17.105.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this regulation is to establish reasonable and uniform limitations, safeguards, and controls for the wise utilization of commercial mineral deposits and for subsequent reclamation of the excavated land.  This regulation shall be known as the Pueblo County Mineral Resource Extraction Regulations and shall pertain to any commercial or non-commercial mining of commercial mineral deposits within the boundaries of Pueblo County. This regulation is designed to provide a clear and practical set of rules and steps for the preparation of an application to permit mining and reclamation of commercial mineral deposit resource areas while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Pueblo County.  This regulation has been designed to be consistent with the Pueblo Regional Development Plan and other County regulatory documents.  This regulation does not affect special use permits for mining, issued prior to the adoption date of this regulation, unless the applicant files an application for expansion or significant changes to the original special use permit at which time compliance with the regulations will be required.

17.105.020 Authority.

The following State Statutes give Pueblo County the power and authority to create and enforce this regulation known as the Pueblo County Mineral Resource Extraction Regulations.

  1. CRS 30-28-111:  Enables land use regulation through zoning.
  2. Article 20 of Title 29 (H.B. 1034, 1974, “Local Government Land Use Control Enabling Act,”):  Grants counties and municipalities broad authority to plan for and regulate the use of land.  No restrictions, conditions, or procedures are proscribed for local governments under this statute.  CRS 31-23-225, which requires a municipality to notify the County, as well as the Land Use Commission and State Geologist, of a proposed major activity (covering five or more acres of land), prior to approving any zoning change, subdivision, or building permit application associated with that activity.

17.105.030  Applicability.

This regulation shall apply to any private use, commercial use, or public use related to the activities described herein within the boundaries of unincorporated Pueblo County limits.  All mining operation and processing are subject to the requirements of this section.  In the event that the provisions of this section conflict with any other provisions of the Pueblo County Code, this section shall supersede as it applies to mining operations and processing.  This section is to supplement Title 17, Chapter 17.140 APPEALS – Article 1, Section 17.140.050 Special Use Permit Standards of the Pueblo County Code in the area of Mineral Resource Extraction.

17.105.040 Definitions.

The application of the following terms and associated definitions shall be limited to those applications submitted under this section of the Pueblo County Code.  These terms and definitions do not modify, alter, or replace any other terms or definitions included within other sections of this Code, including, but not limited to, those terms and definitions contained within the Pueblo County Code, Title 17, Chapter 17.04 GENERAL PROVISIONS AND DEFINITIONS.

Mineral Deposit, Commercial

A natural mineral deposit of limestone, clay, coal, dimension stone, marble, rock, sand, shale, silt, gravel and quarry aggregate for which extraction by an extractor is or will be commercially feasible and regarding which it can be demonstrated by geologic, mineralogical, or other scientific data that such deposit has significant economic or strategic value to the area, State, or nation.

Mineral and natural resource extraction

The physical withdrawal of minerals and natural resources.

Mineral processing plant

Facilities for the manufacture or reduction of minerals.


The extraction of commercial mineral deposits.

Mining operation

The development or extraction of a commercial mineral deposit from its natural occurrences on affected land.  The term includes, but is not limited to, open mining, surface operation and surface clearing (rock picking) of individual stones and stone boulders.  The term also includes transportation and processing operations on affected land.  The term does not include:  Oil and/or Gas Operations; the concentrating, milling, evaporation, cleaning, preparation, transportation, and other off-site operations not conducted on affected land.


Any activities associated with the preparation of commercial mineral deposit for use.  These activities include, but are not limited to:  on-site transport, waste products from air emissions control and water treatment, crushing, screening, washing, slabbing, polishing, grinding, concrete or asphalt mixing (does not include concrete batch plant and hot mix plant) or other such action exclusive of extraction.


The employment, during and after an operation, of procedures reasonably designed to minimize as much as practicable the disruption from an operation and provide for the establishment of plant cover, stabilization of soil, protection of water resources, or other measures appropriate to the subsequent beneficial use of the affected lands.

Mining shall not be defined to include any other type of operation such as concrete, asphalt, or other manufacturing operations.  Additional special use permits as well as the appropriate zoning will be required for those operations if they are to occur within the permit area for mining operation and processing.

All mining operation and processing shall comply with all State and Federal regulations related to mining, air quality, water quality and water law, and stormwater.

17.105.050 Requirements for a Mining Operation and Processing:

The following zone districts shall be for mineral resource extraction only; no processing shall be included:

  1. A mining operation and processing is permitted only upon issuance of the following:
    1. A Special Use Permit as stated in the Pueblo County Code, Title 17, Chapter 17.140 APPEALS-Article 1, by the Pueblo County Planning Commission.
      1. The Special Use Permit Application shall include a copy of the letter of completeness from the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (they conducted their completeness review and have found the application to be complete), and a copy of the complete application with associated exhibits.
  2. The areas allowed for a mining operation and processing are as follows:
    1. Zoning Requirements:
      • Agricultural Zones
      • Residential-Agricultural (R-A) Zone
      • I-1, I-2, and I-3 Zones
      • S-1 Zone District (all uses except for an emergency facility require a special use permit)

      The following zone districts shall be for mineral resource extraction only; no processing shall be included:

      • R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, R-5, R-6, and S-3
  3. Should the final reclamation plan for the site incorporate water storage with a capacity of 500 acre feet or more, it may require review and approval of a permit under the Pueblo County Code, Title 17, Division II. Areas and Activities of State and Local Interest (also known as “1041 Regulations”), Chapter 17.172 REGULATIONS FOR EFFICIENT UTILIZATION OF MUNICIPAL AND INDUSTRIAL WATER PROJECTS.
  4. An appeal of the final action by the Pueblo County Planning Commission can be appealed to the Board of County Commissioners as outlined in Sections 17.140.100-17.140.105.

17.105.060 Operational Restrictions

The mining operation and processing shall operate in accordance with the following conditions as well as any additional conditions imposed by either the State or local application review process, or the permit may be revoked following a public hearing by the Planning Commission:

  1. Application:  The special use permit application for a mining operation and processing shall include a copy of the deed for the surface owner and provide the identity of subsurface owners.  A copy of the reclamation bond required by the State of Colorado must be submitted prior to the start of operations.
  2. Time Restrictions:  Excavation, screening, or crushing shall not occur outside the hours of 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. if the operation is within 1,500 feet of a residential structure or a commercial structure such as a hotel, motel, or lodge that provides sleeping accommodations.  This shall be measured from the special use permit boundary to the wall of the closest residential or commercial structure.
  3. Drainage Restrictions:  The operator shall not excavate, store overburden, or construct a dike in such a manner as to increase any drainage or flooding onto property not owned by the operator or permit holder or cause any damage to public property or facilities.
  4. Zoning and Building Codes:  Structures or buildings on the property of the permitted gravel mining operation must conform to all County zoning standards and building codes.  Construction trailers and temporary buildings shall be included in the special use permit application and depicted in the mining plan.
  5. Roads:  The mine operator is required to apply for an Access Permit through the Department of Engineering and Public Works and to comply with all conditions of the Access Permit.
  6. Haul Route Plan:  The operator shall designate haul routes on Pueblo County roads for a specific mining operation application.  It is preferred that a Haul Route adhere to the following:
    1. Avoidance of Developed Areas.  Truck haulage and traffic routes shall be designed to the maximum extent feasible to avoid residential areas, commercial areas, schools and other civic buildings, municipalities, and already congested locations.  Alternative routes shall be identified.
    2. Timing of Hauling.  Timing of truck traffic may be controlled to prevent congestion or adverse noise impacts or safety risks.  Timing shall also be controlled to take into consideration school bus pick-up and drop-off times.
    3. Load Control.  Applicant shall prevent loss of loads and fugitive dust emissions during transit, and shall be responsible to ensure that haul routes are maintained in accordance with dust-suppressant methods required by applicable State or Federal agency.
  7. Dust Control:  The operator of the mining operation is required to control dust at the mining and processing site such that adjacent and downwind-developed land is not impacted.
  8. Protection of approach, departure, and circling airspace for all airports:  A mining operation with reclamation plans that provide for a permanent lake, water storage, wetlands, and/or any creation of wildlife attractants shall be coordinated with the Airport Sponsor, the Planning Commission, the FAA and FAA’s technical representative, the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as part of the permit application.

17.106.070 Specific Development and Performance Standards.

  1. Transportation Impact Analysis and Mitigation
    1. Purpose

      This section is meant to ensure that mining operators plan, manage, and mitigate impacts to Pueblo County roadways and bridges that result from a mining operation, processing, and ongoing new traffic generation.  In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the existing and future residents of Pueblo County, mitigation of potential transportation impacts shall be required.

    2. Transportation Impact Study

      Applications for all mining operation and processing may be required to include a transportation impact study, which shall clearly identify and distinguish the impacts to Pueblo County roads and bridges related to the haul route, and ongoing new traffic generation.  All required studies shall be prepared in accordance with the Pueblo County Roadways Design and Construction Standards (Standards) or other guidelines as provided by the Pueblo County Department of Engineering and Public Works.  The process for mitigation of transportation impacts typically includes a plan for traffic control, the receipt of all necessary permits, ongoing roadway maintenance, and improving or reconstructing County roads, including providing financial assurance.

      1. Traffic Control Plan Required

        A traffic control plan, prepared by a Professional Engineer licensed to practice in the State of Colorado or a Certified Traffic Control Supervisor, shall be prepared for each phase of construction where Pueblo County roads will be utilized for transportation of materials in support of site construction and/or operations.  The plan shall include the following components:

        • Traffic Control Plan (TCP)
        • Haul Route Plan
        • Existing Conditions Survey
      2. Construction Drawings Required

        In the event that public road improvements are required, pursuant to Access Permit approval, to accommodate a mining operation and/or processing, drawings prepared by a Professional Engineer licensed to practice in the State of Colorado shall be approved prior to permitting work in the right-of-way.  Such drawings shall be in substantial conformance with the Standards, as determined by the Director of the Pueblo County Department of Engineering and Public Works.  Financial assurance shall be required for the construction or reconstruction of all public roads.  The following permits, studies, plans, or approvals are typically required prior to construction of public improvements:

        • Access Permit
        • Pueblo County Right-of-Way Excavation Permit
        • Erosion and Stormwater Quality Control Permit
        • Traffic Impact Study
        • Traffic Control Plan
        • Approval of Overweight and Vehicle Size Transport
      3. Maintenance

        In the event that the activities of an operator cause any roadway to become substandard, Pueblo County shall require the operator to provide ongoing maintenance of the applicable substandard County roadways.  Such maintenance may include dust control measures and roadway improvements such as graveling, shouldering, and/or paving as determined in the Transportation Impact Study.

      4. Site Access

        Any access to a property from a Pueblo County roadway requires a Pueblo County-issued Access Permit or if located within the Pueblo West Metropolitan District requires a Pueblo West Metropolitan District-issued Access Permit.  Through an intergovernmental agreement between Pueblo County and the Pueblo West Metropolitan District, the requirements for access and drainage are addressed by the District.  Access permits for access to the Pueblo County road system are issued through Pueblo County Department of Engineering and Public Works or the Pueblo West Metropolitan District (District) for roads within the District.  Access permits are revocable upon issuance of a stop work order if permit violations occur.  The permitting and construction of site accesses shall comply with the Standards.

      5. An Agreement with Pueblo County for use of Pueblo County maintained roads may be required.

        The Agreement shall reference the Plan, a Transportation Impact Study, along with the associated construction drawings and cost estimate.  Such agreement shall be supported by an acceptable form of surety Bond or Letter of Credit acceptable to the Pueblo County Attorney.

      17.105.080 Procedure for Mining Operation and Processing Requests

      The extraction of commercial mineral deposits with the necessary accessory uses shall be permitted in the zones described in this regulation upon approval of a special use permit and in conformance with an approved excavation and reclamation plan.

      1. All applications will require a public hearing before the Pueblo County Planning Commission.  Recommendations from the Planning Commission will be considered in a regular meeting of the Pueblo County Planning Commission for approval of a special use permit for a mining operation and processing.  The planning staff, prior to submission to the Planning Commission, will review permit applications for completeness.  The planning staff may reject incomplete applications.
      2. Waiver of Requirements:  The Planning Commission may approve a waiver to any of the above Special Use Permit requirements, except those conditions and permits issued by outside agencies, if a written report provides clear data that the requirement is not necessary to meet the intent of this regulation and to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the community and the rights of adjacent property owners.  This recommendation if accepted shall become a part of the permanent record and permit.
      3. If the Planning Commission, in its discretion, determines that the applicant is not proceeding with due diligence to establish the Special Use Permit in accordance with the conditions placed on the approval, then it may direct staff to so advise the applicant of its concerns and, further, to schedule a hearing pursuant to notice in accordance with Title 17, Chapter 17.140 APPEALS – Article 1 of the Pueblo County Code ordering the applicant to show cause why the Special Use Permit should not be revoked for a failure to establish the use or to proceed with due diligence in establishing the use in accordance with the conditions placed on the approval.

      17.105.090 Procedures and Policies Following Approval of a Special Use Permit for Mining Operation and Processing by the Planning Commission

      The following conditions, procedures, and regulations shall apply to any mining operation and processing after approval and until the required reclamation has been completed and approved by the appropriate State agency and the Pueblo County Planning Commission.

      1. Prior to commencing mining activities, the applicant shall provide the Department of Planning and Development a copy of the approved mining and reclamation permit issued by the Mined Land Reclamation Board, Department of Natural Resources, State of Colorado.
      2. Prior to commencing mining activities, the applicant shall obtain several other permits, in addition to the special use permit.  Depending upon the nature and location of the operation, a mining operation may/or may not require permits from the following agencies and copies of any approved permits shall be submitted to the Department of Planning and Development:
        • Colorado Department of Health, Air Pollution Control Division - Fugitive Dust Permits
        • Colorado Department of Health, Water Quality Control Division - State of Colorado Stormwater Discharge Permit
        • Pueblo County Department of Public Works - Access Permit, and Pueblo County Stormwater Discharge Permit
        • Pueblo West Metropolitan District - Access Permit and Stormwater Discharge Permit
        • Colorado Department of Transportation - Access Permit and Stormwater Discharge Permit.
      3. The applicant shall provide the Department of Planning and Development a copy of all other required Federal, State, and local permit applications, approvals, amendments, waivers, temporary cessation, intermittent status or releases (e.g., air quality, DRMS, etc.) pertaining to the special use permit within 30 days of their submittal to the respective agency, and approval by the respective agency.
      4. Substantial changes to the approved special use permit shall require an amendment to the special use permit.
      5. Where the operation is adjacent to subdivided and/or developed commercial, and/or residential property, screening and buffering shall be used to mitigate visual impacts.  Screening and buffering may be accomplished by the use of sight-obscuring plant materials, earth berms, walls, or a solid screen fence of natural color to prevent visibility of the mining operation if deemed necessary by the Department of Planning and Development.  The operator may screen and buffer the entire area or only the area of excavation; however, no screening or buffering shall be removed until the area has completed reclamation.  This requirement can be relaxed by recommendation of the Planning Commission if the operational safety and visual impact of the mining is not compromised.  Any relaxation of this standard must be specifically cited in the conditions of approval of the special use permit prior to filing with the Department of Planning and Development.
      6. Haul roads and storage piles within the premises shall be maintained in a reasonably dust free condition to meet the requirements of this regulation.
      7. All air emissions shall conform to Federal, State, and County Standards in place at the time of operation.
      8. All water uses and discharges shall conform to standards established by the State Water Pollution Control Commission, the water laws of the State of Colorado, and Federal water quality standards.
      9. The permit holder must submit a copy of the annual report required by the Mined Land Reclamation Board/State of Colorado for the duration of active mining activity, and during reclamation activity, to the Department of Planning and Development.
      10. All slopes shall be stabilized and land remaining above the natural water level shall be re-vegetated in a manner compatible with the surrounding area, and subject to the approval of the appropriate State agencies.
      11. The operator shall have a comprehensive weed evaluation done by either the County extension agency, a weed control district office, private weed consultant/contractor, or the Noxious Weed Management Agency for Pueblo County for the mine permit area during the months of June through September after permit approval.  Upon completion of the comprehensive weed evaluation:
        • Should State-listed noxious weeds be found on the site, a copy of the Integrated Noxious Weed Management Plan from the agency that conducted the inspection shall be submitted to the Department of Planning and Development and the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.
        • Should State-listed noxious weeds not be found, a letter stating that no weeds were present shall be submitted to the Department of Planning and Development from the agency that conducted the inspection.
        • All fees incurred for a comprehensive weed evaluation shall be paid by the operator.
      12. Right to Inspect:  The Board of County Commissioners or its official representatives in the form of the Planning Commission Board, County Engineer, or Department of Planning and Development shall have the right to inspect the property at any time as a condition of this mining permit for the purposes of determining compliance with County regulations, compliance with conditions of approval, or for concerns of public health or safety.  The owner, operator, and representative will be given three (3) days notice of said inspection and a representative shall be present for the inspection. (Res. P&D 15-025, app. 5-13-2015)