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Lathrop appeals Bristol gravel pit Act 250 permit denial

BRISTOL — The Lathrop Limited Partnership last week appealed the denial of an Act 250 permit for its proposed Bristol gravel pit.
As a result, activity in the company’s years-long effort to get approval to extract sand and gravel from a 65-acre lot off Rounds Road in Bristol returns to the Vermont Environmental Court.
Mark Hall, Lathrop’s lawyer, said the next step in the case is to figure out who is participating other than the applicant and what issues are being raised with the court. He anticipates a scheduling conference with the court possibly as soon as mid- to late-September.
Bristol resident Jim Lathrop filed the original conditional user permit for the pit in 2003. Though the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the applications, Bristol residents opposed to the pit appealed the decision to the state Environmental Court. Lathrop in 2007 filed a separate, modified application, but the ZBA rejected this request, a decision Lathrop in turn appealed.
Environmental Court decisions were postponed until the District Commission made a decision about the proposal’s Act 250 permit. On July 27, the Natural Resources Board’s District 9 Environmental Commission denied the project an Act 250 permit on the grounds that it “would cause and result in a detriment to public health, safety or general welfare.” The commission — which for this case was made up of members of the District 1 commission because all of the usual District 9 commissioners recused themselves
The commission said that using the 10 criteria outlined in the state land use law, the Lathrop application did not conform to criteria 8 (aesthetics, noise, visual impacts, and odors), 5 and 9K (transportation safety/pedestrian safety and impact upon public investments), 9E (impacts from pit operations, sufficiency of reclamation plan and blasting impacts), and 10 (conformance with town and regional plans). The official denial held out the possibility that Lathrop could provide additional information that would allow the commission to determine if the proposal met some of those criteria.
Opinion on the pit proposal is polarized in Bristol. In fact, the District 9 Commission that ruled on the application was temporarily made up of members of the District 1 Commission because all of the District 9 commissioners had recused themselves from the case.
John McCright is at news@addisonindependent.com.

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