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Meadow Lakes Residents Upset About Gravel Operation Turned Landfill

By Abby Hancock, Reporter (Social Issues, Youth Issues, and 2 Your Health), ahancock@ktuu.com
Published On: Jul 14 2014 09:40:50 PM AKDT

Some residents in the Meadow Lakes area are raising concerns about the potential impact of an unlicensed gravel extraction site that the Mat-Su Borough shut down in June.

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Some residents in the Meadow Lakes area are raising concerns about the potential impact of an unlicensed gravel extraction site that the Mat-Su Borough shut down in June.

B&E Construction had been operating the site since 2006, extracting and hauling gravel. But when the borough received a complaint in April about trash and debris that the company had dumped on its property, the borough found the company did not have the required permit for its gravel operations or a permit to use the site as a landfill.

Alex Strawn, the borough's development services manager, says the borough shut down the operation after the company failed to get into compliance. "(B&E) had not removed the trash or applied for a conditional use permit, and on top of that they had been hauling a significant amount of gravel from the site without a permit," Strawn said.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," says Nicolette Anderson, a Meadow Lakes resident upset about the gravel site, lack of permits, and the trash.

Anderson and other residents are worried about the impact a gravel site could have on their property values. Increased traffic to the area and the noise of the operation are also among their concerns. Many residents have a low water table too.

"With all this gravel and trash they've recently brought in, and the digging that they're doing, they're going to get really close to that water table and it's possible contamination to our water wells," Anderson said.

On Friday, the borough denied B&E's request for a short-term permit, which means operations should be at a stand-still for now. But since June, Strawn says the company has been cited twice for illegally extracting or hauling gravel.

Channel 2 called B&E for comment Monday, but has not heard back from the company.

"They need to be held accountable for what they've done -- I believe they need to be shut down, period," Anderson said.

While many in Meadow Lakes echo that feeling, some are still on the fence about whether the site should be shut down altogether, and hope the company gets into compliance soon.

"I'd like to see the trash dealt with according to law and standards; I'd like to see them put on notice to keep their permits up-to-date," said Lee Ames, a Meadow Lakes resident. "You've got to get your gravel somewhere. Nobody wants it in their backyard."

The borough has yet to decide on a conditional use permit for long-term operations and whether it will allow the site to continue to act as a landfill. Strawn says about 90 percent of the concerns the borough received were about the junk and trash in the gravel pit.

Residents will have a chance to talk to the borough's Planning and Zoning commission when it takes up the issue, according to Strawn.