Re-1 to weigh in on Carbondale trash facility impacts
September 14, 2012
CARBONDALE, Colorado – A proposed solid waste transfer station outside Carbondale is cause for concern for Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials.
In particular, heavy truck traffic serving the facility that would pass by two Carbondale schools located on Snowmass Drive would pose a danger to students and parents, Crystal River Elementary School Principal Karen Olson said at a Wednesday school board meeting.
“Traffic is already pretty congested coming in and out of the schools,” she said. “We don’t allow school buses to mix with parent vehicles for that reason. The thought of adding big trucks on that route is scary.”
In addition to the elementary school, Carbondale Middle School is also located on Snowmass Drive.
IRMW II LLC, which owns the former Mid-Continent coal loadout property on Garfield County Road 100 (Catherine Store Road), and local trash hauler Mountain Rolloffs Inc. (MRI), are seeking permits from Garfield County to operate the waste transfer station at the old loadout.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled before the county commissioners at 1 p.m. on Monday.
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The plan involves use of the long, 40,000-square-foot building on the site to transfer solid waste and recyclable material collected on area routes from trash trucks to larger semi-trailer trucks.
Trash would not be kept on site longer than 24 hours before it is trucked away to area landfills and recycling destinations, MRI owner Don Van Devander said during a site tour with county commissioners on Monday, Sept.10.
Between three and five semitruck trips per day will travel the haul route through Carbondale to and from the transfer station, using Highway 133 and Snowmass Drive, he said.
The Re-1 school board, meeting at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale Wednesday, directed staff to write a letter to the county expressing concerns about traffic and other impacts.
“As a board, I thought we should discuss this and that we ought to impress upon the county commissioners that the hauling not occur during school transit hours,” school board president Matt Hamilton said.
The school board stopped short of urging the county commissioners to deny the waste transfer station, without hearing from both sides of the issue. The Carbondale Board of Trustees has recommended denial of the project.
MRI’s Van Devander said there would be no truck trips on Snowmass Drive during school drop-off and pick-up times, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and from 3 to 4 p.m.
But school officials said the potential for conflicts extends beyond those hours.
“At a minimum, they should control the hours of the operation,” said Shannon Pelland, Re-1 assistant superintendent of business services.
“There are kids crossing the road constantly during the school day, so it’s not just those hours,” she said.
If approved, the school board would like the commissioners to consider any other conditions that could help ease traffic and conflicts with the schools.
Olson added that the potential for fires started at the waste transfer station could impact the school as well, which is situated on the other side of White Hill from the facility.
“My concern is there may not be enough water storage on site to keep a fire from getting out of control,” she said. “If a fire comes over that hill, we would have a big evacuation to deal with.”
Van Devander said fires should not be a concern, because the trash will not be kept on the site any longer than 24 hours.