Gravel Pit Stirs Up More Than Dust

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100430.gravel_pits.jpgDiana Gish/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly met in a worksession last night. The borough conference room was packed with attendees but for the first time in three months the topic of interest was not trash, but gravel.

On the agenda was a public hearing for a long-term gravel pit lease with Brechan Enterprises. The contract calls for a nine and a half year lease for extracting gravel from the pit in Bell’s Flats.

The comments that were made during the meeting revealed some of the neighborhood tension that exists between those operating the gravel pit and the people who live close to it.

Lauren Slater was one resident who spoke at the public hearing.

(Gravel 1 :43 "To date the … quickly and quietly.")

The concerns expressed by the residents included noise and air pollution, negative affects on the area water and fish, and a lack of security. One of the Bell’s Flats residents called the gravel pit a "Kodiak Disneyland" because of the number of four-wheelers and other vehicles that joy ride there.

One speaker representing the Brechan company said that trespassing in the gravel pit is an issue of parental and personal responsibility since there are signs posted that tell people to stay out.

Another concern that was expressed last night was about the speeding vehicles coming in and out of the gravel pit.

One man who came with his two sons to testify on that subject was Joe Delia (duh-lee-uh).

(Gravel 2 :38 "I’m a resident … struck my wife.")

Mike Martin of Brechan Enterprises took exception to some of the public comments and he defended his company’s drivers.

(Gravel 3 :28 "As you can … ticket out there.")

The security issue was further discussed with ideas ranging from the possibility of fencing around the gravel pit to the use of video cameras and a security shack.

Borough Manager Rick Gifford conceded that having a gravel pit in a residential area is not an ideal situation.

(Gravel 4 :16 "You know if … the issues are.")

Assemblywoman Judy Fulp suggested that an advisory board or task force be created to address the concerns of community members living next to the gravel pit.

Some of the Assembly members said they would need more questions answered and more time to study the issue before voting on the contract.

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