The lengthy and controversial pursuits of Teller County Waste (TCW) to develop expanded operations in Woodland Park are nearing the finish line—at least when it comes to completing more than $200,000 in improvements.
If the project continues to move forward, Woodland Park will house its first community-wide recycling center in the future, despite considerable opposition from neighboring residents.
However, due to the winter weather, the company recently obtained a slight extension, and is now slated to have all its preliminary work completed by June 1, 2016. The completion date is well overdue and is more than three years from the time when TCW plans were originally approved by city planners.
Surprisingly, the company’s Woodland Park bid, which previously sparked a mini-war between Teller County and Woodland Park leaders, hasn’t generated much public opposition in recent months. No residents or county officials protested the company’s recent request for a slight extension during a hearing on Nov. 19.
The proposed project previously sparked much tension between Woodland Park and Teller County officials, with a considerable amount of finger pointing and the firing of verbal and legal gun shots from both sides. The county tried to squash the project several years ago by suing the city for annexing the property. However, a district judge rejected this request, with the city and Teller County Waste winning this legal battle. The legal decision, though, created bad blood between the two governments for an extended period, according to sources.
But during the Nov. 19 WP Council meeting, it was all quiet on the Teller County Waste front, and especially for the improvements at the nearly 2-acre site, located at the edge of the county/city lines in a section of town near Hwy. 24.
The council promptly gave the company an extension to continue the remaining work, consisting of about 50 yards of concrete paving at the site, until June 1. According to Woodland Park Planning Director Sally Riley, the company owner, Jay Baker, has well exceeded the requirements of the city. She cited such completed work as a building a buffer wall, making structural facade improvements, doing drainage improvements and completing considerable infrastructure and paving work.
If the extension wasn’t granted, the company would have been forced to cease its operations, based on a conditional use permit previously granted to the company a year ago that stipulated Nov. 19, 2015 as the absolute deadline for completing the work. Under the new extension, the company must complete the work by June 1, unless the work is delayed through events outside of Teller County Waste’s “control.”
Councilman Phil Mella raised a few questions regarding this condition, and how it would impact the city.
City officials, however, expressed confidence that its interests would be fully protected. Riley noted that Baker was required to deposit a letter of credit by January 7, 2016 for the remaining work.
Also, Dean Waters, a contractor for the project, told the council that he didn’t see any hurdles in completing the remaining work. “Everything has been taken care of,” said Waters, in discussing the paving and infrastructure work.
The extension opens the door for TCW to develop an office headquarters in Woodland Park, expand its operations in transferring trash to sites in Colorado Springs with more equipment and to house a future recycling center.
Residents in the area have adamantly opposed the project, citing previously problems with Teller County Waste. Teller County officials have sided with the neighbors in the fight and contended that the property should never have been annexed into the city, period.
But city officials disagree and have maintained that the enhancements at the site mark a vastly improved setup from the company’s previous look. They also have assured the residents that the project site will be closely monitored. Also, city officials have supported TCW’s bid for a recycling center, praising this as a needed community amenity.