to reconsider their approval of a controversial asphalt plant proposal.

The reconsideration request turned up on the board’s business meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. The matter is not set for a public hearing, however.

Last month, the county commission affirmed the Bonner County Planning & Zoning Commission’s approval of the project, which would relocate an Interstate Concrete & Asphalt plant from Sandpoint to Frank Linscott’s gravel pit alongside U.S. Highway 95 north of Monarch Road.

Interstate and its supporters recommended approval of the project as it would eliminate the need to haul it from the pit for refinement in Sandpoint. Neighboring landowners, however, have waged a years-long battle to oppose temporary and permanent batch plant operations for a host of reasons including toxic emissions, diminished property values and jeopardized water quality.

Opponents asked commissioners to reconsider their position and contend the surface mine’s conditional use permit was never finalized because conditions of approval were never fully satisfied.

Foes of the plant further argue that the gravel pit has tripled from 30 acres to nearly a hundred acres since 1997, which means the project’s reclamation bond is insufficient. The Idaho Department of Lands is seeking a $248,000 bond for the pit.

“Because your reclamation plan is now over 40 acres, your bond must be in the form of a traditional reclamation bond. Please contact our office to discuss this transition,” Alexis Poul, an IDL minerals program specialist, said in a 2016 letter to Linscott.

Linscott disputes the IDL’s contention that the pit covers nearly 100 acres, IDL records show.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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