County may give heave-ho to limited landfill plan
Bill Roberts has what he thinks is a great idea.
Roberts, owner of Western Slope Aggregates and Earthworks Construction in Carbondale, operates a gravel pit on 73 acres owned by Dee and Jean Blue on County Road 104, just west of the former Carbondale landfill.
Roberts would like to get into a limited landfill business. His idea is to fold shredded construction waste into the topsoil of his gravel pit.
The waste would not be garbage, but debris from area construction sites, Roberts said.
As property owners, but acting for Roberts, the Blues have requested that Garfield County amend the agricultural rural residential zone district where the gravel pit is located to allow for a landfill as a special use permit.
That request will be considered by the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission at 6:30 p.m. tonight in room 301 of the county courthouse.
“I see all this construction trash going down-valley,” Roberts said.
Wood would be separated from the rest of the waste and shredded. Added to the topsoil, it would create compost, Roberts said.
The rest of the construction material would also be shredded and buried separately in the topsoil.
When removing gravel from the pit, topsoil is moved to previously excavated areas. Construction waste would be mixed into this topsoil, Roberts said.
Roberts has operated the gravel pit for 13 years.
County officials are not convinced that Roberts’ idea has merit. The county planning staff recommended the Blue’s request be denied because there is no provision for landfills in the county comprehensive land use plan.
The staff memo also said Roberts did not provide enough information about the project to allow for a determination about whether or not it would be an appropriate use in that area.
The staff also suggested the comprehensive plan be modified to consider landfills, but only after hearing public concerns.
Like the municipal landfills in the area, Roberts would charge a tipping fee for dumping construction waste. He said his fees would be lower than government-run landfills.
Roberts’ attorney, Glenn Harsh, said while the state health department does not have regulations in place for landfills that take only construction or inert waste, the agency was receptive to the idea.
But Roberts does not see much hope for the project to get off the ground in the county.
“We can’t get off square one to set a precedent to solve this problem (of construction waste),” Roberts said.
What the county wants “is a $200,000 assessment or engineering survey that they can apply regulations to,” Roberts said. “When a guy like me comes up with a good idea … they’re scared of it. We’re nice guys. We’re just trying to make a difference.”
Representatives of The Ranch at Roaring Fork, a housing development on the opposite side of Highway 82 from the gravel pit, have objected to the proposal. Homeowners have written to the Ranch at Roaring Fork Homeowners Association voicing their concerns, said Ranch office manager Janet Boyle.
They are concerned about truck traffic, noise and potential contamination of groundwater, Boyle said.
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