By Naomi Hatch
Last week, the Snowflake Town Council approved an amendment to a special use permit requested by Mark, Jay and Norman Flake for a gravel mining operation. The permit was originally approved on July 19, 2011.
The Planning and Zoning Commission heard the amendment request on April 2 and unanimously approved it.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Dale Call explained that the amendment would allow access to the property through Industrial Way, north of Eurofresh, as well as the relocation of the crushing and sorting operation to the west into an area that would help obstruct the view of the operation and be further away from homes on Flake Avenue.
Councilman Tom Poscharsky asked what provision has been made regarding the Northern Solution. He pointed out that where their road would go is right over the Northern Solution, which is important to have completed because completion of that and the Southern Solution will take the industrial park out of the flood plain.
“We’ve had ongoing discussions between representatives of Flakes and Eurofresh to try to address concerns of the Northern Solution,” said Town Manager Paul Watson. He noted that the current plan submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency was to put underground piping under the buildings that would take flood waters, but staff didn’t feel that was a good solution, that it wasn’t adequate to carry the necessary flows.
Watson explained that because of the recent sale of Eurofresh nothing has been finalized, but he had notified Eurofresh officials that if they abandoned that road, they would have to provide access to the north.
“The problem of the road is more an issue with Eurofresh…we pretty much know they have encroached into that public right-of-way with some of their waste containers,” said Watson adding that they think the docks are right up against the roadway and probably in the right-of-way.
“But we feel the Flakes have met their obligations and the council should go ahead and approve this amendment to the use permit,” said Watson.
He also noted that the sale of Eurofresh was completed approximately two weeks ago and the town sent notification to the new owners to make them aware of the situation, but he had no response back as yet.
“Do we need to have more language in here according to what you’ve just said?” Mayor Kelly Willis asked Watson. “Do you think it would be good if the Flakes are willing to recognize that there is an issue of drainage that will need resolved, and if that channel is put in, they will need to make a new access point to their operation?”
“We have been addressing that issue before that second greenhouse was ever built.” said Mark Flake. “We tried to stop it from the beginning.” He added that Eurofresh also encroached on Flake property and because of that, the fields have been destroyed by flood water that was diverted onto Flake land, causing them financial losses. “We are interested in resolving the issue,” said Flake.
“To be honest with you, I’d put the burden on Eurofresh,” said Watson, noting that as long as there is an understanding with the Flakes that if that road is shut off at some point they would have to have new access.
Mayor Willis asked if that needed to be done contractually.
“The only thing they are requesting is amending the application,” pointed out Town Attorney Robert Hall.
“I’m not sure how this pertains to what we’ve asked for this evening,” said Flake, adding that every time they come before a different town council, more requirements are added and they have been working on this for five years.
Councilman Kerry Ballard moved to approve the permit amendment with the understanding on the Northern Solution and that there be utilities running through there some day. The motion passed unanimously.
By Naomi Hatch