County holds off on Carlton gravel pit decision, mediation planned

Missoula County commissioners could not reach a final decision Thursday for a potential gravel pit expansion in Carlton, but did recommend mediation between the two groups dueling over the pit’s existence next to a neighborhood. 

The commissioners must decide whether the company Western Materials can expand its pit into a new section of unused land. The area south of Missoula has been historically zoned residential, but the gravel pit received a variance to operate in the 1990s.

The Carlton Protection Trust, a group of neighbors represented by a team of lawyers, allege the gravel pit has been illegally in use since it skirted zoning regulations to get a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality.

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The variance request is to allow the existing 80-acre gravel operation on the east (shown outlined in green) to expand into the 70-acre area shown outlined in red and yellow. The expansion will nearly double the size of the operation.

Missoula County

It remains unclear how the pit went from a small operation

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