Mat-Su planning commission turns down request for gravel pit

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:40 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Neighbors voiced their objections, and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning Commission heard them.

Members unanimously voted Monday night to reject a limited permit to build a gravel pit in Meadow Lakes.

“It does not meet all of the standards of the Mat-Su Borough code,” said Mark Whisenhunt, with the Planning Department, who stated some of the reasons why he and others recommended not to approve the request from Quality Asphalt Paving,

QAP, and its parent company, Colaska Incorporated, wanted to build the pit off of Sylvan Road on land owned by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. The agency said proceeds from the project would have gone to help Alaskans who are dealing with medical issues such as mental illness or Alzheimer’s Disease.

Homeowners in the impacted area posted signs to oppose the project and delivered that message at the hearing.

“I’m begging you guys, please, please, please, do not approve,” said Doris Coffin, who also opposed the gravel pit over health concerns. “I can’t take this dust and the smell from all this, I can’t inhale those, I do have an inhaler on hand if I have to live with that.”

Roger Oliver also attended the meeting. He had a tentative deal to sell his house in the area — not anymore.

“Due to the new information pertaining to the gravel pit, the people backed out,” Oliver said.

However, not everyone at the meeting opposed the project. Emily McDonald, an environmental project manager with Umiaq Environmental, spoke in support of quality asphalt.

“Impacts to air quality, impacts to local air qualities are not expected to increase above what is already there in the local area,” McDonald said.

Despite the comment, the Planning Commission turned down the request. QAP has 21 days to appeal the decision.

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