Commissioners approve WP Highlands trash program |

Commissioners approve WP Highlands trash program

The Grand County Board of Commissioners has unanimously approved a contentious, extant on-site trash and recycling facility in Elk Park in the Winter Park Highlands neighborhood.

A disagreement erupted between the Winter Park Highlands Association, a voluntary HOA, and some homeowners who felt that the proposed facility negatively affected their property values.

The site includes four dumpsters, two for trash and two for recycling.

A berm with trees and shrubs partially blocks the view of the site.

The dumpsters were placed in 2011 without county approval.

The HOA was seeking approval for a final plat amendment for the facility, including a new enclosure for the dumpsters.

Homeowner Bennett Bertoli, in a letter to the board, argued that the facility was an inappropriate use for the parcel.

“While dumpster service may provide a convenience to some users, it is a disproportionate detriment to the surrounding lot and homeowners,” Bertoli wrote.

Other letters against the facility said it affects nearby property values.

After staff review, County Planner Bill Gray said that staff supported approval with conditions.

Gray said the association had agreed not to expand the facility and would limit use to Winter Park Highlands residents.

The applicant would also construct an enclosure for the facility within two years of approval.

County staff also recommended that the applicant make sure the dumpsters stay in the bermed area and develop clear signage for the facility.

Bill Tetlow, the Winter Park Highlands Association President, said during the meeting that the facility eliminated seasonal trash overflows, previously a problem for the neighborhood.

Tetlow also pointed to nearby property owners that supported the program as proof that the community generally welcomes the facility.

“We have, in essence, the people that are most severely impacted by this, surrounding it, are supporters,” Tetlo said.

Tetlo also said there was no evidence to support the assertion that the facility has decreased nearby property values.

Speaking against the facility, Bertoli said that WPHA was only serving its members rather than the community at large.

“The association placed these dumpsters in Elk Park in 2011 with full knowledge that county approval was required,” Bertoli said, adding that WPHA knew an enclosure would be required for the facility.

“With more than four decades of Winter Park Highlands residents living without dumpster service, it’s clear that this is not an essential service but merely a convenience,” Bertoli said.

Bertoli said WPHA needed to find another location for the facility.

The board ultimately approved the program.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-557-6010.

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