Winter Park approves crushing permit amid concerns from neighbors
Despite opposition from residents of Winter Park’s Snowblaze neighborhood, council approved on Tuesday a special-use permit for the Roam development to crush rocks on-site downtown.
The Roam development, which started construction earlier this year and will be comprised of over 1,000 housing units and 70,000 square feet of commercial space, asked the town for a permit to crush rocks until Nov. 15 at its 14 acre site along US Highway 40.
“The more we move the material, the bigger the impact, the more noise, the more dust and disruption,” explained Jeremy Straley, owner of Mountain States Snowcats, which is contracted to do the work for Roam.
However, surrounding residents felt the operation shouldn’t be approved because of concerns about noise, dust and safety. Steve Burton spoke to these concerns at the meeting and wondered why the rock-crushing site couldn’t be moved farther from the neighborhood.
“It’s unsightly, we’ve got noise, and obviously, it’s a nuisance to the neighborhood,” Burton said. “If they had proposed it for the one location down the road, south of Beavers Village Lodge, then I wouldn’t be here today.”
Eight more public comments opposing the permit were received via email, all of which cited concerns about noise and dust.
According to Straley, though, crushing the rock on-site will have the least impact when it comes to noise, dust and environmental concerns.
“The two locations we have here were lined out by the engineers due to wetland mitigation,” he said. “The loudest thing that we do, actually, is loading the trucks, (while) loading the crusher is quieter.”
He also noted that the sites on the property where the rock-crushing will take place were identified as the spots that would have the least environmental impact on the surrounding wetlands.
It also limits the travel associated with the work, since the rocks won’t need to be hauled anywhere and, once crushed, will be used as structural fill on-site. About 50-100 of the larger boulders will be used for landscaping.
Town planner Mara Owen emphasized the permit comes with 10 conditions the developers must meet throughout the duration of the work, including restricting crushing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., screening the work from view, having a dust mitigation plan and only working during appropriate environmental conditions.
She added that the town has approved three other special-use permits in the downtown area, including one for Mountain States Snowcats at the Headwaters Center, and had no issues with those projects.
Ultimately, council approved the permit unanimously on the grounds that it is the best option with the least impact.
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