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Geneva Rock seeks to expand its gravel pit

For decades, Geneva Rock has extracted sand and gravel on specific pieces of its 400+-acre parcel at the Point of the Mountain Quarry. The land in Draper City that Geneva is currently using for extraction activities is zoned appropriately for mineral extraction (M2). Over the last decade, Geneva Rock has unsuccessfully sought to expand its extraction operations onto land zoned for agricultural use. Geneva has repeatedly applied to Draper City to rezone pieces of its land currently zoned for agricultural use (A5) to mining use (M2). Sensing political opposition to its rezone requests, Geneva withdrew its rezone applications from agricultural (A5) to mining (M2) in 2015, 2018 and 2020, before the Draper City Council had an opportunity to vote on the applications.

Recently emboldened by the Utah state legislature’s changes to mining laws, Geneva has taken two steps to expand its extraction activities in Draper. Most recently, in March 2022 Geneva applied for a bedrock mining permit with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) that would allow Geneva to expand its extraction operations into portions of Geneva’s property not currently part of its DOGM permit.

In November 2021 Geneva also filed a “Declaration and Notice of Vested Mining Use” with the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office. Essentially, Geneva has unilaterally declared it operates a “vested mining use” under Utah law that is not subject to Draper City’s zoning on its land that is next to the existing Point of the Mountain Quarry. This is a brazen attempt to bypass Draper city’s local land use authority.

In response, Draper city filed a lawsuit in District Court to invalidate Geneva Rock’s claim that its Point of the Mountain quarry is a “vested mining use” under Utah law.

Let’s be clear: the issue at hand is not Geneva’s right to mine land that is entitled for mining use under its existing DOGM permit. The key question is if Geneva is legally allowed to bypass Draper city’s land use authority and unilaterally expand its mining operations on land that is zoned for agricultural use. On this question, Draper City believes that Geneva Rock should go through the normal process to request to change the zoning designation for those areas that currently prohibit mining activity.

Local elected officials, with the input of their residents, oversee certain land use decisions to protect and promote orderly development and the health, safety and general welfare of the public.

All of us are subject to local government zoning authority on land use matters so why should Geneva receive special treatment?

The answer is simple: they should not. Let me know what you think!

Councilman Cal Roberts