Georgetown debate heated over trash-recycling proposal
the denver post
GEORGETOWN – A heated debate on a proposed trash-processing facility rattled Georgetown’s tiny Town Hall on Wednesday night.
After almost three hours of presentations and questions – and the ouster of one commission member – the Planning Commission voted two to one against the proposal, saying it does not fit the site’s zoning regulations.
The negative recommendation will go to the Town Council, which could vote on the proposal in January.
Two hours into the meeting, Kathy Hunninen was permanently removed from the commission by a vote of three of the other members. Chairwoman Cynthia Skeen said Hunninen was biased against the proposal and was failing to give the applicant fair consideration.
Hunninen refused to leave the room and remained seated in the audience. The commission has five members; one, Dana Abrahamson, was absent.
Silverthorne-based Timberline Disposal wants to build a center to sort recyclables such as lumber, cardboard and aluminum from as much as 100 tons of daily household trash from Clear Creek and Summit counties.
The site is in the Gateway Mountainside Industrial District next to the Interstate 70 exit ramp. The area is zoned for public parks, playgrounds and light industry.
Regulations ensure an unobstructed view from I-70 and residential areas.
Mayor Thomas Bennhoff said the Planning Commission’s recommendation will be considered along with state health department recommendations and more public input.
Residents and commission members expressed concern and asked questions about the increased traffic, potential water contamination and the impact on wildlife and the environment.
“I do believe in green, but it seems like green brings more problems,” Georgetown resident Coralue Anderson said.
The proposed 4,800-square-foot building would be large enough for trucks to pull inside and dump garbage to be sorted.
Once the trash was sorted, recyclables would be transferred to plants in Denver, and remaining trash would be hauled to Denver-area landfills.
“We’re going to do the same thing everyone else is already doing, sorting recyclables from your trash,” Larry Romine, owner of Timberline, said.
Lifetime Georgetown resident Carrie Hinchliffe said the facility could bring economic and environmental benefits to Georgetown.
“It’s not like they’re building a dump up there,” Hinchliffe said.
Romine, who has lived in the area since 1972, said he still has hope the Town Council will approve the project.
“I hope people will look at the good side of it instead of pulling out the negatives,” Romine said.
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