By Lisa Loomis

If the town of Waitsfield can get the 4,000 to 7,500 cubic yards of gravel it uses annually from a local pit, rather than from pits in Bolton and Granville, the town will save an estimated $262,000 in diesel fuels costs over the life of the gravel pit.

If the town can obtain its gravel locally over the 9- to 14-year life of the gravel pit, the town could save between $500,000 and $1.5 million on gravel costs (including diesel savings) during that time.

The town owns a 74.2-acre parcel of land off Armstrong Road on the west side of Route 100, between the Quackenbush property and the Center Fayston Road. The town purchased the property three years ago to be developed as a gravel pit.


The town select board met with Road Foreman Stuart Grandfield and engineer Jon Ashley for a review of the property and how to proceed with permits to create a gravel pit.

Ashley estimated that the town uses between 5,000 and 7,500 yards of gravel a year, although Grandfield put that number closer to 4,000 yards a year. Ashley said that field tests in the proposed pit showed an estimated 70,000 yards of gravel, although he said that was a conservative estimate.

Select board member Paul Hartshorn voiced doubt about that estimate. Ashley said that tests had shown it was 10 to 12 feet before they hit ground water and that topsoil made up about a foot and a half of the distance, with gravel found in between.


"I thought there was more than 10 foot of gravel. If we don't get well over 70,000 yards of gravel I'll eat what's left. Your estimate cut us down from well over 100,000 yards of gravel to 70,000," Hartshorn said.

Ashley said that the estimate was conservative and was also based on averaging top soil at a foot and a half. It varied throughout the site, he explained.

To proceed, the project needs to come before the town's Development Review Board for conditional use approval and also needs two state permits, a Multi-Sector General Permit and a stream crossing permit. The project will not require Act 250 review.

The pit is to be accessed through Armstrong Road, off of Route 100. This road is a shared driveway and access road that crosses land owned by David and Sherri Armstrong. The town is negotiating that access currently.

The project must adhere to state standards for buffer zones, stream setbacks, deer wintering yards and other standards.  The select board voted unanimously to send the project application to the DRB.