Don’t Trash Carbondale wants proposal junked
CARBONDALE – Opposition has sprung up concerning a plan to turn the old Mid-Continent Resources coal-processing facility east of Carbondale into a combined solid waste transfer facility and recycling center.The development drama is scheduled to play out before the Garfield County commissioners at a hearing April 18.A group calling itself Don’t Trash Carbondale (online at http://www.donttrashcarbondale.com), which one of its founders described as having about 25 members, is hoping to at least force the proponents of the plan to go through a full Garfield County review process.”We’re all for recycling. I think it’s something that we need,” said Mitch Knutson, one of the group’s founders. Knutson lives in Denver but plans to build a house on property he owns in the Roaring Fork Preserve, near where the recycling and transfer facilities would be.Knutson said the group believes the proposal should undergo a more stringent review than the proponents of the facility are angling for.”We just want the procedures followed,” Knutson said.The proponents, Mountain Roll-offs, Inc. (online at http://www.mrico.net) of Silt and IRMW LLC of Carbondale have applied for an amendment to the county’s land use codes to make their proposal a “use-by-right” in areas zoned for industrial uses.The site, which sits opposite the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo grounds along Catherine Store Road (County Road 100), is zoned for industrial uses.At its most recent meeting, the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission declined to endorse the proposal, and instead recommended to the county commissioners that the proposed facility undergo a “limited use review.”The county has four levels of review for land use proposals:1. Use by right, which essentially permits a landowner to undertake a development scheme with very little county intervention.2. Administrative review, which authorizes the director of the county’s building and planning department, Fred Jarman, to either approve or deny a development application without a formal review before any board or commission. Jarman’s decision, however, can be appealed to county commissioners.3. Limited impact review, which involves what planner Glenn Hartman called “a fairly extensive submission” of documents in support of a proposal, and requires just one public hearing on the matter, before the county commissioners.4. Major impact review, which also involves a substantial submission of documents and requires two public hearings, one before the planning commission and one before the county commissioners.Under the current code, the recycle center must undergo a major impact review, while the solid-waste transfer center requires a limited impact review.The project’s proponents want both aspects of the application to be permitted as a use by right.Knutson and his group want exactly the opposite – a full review for the entire proposal.”We want the process to work,” Knutson said. “We want all the studies to be done, we want all the information to come out.”He said the group worries that the recycling facility might end up dealing with such hazardous items as old batteries, electrical components, tires and other refuse that is not accepted at a regular landfill. Such items might end up being stored at the MRI facility, Knutson said.Another founder of the Don’t Trash Carbondale group, Tom Kilby of River Valley Ranch, said his main concerns are the noise from the proposed operation, the potential for long-idling diesel trucks polluting the air, and the effects on wildlife in the riparian zone along the Roaring Fork River and cycling tourists on the Rio Grande Trail.Noting that his family owns land along County Road 100, Kilby said, “Even living in RVR, we still have the same problems as far as what this facility is going to do. It’ll change the character of Carbondale.”Noting that Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot wrote a letter in favor of the proposed facility, Kilby said, “If we as a community want to have trash as an industry, fine. But let’s do it right.”Doing it right, he said would involve strict safeguards regarding noise, air and water pollution, traffic management and other functions, which he worries cannot be done effectively by local governments.Don Vandevender of Carbondale, the public spokesman for the proposal, could not be reached for comment, as he was on vacation.Earlier this year, however, he said the facility will be handling household trash and garbage, but that it will not be licensed to handle hazardous waste.The proposal will go before commissioners on April 18, at which time they could leave things as they are, requiring two different levels of review for the two aspects of the proposal.Or, the board may accept the P&Z’s recommendation and require a limited impact review for the whole proposal, meaning the proponents would need to submit a new application to the county.Or, commissioners could approve a code amendment, giving use-by-right status to the firstname.lastname@example.org
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