Planning, zoning board weighs requests during special meeting
Seating a quorum in the nick of time, the Carbon County planning board was able to conduct a special meeting Dec. 11 to move on items needing action before the end of the year.
Scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. with only boardmembers Earl Gunderson and Richard Tatton in attendance, a question hung in the air whether business could go forward.
But members Mike Milovich and Lynna Gray arrived and the three-item agenda went forward.
Zoning administrator Gayla Williams and county planning director Dave Levanger arranged the 11th hour special gathering so the board could hear proposals from Jake Oil of Utah.
Jake Oil requests included rezoning the company's parcel maps and the issuance of a conditional use permit to drill three wells in the Bruin Point area.
Additionally, the board heard a request from Nielson Construction to build and operate an asphalt plant.
The urgency of Jake Oil's request came to light after the company's operation was already in full swing and the owners realized they had not cleared it with the county, according to Williams.
"They thought by doing everything required by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining and getting a clearance from the county road department for encroachment that they had fulfilled their obligations," said Williams. "Since they have another rig lined up for later in December, we had to call a special meeting."
Williams explained that a public hearing on the requests were necessary and that it needed to be before Dec. 31, hence the need for Tuesday's meeting.
Jake Oil's representative Jennifer Olson caught the commissioners up on the operations at Penta Creek and Patmos Ridge above Sunnyside.
"We've got one well drilled and we have two other wells where we set surface," she said. "The rig is coming back later this month."
Olson indicated that the company plans to have the wells and pipeline completed and connected with Questar by April.
Despite the last minute call to service, the commissioners didn't skip a beat and seemed adequately schooled on the Jake Oil's requests.
Gunderson asked if the company's rig was the one he could see by his house.
He also asked about where the water for the project was coming from.
Gunderson told Olson that he had met with East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine and the two had discussed providing water for the project.
"The mayor was interested in what your plans are and he's extended an invitation to meet with him," pointed out Gunderson.
The county planning and zoning boardmembers unanimously moved to grant the zone change and then reviewed the request for the conditional use permit.
Milovich asked that two additional requirements be added to the overall conditions for the permit.
The Carbon commissioner wanted it agreed that the company would repair any damage that may incur to county roads and, if the dust issues were to arise, Jake Oil would put in control measures.
With the additions specified by Milovich, the conditional use permit was also granted by the planning board.
Had Jake Oil not pursued the proper permits, Levanger indicated that the county would have, as a worst case scenario, to write a stringent letter warning the company that the situation is a violation of county codes.
"But these kind of actions are always a last resort," said the county planning director, indicating that working with the company to get Jake Oil into compliance was the preferred alternative.
The planning and zoning board then moved on to review the request by Nielson Construction for the conditional use permit to build a hot plant for asphalt production.
Nielson Construction is moving the company's operation from Huntington to the site off Utah State Highway 10 and Ridge Road.
After reviewing an aerial picture of the proposed site, the commissioners seemed comfortable moving through the request.
The only comment of note was from Gunderson, who observed that the fact that the new plant would be in an area with no private residences was a positive aspect.
Asphalt is actually a naturally occurring substance present in most crude petroleums, according to wikipedia.org
Asphalt is sometimes confused with tar. In fact, according to several resources on the Internet, including enchantedlearning.com, the famous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, Calif., are actually more than 100 asphalt pits.
Hot plants such as the Nielson operation process the substance to create a variety of mixes that meet the specifications of different projects.
According to Arthur Usmani, chief scientific officer of Usmani Development Company, Indianapolis, in the preface of his book Asphalt Science and Technology, about 70 billion pounds of asphalt is used annually in the United States alone.
The public hearings for the matters involving Jake Oil and Nielson are scheduled Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. at the Carbon County Courthouse, 120 East Main in Price.
For additional information, Carbon County residents may call Williams at 636-3710.