Hot Sulphur Springs officials tell county what they think about proposed transfer station
March 22, 2009
The following is a Feb. 26 letter from Hot Sulphur Springs town officials to the Grand County Board of County Commissioners:
The Board of Trustees of the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs (the “Town” or “we”) would like to thank the Grand County Board of County Commissioners (the “County” or “Commissioners”) for agreeing to meet with us at a public meeting on February 16. Towards the end of the above mentioned February 16 meeting, Commissioner Newberry requested that the Town write a letter clarifying its position with regard to the transfer station. The Town discussed this matter extensively at a recent Town meeting and intends for this letter to serve as the Town’s position regarding the Transfer Station.
While the Town does understand the County’s need to formulate a comprehensive solid waste plan for Grand County in a timely manner, we have not been pleased with the County’s chosen process for locating the proposed solid waste transfer station just outside of Town limits. While we appreciate the County’s efforts over the past month to create and allow for more of a public dialogue on the transfer station issue, we do not believe that a dialogue should take the place of a formal hearing through the County’s special use permit process. We understand the Commissioners’ claims that they have “muddied the waters” in regards to their ability to consider the special use permit, but do affirm through this letter the Town’s belief in the Commissioners’ ability to conduct a fair and impartial hearing regarding the use of a transfer station at the proposed location and listen to all sides of the debate. Further, we are concerned that the County would be setting a dangerous and ill-considered precedent by allowing a transfer station on property zoned Business within the County as a use by right.
Accordingly, the Town does not in any way believe that this is solely a Hot Sulphur Springs issue. The Town is against constructing a solid waste transfer station anywhere in the County without a public hearing that allows the Commissioners to hear all sides of the issue prior to deciding what is in the County’s best interest. More specifically, the Town would be against constructing a solid waste transfer station at the proposed location without a:
∞ Public hearing to address the concerns of the residential population surrounding the proposed transfer station;
∞ Method for placing reasonable and enforceable conditions on the operation of the transfer station;
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∞ Mitigation plan to deal with some of the undesirable aspects of processing solid waste so close to residential property;
∞ Mechanism to ensure that the transfer station proposed is the one that is ultimately built; and
∞ Method for periodic review by a government body allowing for public comment on the operation of the transfer station.
The Town would be pleased to formulate a more defined position on the proposed transfer station once it receives from the County a complete and final plan for the transfer station. During the County’s presentation on February 9, the plans for development of the transfer station appeared preliminary at best and the County’s staff used the word “maybe” far too often in describing the presented plan. The Town will only take a public position on whether a solid waste transfer station is an appropriate use at the proposed location once it has seen a comprehensive and complete plan from the County on how the County intends to construct and operate the facility.
It should be added, the Town is disappointed that the County is moving forward with its plans to build a solid waste transfer station in Grand County without first establishing a comprehensive solid waste plan that answers, at the very least, some the following preliminary questions:
∞ How does the County intend to handle construction debris, which cannot be processed at the proposed transfer station?
∞ How does the County intend to facilitate recycling at the proposed transfer station?
∞ Where precisely does the County intend to haul the solid waste collected at the transfer station?
The Town would also like to comment on the County’s position that it can not use the current landfills in Granby or Kremmling for a transfer station because they both exist on fault lines. The Town is skeptical about whether this is truly a bar to locating a transfer station at these locations. The entire City of San Francisco and much of the State of California rests on numerous fault lines. There exist acceptable methods for responsibly building in these types of locations. We have no doubt there are landfills and transfer stations throughout California despite its numerous fault lines, earthquakes and landslides. The County should reconsider its position on not making use of these areas which have traditionally been used to handle the County’s solid waste. There would be far less impact to neighboring property values by placing the transfer station on a site that already handles solid waste rather than placing a transfer station next to residential property along a scenic byway.
With regard to the scenic byway, we feel obligated to inform the County that it has come to our attention that the County has been less than genuine with the citizens of Grand County regarding the Colorado River Headwaters National and Historic Scenic Byway Stakeholders’ Committee’s (the “Byway Committee”) position regarding the transfer station. It was expressed to us by County staff at the February 9 workshop that the Byway Committee had no issue with the transfer station other than requiring more screening and landscaping. This was untrue. A letter from the Byway Coordinator, Cheri Salberg received by the County on the day of the workshop expressed a completely different position. Ms. Salberg expressed on behalf of the Byway Committee that the County should conduct further studies regarding the location of the transfer station and “recommend[ed] the ultimate goal of placing this facility [the transfer station] in another location not located on the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway.” We do not understand why the County would misrepresent the Byway Committee’s position on this matter, but would hope that the County further considers the Byway Committee’s stated position.
Additionally, it is the Town’s understanding that the Town of Kremmling has sent a letter to the County requesting that the solid waste transfer station be located in or around the Town of Kremmling. The Town would support such a decision, but would urge the County not to make the same mistakes it has made in dealing with the citizens of Hot Sulphur Springs. It should engage the people of Kremmling in a meaningful dialogue about this issue, particularly if the County intends to locate the transfer station near residential properties.
To sum up the Town’s position, we are disappointed that the County has not agreed that it should require the transfer station to track through the special use permit process. While we are pleased that the Commissioners have been more willing to engage in a public dialogue on this issue, we would expect greater community involvement in the construction of a transfer station regardless of whether it is located just outside of Hot Sulphur Springs or anywhere else in Grand County. We will consider formalizing our opinion on whether the transfer station is an appropriate use at the proposed location once the County has developed a more comprehensive and complete plan for dealing with Grand County’s solid waste and agrees to some form of a public hearing, that allows for formal conditions to be placed on the use, periodic review, and a guarantee that what is approved is ultimately what will be built.
Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss this matter further. The entire Board of Trustees has signed this letter in support on the following page.
Very truly yours,
Hershal Deputy, Mayor
Town of Hot Sulphur Springs
Signed and dated by the Hot Sulphur Town Council