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A controversial proposal for a recycling and trash-processing facility near the Interstate 70 exit ramp in Georgetown was denied Jan. 12 for zoning reasons. The proposed Timberline Disposal transfer …
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A controversial proposal for a recycling and trash-processing facility near the Interstate 70 exit ramp in Georgetown was denied Jan. 12 for zoning reasons.
The proposed Timberline Disposal transfer station/material recovery facility was found not in compliance with existing light-industry zoning by the Georgetown Board of Selectmen by a 4-1 vote, with Selectman Kathryn Johnson dissenting.
The transfer station was billed as a facility that could sort recyclables and process 100 tons of household trash a day from both Clear Creek and Summit counties. It was to be in the Gateway Mountainside Industrial District next to the I-70 exit ramp.
Timberline Disposal is a Silverthorne-based trash-hauling company owned by Larry Romine. He proposed a 4,800-square-foot building large enough for trucks to pull inside and dump trash to be sorted. After the trash was sorted, recyclables and trash would be hauled to Denver-area recycling stations and landfills.
It was the board’s finding that the transfer station wouldn’t meet the zoning requirements.
Mayor Tom Bennhoff said the definition of light industry for Georgetown wasn’t specific — hence, the issue of whether the transfer station met the requirements was not black or white.
“It was a zoning issue, and the zone there is light industry. At this point, the definition of light industry is at least debatable; therefore, you can have a difference of opinion,” Bennhoff said. “If someone wants to put something in that is not listed (in the zoning regulations), it becomes an interpretation of that zone and what should be in there.”
Bennhoff said it boiled down to four selectmen feeling that the proposed facility did not fit within the light-industry zoning and one feeling that it did.
Town Clerk Merinel Williams said there was no word yet if the transfer-station applicants were going to pursue the Gateway Mountainside Industrial District further and apply to change the site’s zoning.
Planning commission meeting
Discussion about the proposal in December before the town’s planning commission became heated in a meeting that lasted three hours, with residents on both sides voicing opinions.
It became so heated that commission member Kathy Hunninen was ejected from the meeting after arguing with other commission members about the proposal.
About two dozen residents attended the planning commission meeting to oppose the recycling station. Several spoke, some raising questions about environmental impacts such as noise, odor pollution, seepage from garbage trucks and possible groundwater contamination.
Others favored the proposal, saying it would encourage area residents to recycle. They said the potential negative environmental impacts could be mitigated.
The commission voted 2-1 to deny the request.
According to Bennhoff, between 15 and 20 members of the public attended the Jan. 12 board meeting and voiced a variety of opinions about the proposal.
“They all had an opportunity to voice their opinion. A lot of the opinions weren’t necessarily around zoning … some were around the idea of problems they felt might be with the transfer station,” Bennhoff said. “All of those (opinions) were expressed, but the issue before the board that night was zoning, and that was the vote.”
Bennhoff added that it’s important for the town to have a clearer definition of the types of industry that would be allowed in light-industry zoning in case another project attempts to locate at the site.
“I think that, at least in my opinion, it was obvious that we need some more definitions, and if we’re going to look at zoning issues in one zone … we should look at … any other zone that might (also) be up for interpretation,” Bennhoff said.
Contact Ian Neligh at firstname.lastname@example.org, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.
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