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County OKs competing waste recycling facility

Western Slope Recycling, co-owned by David Gitlitz of Aspen, won a special use permit Monday from the Garfield County Commissioners to build a construction materials recycling transfer station near Rifle.

Gitlitz plans to open the 11-acre recycling transfer station at Lacy Park, at the southeast corner of the West Rifle interchange of Interstate 70, company representative Tom Beard told the commissioners.

Gitlitz is also a co-owner of Battlement Mesa Co., where Beard serves as the general manager.



The application calls for a 49,000-square-foot complex of three buildings, along with storage and handling yards. Beard said construction and demolition materials will be taken in at the Rifle site, then shipped to recycling facilities by truck or train.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to approve the special use permit, with Commissioner Tresi Houpt voting no.



Houpt told Commissioners John Martin and Larry McCown she needed some financial questions answered before proceeding, because Western Slope Recycling could have a huge financial impact on Garfield County’s own recycling operation at its Anvil Points landfill.

“The county has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into our landfill,” Houpt said.

Commissioner John Martin countered, “Economics are not a criteria of our review process.”

Garfield County landfill supervisor Craig Kuberry backed up Houpt’s claim,

He said the county could lose $300,000 in revenues per year if companies bring their construction and demolition materials to Western Slope Recycling rather than Anvil Points.

“That’s a worst-case scenario,” Houpt said.

Beard discounted Western Slope Recycling’s impact on the county’s recycling program.

“I don’t believe this transfer station will preclude the continued existence of the county’s landfill,” he said.

Glenwood Springs City Councilman Dan Richardson also spoke at the meeting, and said Western Slope Recycling could hurt the city’s South Canyon landfill and recycling operation. He said the city could also lose $300,000 per year ” money that goes to help subsidize services such as the annual community clean-up day.

“The impact can be substantial,” Richardson said.

Houpt asked county attorney Don DeFord if the county could operate an exclusive landfill, barring the Western Slope Recycling facility under the landfill certificate of designation granted by the state for Anvil Points.

DeFord said the county can’t prohibit an operation like Western Slope Recycling, because the facility would not be a landfill or a solid waste disposal site.

At that point, the commissioners held a 15-minute closed door session to confer with DeFord.

After emerging, Houpt made a motion to continue the public hearing until Jan. 19, so that staff could research the certificate of designation issue. The motion failed.

The next motion, made by McCown, was for special use permit approval. In casting his vote with Martin, McCown said, “I see this as an asset to the county. I see it extending the life of our landfill.”

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534

lburton@postindependent.com


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