Plant manager Britney Guggisberg looks over the sand- and gravel-crushing and wash-plant operations at Martin Marietta Materials Inc.’s asphalt and ready-mix concrete plant in Greeley on May 18. Martin Marietta is proposing to build a similar plant in unincorporated Weld County one-half mile south of U.S. Highway 34 near the border of Larimer and Weld counties. The proposal has drawn the ire of residents of the nearby Indianhead Estates neighborhood. Joel Blocker/For BizWest

Battle continues over plan for asphalt plant Neighbors fear noise, dust, odors will devalue their homes

A controversial asphalt and concrete plant proposed in unincorporated Weld County will go back before residents of the nearby 125-home Indianhead Estates neighborhood in June for more review, as both sides in the battle vow to continue what already is a five-month fight.

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (NYSE: MLM) plans to invest an estimated $20 million in developing the 133-acre site at 27486 Weld County Road 13, near the Larimer/Weld border, that would produce asphalt and ready-mix concrete, have an aggregates sales yard and a rail-spur unloading facility to bring in raw materials.

Dave Kisker, a spokesman for the residents, said the heavy industrial use is a bad fit for the neighborhood because it will create more traffic congestion, train traffic, noise, dust and odor pollution, health hazards and disruption of wildlife in the area.

Scott Fenton, a homeowner in the neighborhood for 11 years, questioned the site selection during a meeting with Martin Marietta in January.

“I cannot believe your company has the gall to suggest, let alone build, an industrial plant that is practically on top of this neighborhood,” Fenton said. “With literally hundreds or thousands of acres in Weld County, why do you need to build this plant on top of a neighborhood that has been here since 1978? Your proposal is an assault on our home values and lives. How would you feel if some company built this plant in your backyard?”

Kisker is president of CLR-34 Neighborhoods Association, which represents about 300 people living in the area and initially was formed to advocate for less traffic congestion along U.S. Highway 34, which is one-half mile north of the proposed site. The group is raising funds through its website to challenge Martin Marietta’s proposal. Within the first week it raised $3,000, Kisker said.

“I don’t see how this project can be compatible with our neighborhood,” Kisker said. “This is not like people who buy or build a home near an airport and then complain about the noise. This neighborhood was here first. They (Martin Marietta) should be able to find another location.”

An architectural rendering shows Martin Marietta Materials Inc.’s proposed asphalt and ready-mix plant in unincorporated Weld County. The plant would include a rail spur that would connect to the Union Pacific Railroad by which raw materials would be transported to the plant. Courtesy Martin Marietta Materials Inc.
A view of Martin Marietta Materials Inc.’s asphalt production operations in Greeley from an asphalt storage silo. Martin Marietta is proposing a similar plant on 133 acres in unincorporated Weld County south of U.S. Highway 34 near the border of Larimer and Weld counties. Joel Blocker/For BizWest

David Hagerman, regional vice president and general manager of Martin Marietta’s Rocky Mountain Division, said 12 sites were studied, and this had the necessary elements as well as a central location to serve the growing Northern Colorado region with building materials for roads, homes and commercial buildings.

“This site met our requirements of being near a railroad. It has access to a highway system, it is large enough for the plants, and it doesn’t require trucks crossing through school zones,” he said.

Hagerman said its proximity to the Union Pacific and Great Western railroads will help Martin Marietta transport raw materials to the plant from its quarry in Wyoming, and its proximity to Interstate 25 and U.S. 34 will provide quick access to deliver finished materials by truck.

Hagerman said two to three trains will run per week, each with approximately 115 cars and four engines. They will be brought into the rail spur from the southeast.

“One train carries the equivalent of 400 truckloads,” he said.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company’s Rocky Mountain Division has manufacturing plants in Greeley, Fort Collins and sales yards in Berthoud and Longmont. Companywide, its operations span 32 states, Canada and the Caribbean.

Hagerman said the plans are being revised to address concerns expressed at the neighborhood meeting in January. The company will hold another neighborhood meeting in June before the plan is submitted to the Weld County planning department July 21. It is scheduled to go before the Weld County commissioners Aug. 12.

“We are adding berms around and within the operation to address noise and visual concerns,” Hagerman said. “Additional noise controls will be added within the asphalt plant, and we will use vertical tanks at the asphalt plant to reduce chemical odors.

“We will work with the Colorado Department of Transportation to improve the intersection of U.S. 34 and Weld County Road 13 to alleviate traffic congestion,” he said, adding that primary and secondary accesses to the plant will be from Weld County Road 13, which is on the west side of the property. The neighborhood is on the northeast side.

The plant is to come online in phases, with the ready-mix concrete plant scheduled to be operational in 2016, the rail looping connections on plant property connecting to the Union Pacific in late 2016 or 2017, and the asphalt plant in 2017. Once up and running, Hagerman projects the plant will produce 2 million tons of building material per year.

Because raw material supplies, mainly rock, have been depleted in the region, Hagerman said, they must be imported from surrounding mines. He said Martin Marietta’s operations will help reduce long-term construction costs and truck traffic by bringing in raw materials by rail to a central distribution point.

The Home Builders Association of Northern Coloradoi, which represents all segments of the residential building industry in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Windsor and surrounding areas, supports the project. Greg Miedema, executive director of the association, said the project ultimately will help keep new home prices down because it will keep material costs down for foundations and roads.

“We don’t want to diminish the concerns of the neighborhood,” he said, “but frankly, that land is not good for much else … it’s between two rail tracks. I think what they (Martin Marietta) plan to do could diminish the impacts of existing rail traffic that runs by the neighborhood. … By choosing this particular parcel of land it won’t take a prime property out of circulation for future retail and home construction.” 

A land deal must be completed before the plan can move forward. The property now is in two parcels, with 50 acres owned by Gerrard Construction and 83 by an investment group in Texas. Gerrard has the 83-acre parcel under contract, and plans to lease both parcels to Martin Marietta. The larger parcel would have to be rezoned from agricultural to industrial use.

Martin Marietta estimates property tax and sales tax generated by the project during the first 10 years is is approximately $36 million.

Doug Storum can be reached at 303-630-1959, 970-416-7369 or dstorum@bizwestmedia.com.

A controversial asphalt and concrete plant proposed in unincorporated Weld County will go back before residents of the nearby 125-home Indianhead Estates neighborhood in June for more review, as both sides in the battle vow to continue what already is a five-month fight.

Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (NYSE: MLM) plans to invest an estimated $20 million in developing the 133-acre site at 27486 Weld County Road 13, near the Larimer/Weld border, that would produce asphalt and ready-mix concrete, have an aggregates sales yard and a rail-spur unloading facility to bring in raw materials.

Dave Kisker, a spokesman for the residents, said the heavy industrial use is a bad fit for the neighborhood because it will create more traffic congestion, train traffic, noise, dust and odor pollution, health hazards and disruption of wildlife in the area.

Scott Fenton, a homeowner in the neighborhood for 11 years, questioned the site selection during a meeting with Martin Marietta in January.

“I cannot believe your company has the gall to suggest, let alone build, an industrial plant that is practically on top of this neighborhood,” Fenton said. “With literally hundreds or thousands of acres in Weld County, why do you need to build this plant on top of a neighborhood that has been here since 1978? Your proposal is an assault on our home values and lives. How would…