Q. How long have you been planning this and why are we just now hearing about it?
A. After extensive evaluation, Martin Marietta has carefully selected this site for the proposed facility because it meets many of the site selection criteria (See the FAQs below for more details about site selection). Martin Marietta held a neighborhood meeting, open to the public, in January 2015 to present the general land use concept and proposed operations of the Highway 34 Development. Martin Marietta collected all the neighborhood feedback and concerns, commissioned impact studies related to the issues of concern, and integrated mitigation strategies into the site plan and USR application in order to propose a plan that will minimize impacts on surrounding properties.
Q. Why did Martin Marietta choose this site? Why didn’t you choose a different site farther away from neighbors?
A. The proposed project site was carefully selected by Martin Marietta for the proposed facility because it meets many of the site selection criteria identified by Martin Marietta that are necessary to support the facility. Specifically, the property is in an area where there is access to railroad. Union Pacific Railroad and Great Western Railroad both have rail lines in the area. This site has frontage along the Union Pacific Railroad and the property meets the size and topographic (relatively flat) requirements necessary to allow for the construction of a rail spur. In addition, the site is conveniently located along WCR 13, a major north-south road, and is just ½ mile from Highway 34. The site is located in the region of northern Colorado where a significant amount of economic development is taking place that is demanding construction materials (aggregate, concrete, and asphalt), all of which will be generated at this proposed facility. Martin Marietta took a look at a number of properties along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Weld County to try and find properties that would meet their needs, and it was determined that this property best fit their criteria. A report outlining other sites Martin Marietta looked at as well as the criteria that Martin Marietta used to find a site for their facility is included in the USR application as a supplemental report titled Site Selection Report.
Q. The proposed site is located on 133 acres. How much of the 133 acre site will be used by Martin Marietta’s operation?
A. Approximately 100 acres of the parcel will be actively used for Martin Marietta’s operation. The majority of the unused acreage is situated on the east end of the site. With the exception of the rail loop which requires the facility to use the entire acreage in order to meet railroad design standards, Martin Marietta made a conscientious effort to locate our proposed facilities on the west end of the site in order to provide a larger buffer between our active operations and the Indianhead Estates Subdivision.
Q. We heard you are pursuing another site for your facility near Windsor. Why aren’t you just pursuing that site?
A. Martin is currently investigating another site along the Great Western Rail Line, east of the town of Windsor. The Highway 34 site is a larger site with additional setbacks, open space, and buffers. In addition, it has easier access to major arterial roads and is located directly on the Union Pacific rail line, eliminating the need for additional rail transfers between multiple railroad companies.
Q. What will the impacts be to our air and water?
A. There will be no adverse impacts to air or water. The EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)’s Air Pollution Control Division regulate the activities proposed on the site (aggregates processing, stockpiling and loading, asphalt and ready-mix concrete production). The proposed facility would be required to obtain an air permit by demonstrating compliance with state air-quality standards.
Martin Marietta will provide the municipal water district the volume of water required for the proposed operations. No mining will take place on the property. All facilities will incorporate the required environmental protection and use best management practices. No impact to groundwater are anticipated.
Q. What about odors – will we smell this plant?
A. Occasionally, odors from heated materials may emanate from an asphalt plant, but they pose no danger to plant personnel or to the communities in which it operates. Martin Marietta is required to comply with federal, state and local odor regulations. Measures are taken to reduce odors within the plant design, such as vertical orientation of the liquid AC tanks.
Additionally, Martin Marietta trains and certifies staff to operate and maintain equipment that measures odors. This ensures full compliance with all rules and regulations. Martin Marietta has never exceeded any existing rules and regulations at a similar site.
Q. Are these emissions dangerous? Do they cause asthma? Are they particularly dangerous for children?
A. Martin Marietta is committed to the health and safety of its employees, neighbors and northern Colorado communities. The state of Colorado would not issue for a permit for a facility that would harm public health. Human studies have found no clinical evidence that asphalt plant production has contributed to increased incidences of illness or cancer.
Facility workers would be closest to potential emission sources, but they are at low enough concentrations that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not require asphalt plant employees to wear respirators. Workers at the Taft Hill Asphalt Plant are monitored for total suspended particulates, which are airborne particles and soluble benzene. Results are well below acceptable levels as determined by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Association of Governmental and Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).
Q. What are the projected noise impacts?
A. Based on the sound analysis study prepared for the project, the proposed Highway 34 Development would meet County and State noise regulations without incorporating noise mitigation measures into the site plan or the plant operational activities. However, in the interests of being a good neighbor and improving land use compatibility, noise mitigation techniques are being implemented at the site including the use of earthen berms, white noise back-up alarms, a below-grade hopper, and acoustical enclosures. For more details, refer to the Sound Analysis study found in the USR application.
Q. What steps do you need to go through with the County for approval and will we be given opportunity to comment at each step?
A. Martin Marietta has submitted a Use by Special Review (USR) application to Weld County. Through this process, there will be a hearing before the Weld County Planning Commission, at which time they will make a recommendation regarding the application. From there, the application is forwarded on to the Weld County Commissioners for another hearing, at which time they will make a final decision about the application. There are opportunities for the public to speak during both hearings.
Q. When will you start the operations, if permitted?
A. Construction would begin in late 2015 and operations would be phased in over the next 24 month period. Once constructed, it will take several years to be at full capacity.
Q. How long would this facility operate?
A. This is a permanent facility. The length of time it operates would depend on economic factors.
Q. What are the hours of operation?
A. Generally, operations would take place during daylight hours six days a week. It may include some early morning or night work, but hours will be dictated by customers’ project requirements. Therefore, Martin Marietta is requesting the ability to operate the facility 24/7.
Q. Will this harm our property values?
A. Property values are closely tied to the economic climate of a community and Weld County has one of the strongest economies in the state of Colorado. A benefit of a strong economy is increased building demand, which results in sustained or increased property values. This is evidenced by the continued development around the Highway 34 and I-25 interchange area. Many factors, including fear of the unknown and fear of change on undeveloped land could potentially affect real estate values. Due to the efforts we are making to design the Highway 34 Development so that we operate as a good neighbor, we do not believe that the project will harm property values.
Q. Will trains block traffic on local county roads?
A. Trains will arrive to the site from LaSalle and once at the site the train will enter the rail loop and remain on the loop until the train leaves the facility. Trains will not stop at any railroad crossings due to unloading being located onsite, therefore wait times at the crossing will be minimal.
Q. What is the economic benefit of this project to the region?
A. Martin Marietta will invest an estimated $20 million in developing the Highway 34 Development, employing over 100 people with an estimated payroll of $4 million annually. Indirectly, the project will employ 4,300 employees who live and work in the region. Estimated property tax and sales tax generated by the project during the first ten years is in excess of $36 million. Key customers that Martin Marietta serves in Weld and Larimer Counties include county and city governments, the Colorado Department of Transportation, general contractors, homebuilders, and oil and gas companies.
As coarse sand and gravel deposits become depleted in Northern Colorado, construction costs and congestion will increase as materials are imported from surrounding areas. Martin Marietta’s project will help reduce long-term construction costs and congestion by bring in material by rail to a central distribution point.
Q. What were the primary issues of concern Martin Marietta heard from neighbors during and after the January 2015 Open House?
A. Concerns raised during and after the meeting focused on the following areas:
– Odor and air pollution
– Property values
– Wildlife impacts
– Site selection
– Impacts to mountain views
Q. How is Martin Marietta going to address the January 2015 Neighborhood Concerns?
A. Martin Marietta hired experts to study the project and provide analysis on impacts to the surrounding neighbors and potential mitigation actions to minimize impact and ensure compliance above existing regulations. These studies include noise, traffic, health, air emissions, wildlife, engineering review of existing irrigation ditches, and water supply studies. These studies were completed and findings were incorporated into the submitted Weld County USR application.