'I really don’t want you in my neighborhood!'

'I really don’t want you in my neighborhood!' »Play Video
BOISE, Idaho - Tree lined streets and manicured lawns, welcome to Aspen Cove Drive in Meridian. But this peaceful neighborhood is anything but peaceful these days.

"It's nice to come out here and sit on my deck, have my coffee, read my paper, and I'd like to do that without listening to a rock crusher run or back up beepers beep," Keith Ebeling said.

Over the hill from Ebeling's home you’ll now find a gravel pit. It’s in an area south of I-84 near the new Ten Mile interchange. Ebeling is president of the Aspen Cove Lake Association and says the operation is creating quite a stir with neighbors.

"There is an extreme amount of noise with this," Ebeling said.

In addition to the noise, Ebeling and his neighbors say the gravel pit creates a lot of dust. They're also concerned about their property values and have safety concerns with children living in the area.

"I really thought it was something that shouldn't be happening in a residential area," Ebeling said.

Idaho Sand and Gravel applied for and was granted a conditional use permit by the city of Meridian. The operation will be there until at least August of 2012. Now there's word the company plans to apply for another 18 months when the current permit expires.

"The only people I really can blame are in the city of Meridian Planning and Zoning, not the staff but the commissioners," Ebeling said.

At Meridian city hall, Deputy Planning Director Pete Friedman is in the middle of it all. While his office didn't make the decision to grant the permit, it did make recommendations to the commissioners.

"One of the things we included are some pretty clear guidelines on hours of operation," Friedman said.

Under the permit, major mining work can only happen between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. But it's still too much for some neighbors. Ebeling says he told a manager of Idaho Sand and Gravel,
“I really don't want you in the neighborhood.” Now Ebeling and his neighbors are concerned the company will apply for a second permit.

"I really can't predict if it’ll pass, if they (Idaho Sand and Gravel) make the decision to go forward with the renewal we'll just have to see how it'll play out at that time," Friedman said.

The first time around, only neighbors who live within 300 feet were notified of the public hearing on the gravel pit, now the whole neighborhood is paying attention. If there is a next time, home owners will likely make some noise of their own.

"I think right now our recourse is to just wait ourselves out through this 18 months and bear up to it," Ebeling said.

Idaho Sand and Gravel was contacted but refused to comment on this story.
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