by Rick Langenberg:
Even with the waving of a huge red flag by Teller County officials and some nearby residents, the plans of Teller County Waste (TCW) for a new community-wide recycling center in Woodland Park and an expanded operation are moving full-speed ahead.
“We are moving forward with our (special and conditional use) permit applications,” said Mike Perini, a spokesman for TCW. “We plan to work with the city on this.” It is still unclear when Woodland Park residents can start dropping off their recyclables at a new community-wide site, but company and city officials say the TCW recycling bid is progressing.
In fact, round two in the trash showdown is scheduled for this Thursday (Oct. 10), when the Woodland Park Planning Commission is scheduled to address the next stage of the TCW permit process. More specifically, the commission will grapple with the company’s conditional and special use permit requests, along with a site plan review of their proposed site. According to Perini, this is the next step in the process and is part of TCW’s agreement with the city, approved during a previous hearing in mid-August. At that time, the council agreed to annex a nearly 2-acre TCW site and expanded operation area, establish a new zoning designation for the land and set a number of conditions, such as requiring TCW to do $17,500 worth of road improvements to a portion of West Street (Teller 231).
According to City Manager David Buttery, the company still must obtain the okay for both a conditional and special use permits, regarding its new recycling center and expanded operations, such as setting up a Woodland office, storing trash vehicles there and doing associated repair and maintenance work. A final decision on these permits, which will address a number of the concerns raised previously by nearby residents, will be made by the city council, explained Buttery. Perini sated that the company submitted its initial permit plans in September. According to the TCW spokesman, the main question confronting the company hinges on whether TCW is in compliance with its agreement with the city. During these forthcoming hearings, more technical details will be presented regarding the company’s future recycling center, which will be open to the public with set hours, and its expanded operation at the Woodland Park site.
Thursday’s hearing won’t deal with one of the more controversial questions regarding the TCW situation: Should Woodland Park reverse a previous decision to annex the property? In an unprecedented move, the Teller County commissioners and administration recently filed motions, asking the city to reconsider actions to annex two TCW plat areas. It cited a laundry list of reasons, mostly dealing with annexation procedures, along with concerns about road and infrastructure improvements to Teller 231, which is the main access route to and from the TCW site. “We want to protect our interests,” said Teller County Administrator Sheryl Decker, who has indicated a problem with the fact that the city annexed the proposed TCW property and proposed operation site, but didn’t annex the road that is part of a Teller thoroughfare. They have concluded that the proposed road improvements, requested by the city, aren’t nearly enough.
However, Perini argues that this annexation situation was extensively addressed in previous hearings. “We cannot speak for the city of Woodland Park, but we do know that the annexation was approved lawfully in an overwhelming vote by (Woodland Park) city council members,” said Perini. “We would expect the city of Woodland Park to move forward with the special permit process, as both Teller County Waste and city officials have previously agreed to this prudent course of action to ensure the best interests of the community are met.”
The annexation of the property was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Mayor Dave Turley casting the dissenting tally. The majority council members mainly supported the annexation bid because they contended it offered the opportunity for the city to better control this area and have a better-looking site and open the door for a recycling hub. Plus, city leaders admit they like the idea of more competition in the trash arena.
City officials are still declining comment regarding the latest actions of the county, in asking the Woodland Park to reconsider the TCW annexation No announcement was made regarding these motions, or the TCW upcoming hearings, at last week’s WP council meeting.
City attorney Erin Smith said she is reviewing the complaints of the county, but didn’t indicate a deadline for an official response. Teller County and Woodland Park have experienced their share of differences in recent months. The two entities have clashed over the TCW application, business inspection services, building permits and infrastructure standards.