EUGENE, Ore. — A local company says its trying to find middle ground between what’s best for it and what’s best for the community, but some west Eugene neighbors are speaking about Delta Sand and Gravel’s expansion plans.
The company says while it still has a few years left on the land it has now, Delta Sand and Gravel says it’s time to prepare for the future.
While residents say they understand that, they don’t support an expansion that could creep up to their backyards.
“It’s farming. It’s pastural. It’s really quite and beautiful. The current operations of the pit you can’t even see,” said Eugene resident Scott Elsasser.
But that could all change.
“If they do the pit that they’re talking about you could walk up to this fence and walk straight into the pit,” Elsasser said.
Elsasser lives right just off Division Lane, and his house is right next to where Delta Sand and Gravel hopes to expand. While he admits the noise and dust aren’t much of a problem now, he thinks that could change, which is why he showed up at Friday morning’s hearing.
“It was kind of amusing actually when reading the newspaper article that the manager Stan Picket didn’t say traffic, he said the expansion would not hurt the quality of the lives of the neighbors, but it seems to me that he must not live 50 feet away from the property line like I do,” Elsasser said.
Elsasser wasn’t alone. While a few people at the hearing supported the expansion, the vast majority of Friday’s public comments opposed the plans.
“The proposed expansion will most definitely hurt my quality of life,” said one attendee.
“Quality of life doesn’t seem to come into their equation at all. At any rate, it doesn’t belong there,” said another attendee.
The company is not only battling its neighbors, but the county too, about whether or not they can even mine in the proposed area.
“The diagram that Lane County is relying on went through a significant seven-year process. The map the applicant is using has not gone through that same level of analysis,” said Matt Laird, Lane County Planning Director.
Delta’s president Stan Pickett says his company’s been a part of the community for 85 years and is doing the best it can for both its business and the surrounding community.
“We want to be a good partner for the city of Eugene, Springfield, Lane County and our surrounding neighbors, and we’ll work to the end to do that. So we’re also a business, and our business is to mine and gravel, and we need to have the resources to do that,” Pickett said.
“I do feel the quarry plays an important part in the Eugene area. It’s definitely necessary. I just hope they can minimize the impact on existing neighborhoods as much as possible,” Elsasser said.
The public has 10 more days to weigh in on Delta’s expansion plans. After that, each side will present its arguments. A judge is expected to have a decision by mid-April.