Frac’ing support facility planned near western gateway to county |

Frac’ing support facility planned near western gateway to county

Dennis WebbGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A Texas company is planning to add to an increasingly industrial look along Interstate 70 west of Parachute.Frac Tech Services LLC intends to build a 25,000-square-foot office and service bay and 11,250-square-foot warehouse as part of a new industrial support facility 4.5 miles west of Parachute.Garfield County commissioners approved the proposal Monday.Frac Tech provides the oil and gas industry with well fracturing services, which involves pumping materials under high pressure into well formations to create fractures that increase production.The company plans to develop about 15 to 20 acres of a 77-acre property along Highway 6 just south of I-70. It will include parking for 44 trucks, and will operate 24 hours a day.The development will be highly visible from above for motorists on I-70, which serves as a kind of gateway that provides many visitors to Garfield County with their first impression as they travel from the west, county planning staff wrote in an analysis of the proposal.But the county comprehensive plan encourages commercial and industrial development in the western part of the county, and that already is occurring where Frac Tech plans to build. Nearby development includes the Traveler’s commercial subdivision, some gas well pads, a gas compressor station and a gravel pit.”The proposed use is a support business to the oil/gas exploration industry which is centered in the same area of the county as the proposed use. … In essence, the nature and character of the area has already changed significantly,” county planners wrote.The county is seeking to mitigate the project’s visual impact by requiring fencing, and use of earth-tone paints on buildings and rooftop equipment.The project has raised traffic-related concerns from the town of Parachute. Mayor Roy McClung wrote the county that he worries how much it will worsen congestion on Highway 6 and at the I-70 interchange in Parachute.McClung recently raised similar concerns in connection with plans by EnCana to operate 31 temporary housing structures on gas well pads north of Parachute. He has suggested that the county begin to charge road impact fees to help fund improvements associated with such development.County Commissioner Trési Houpt indicated Monday that she didn’t want the county to ignore the issue Parachute is raising.”It is their major concern right now,” she said.Commissioner Larry McCown noted that the county has contributed $50,000 to a traffic study at the interchange.Frac Tech officials said they were prepared to route all their traffic through DeBeque if necessary, to limit the impacts on Parachute.Employment at the facility is expected to start at 32, and potentially rise to 120.Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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