Fraser residents upset with new recycling facility location
Fraser’s town hall filled with residents Wednesday night eager to hear details of the new pay-as-you-throw trash and recycling facility, but many were upset with its proposed location.
The necessity of a new waste management facility has been in the works for years. Fraser spearheaded a county-wide waste diversion study based on how much people recycle, how much trash is disposed of in the area and how much people are paying for their trash services. A new pay-as-you-throw trash and recycling facility was identified as a major need for Fraser and subsequently taken up as one of the town’s sustainability initiatives last year. Site planning and evaluation began this March.
Fraser evaluated 11 sites throughout the town and determined that an acre parcel on the corner of Mill Avenue and Leonard Lane along the railroad tracks could be the most suitable location, in part because the town could acquire the land for free. Grand Park owns the land, but currently owes Fraser five acres from a previous annexation agreement. Grand Park President Clark Lipscomb offered to donate an acre on that property for free, according to Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin.
“The biggest cost with any location is the land,” said Michael Brack, assistant town manager, during the meeting. “Next to the railroad tracks made a lot of sense just because it’s centralized to Fraser, and it’s fairly close to Highway 40.”
Reaction to the proposed location was largely negative, with residents speaking out about traffic concerns, smell, wildlife and the potential of lowering nearby property values.
“We need a recycling service here, and it was sad to see it disappear and go to a paid service here,” said Fraser resident Justin Goodyear. “So it’s exciting to see that the town wants something else done about that. But putting it in a residential neighborhood seems asinine.
“It’s a small neighborhood, and it’s not an easy location to get to. It’s a roundabout way having to deal with one ways and neighborhoods going over the railroad tracks. The other location just seems more suitable.”
An alternate piece of land off County Roads 721 and 72, which Fraser already owns, was also identified as a possibility, but wasn’t emphasized due to concerns with snow storage. The alternate piece of land seemed much more agreeable with residents, however.
“I’m extremely concerned about the increase in traffic that we will see in the neighborhood,” said Deby Leroux, a homeowner in the area. “We have the elementary school here, busses and parents with kids. I’m just concerned about the general safety of our neighborhood and the streets being able to support additional traffic.
“It’s an industrial project and it does not belong in a residential area. I think the site up by the cemetery that they are also considering makes a lot more sense.”
During the Fraser Board of Trustees meeting following the open house, the board agreed that there was substantial resistance to the Mill and Leonard location, and decided it would be best to refocus their attention to the plot off of County Roads 721 and 72.
The project comes in part thanks to a $195,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment following the waste diversion study. The grant money just became liquid, though Durbin emphasized that no location had been decided on yet and the money isn’t currently being spent.
Once a site is decided on development on the land likely won’t begin until the spring. Fraser has until the end of June to use the funds from the state, though the facility may not be operational until sometime after that.
Along with addressing a major town need, the project is also meant to help Fraser become more sustainable environmentally.
“Studies have shown that based on current pay-as-you-throw programs across the United States that this could result in a 10 to 20 percent reduction in waste going into a landfill,” said Brack. “Then you take that along with the 25 percent of people who aren’t recycling right now and that’s a lot of waste that’s not going to a landfill.”
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