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Neighbors fear gravel pit on Homestead RoadTell North Platte what you think

A proposed gravel pit was delayed Tuesday on the northwest side of the city, after a dozen neighbors protested to the Lincoln County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Complaints were so numerous that property owner Scott Heinzen withdrew the request.

“We are kind of shell shocked at the negativity,” Heinzen said during a long discussion. “We are not trying to shove it down anyone’s throat.”

Heinzen said he will try to reassure the neighborhood and bring it up again.

SEMA Construction of Centennial, Colo. -- the general contractor to build the overpass -- wants to excavate the pit and use sand from the pit to build part of the north embankment of a new Birdwood overpass on the west end of Bailey Yard on Front Road.

Scott Gerrard of SEMA said workers are ready to start the overpass embankment. The company wants to build the embankments before cold weather sets in, so the sand can settle for a required six months in the winter and spring. That way, work can prceed to girders and decking next summer and fall.

But neighbors said Homestead Road is the only road in and out of their homes and object to intense truck traffic that might also damage the road.

Heinzen said the “borrow pit” would be on five acres of land near the end of the Road and trucks would only run for 30 days or so, but residents said the agreement is too open-ended and fear the project might escalate.

Heinzen said he has a grip on it all and plans to build a new home there in the spring.

Eric Seacrest of North Platte was the first to object.

“For several decades I have been pushing for a viaduct at this location, but this would be for the convenience of the contractor and not for the benefit of the county,” Seacrest said.

Seacrest said the land around HOmestead is home to "truly world-class livestock."

"I hope you look after the interests of the county and livestock producers, and not the contractor,” he said.

Neighbor after neighbor came up to speak. One of them, attorney Terry Waite, said most of the neighborhood just heard about the pit and came separately to lodge their protests.

Waite called it a precarious situation.

No mobile home

Also, after residents who live near a proposed mobile home on Moran Canyon Road protested, the zoning board voted against the mobile home.

Vern Hiatt represented the owners, and said afterwards they would probably build a small house instead, for which they need no zoning permits.

The home is for a Florida couple who visit an aging mother and their son in North Platte from time to time. Hiatt said they need a place to stay when they are in Nebraska.

Neighbors worry that a mobile home would decrease property values in the pristine canyon. The zoning commissioners expressed concern that the mobile home would be empty much of the time and would be hard to secure in high winds, then voted 6-1 against.

In other action, the board:

• Approved a borrow pit on 40 acres at 9041 East Shack Road, which is off State Farm Road, two-and-a-half miles east of the Newberry I-80 access road.

Paulsen Construction will own and operate the pit.

Neighbor Mary Dailey objected, worried about truck traffic. A Paulsen representative said the company will respond to problems if they occur.

• Approved a 1.04 acre subdivision on McPheeters Road southeast of Brady for an agricultural dwelling.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/14/2012
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