CARBONDALE, Colorado - A third group of homeowners has joined the fight against a proposed solid waste transfer station and recycling facility along Catherine Store Road (County Road 100) east of Carbondale, according to a member of the group.
And the opposition is spending money to get their point across to the Garfield County commissioners, who are scheduled to review the application for the transfer station on Nov. 19 in Glenwood Springs.
The Blue Creek Ranch Home Owners Association (HOA) on Thursday voted unanimously to join forces with homeowners in the Mayfly Bend and Roaring Fork Preserve subdivisions, to defeat a proposal from Mountain Rolloffs, Inc. (MRI), according to Scott Bayens, a homeowner at Blue Creek.
As part of the Blue Creek Ranch effort, according to Bayens, the HOA has pledged to contribute $3,500 toward a study to determine the effects on local property values, should the transfer station be approved and start operating.
"We feel pretty strongly that this independent study will prove what we suspect," Bayens said, "which is that there would be a significant hit on property values."
Mitch Knutson, president of the Roaring Fork Preserve HOA, said the total cost of the study is approximately $20,000.
"Everybody is involved in it, all the HOAs," he said.
All three subdivisions are located along Catherine Store Road between the proposed transfer site and the junction with State Highway 82.
Although the company's plans originally called for access routes along Catherine Store Road, as well as through Carbondale, the current plan is for the company's trucks to exclusively use Catherine Store Road and Highway 82.
Mountain Rolloffs, a regional waste hauler, has been trying for more than a year to win permission from Garfield County to use the old Mid-Continent loadout building as a transfer station and recycling processing plant, for trash collected in the middle part of the Roaring Fork Valley.
The 35-acre site is owned by a group of local investors known as IRMW II LLC. It has been used for a range of light industrial purposes since the Mid-Continent coal mines closed in the early 1990s.
Based in Silt, MRI described itself in its land-use development application as "the only full-service, locally owned and operated waste hauler and recycler headquartered in Garfield County."
MRI general manager Don Van Devander told the commissioners in September that the transfer facility would take solid waste from trash collection trucks.
After sorting out items that cannot be put in landfills, such as batteries and tires, handlers will load the trash onto larger semi-trucks to be taken to area landfills.
Between three and five semi truck trips per day to and from the facility are anticipated to start, and up to 10 as the operation grows.
Trash will not be kept on the site for more than 24 hours, Van Devander said.
"This is not a landfill or dump, and it can't be turned into one," he told the commissioners.
Recyclable material and construction waste, including concrete, wood and steel, will also be collected and sorted on site, then bundled and hauled away.
The county commissioners in 2011 declined to modify the county's "use by right" regulations to include MRI's type of facility, which would have allowed the company to move forward without going through the normal land-use review process, including public hearings.
After a hearing in September, the commissioners put the application on hold until mid-November, in part to give time for a reviews of the application by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
In addition, the county and MRI were to evaluate whether a haul route along Catherine Store Road, including the existing bridge over the Roaring Fork River, would be adequate and feasible.