Georgetown sorting through trash-facility idea
The Denver Post
Plans for a trash-sorting center at the entrance to Georgetown have town officials sifting through a procedural mess, and residents wondering whether the facility will smudge the burg’s historic image.
It is the latest example of how going green in Colorado often means more noise, smells and traffic for small mountain towns.
Tonight, Georgetown’s planning commission will review zoning regulations that may allow Silverthorne-based Timberline Disposal to build a center that each day could sort recyclables such as glass, cardboard and aluminum from as much as 100 tons of household trash from Clear Creek and Summit counties.
If approved, the facility will be the first in Colorado where mixed solid waste is processed to reduce the amount of garbage buried in Front Range landfills.
Typically, recyclables are separated from trash by residents before collection.
Georgetown’s planning commission requested a meeting on the plans, after learning that the Board of Selectmen was considering the facility without the commission’s input, chairwoman Cynthia Skeen said.
“I want to find out the information because I’m just really not familiar with it,” she said.
The proposed 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 exclude commercial uses such as retail stores and junkyards to ensure an unobstructed view from I-70 and residential areas.
The Planning Commission tonight will review the proposal and give a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. The board will review the proposal in January.
Mayor Thomas Bennhoff said the Planning Commission’s input is not required, but it will play a large role in the board’s decision.
“I have always supported green programs. But is this a green program or is it not a green program?” Bennhoff said. “I don’t know yet because there is not enough information.”
Timberline Disposal began the application process in August. The company picks up trash at homes in Clear Creek, Summit and Gilpin counties.
“None of this is a secret, for God’s sake. I can see the site from my office,” project engineer Craig Abrahamson said.
Abrahamson is president of Clear Creek Technical Services, the engineering firm representing Timberline. Abrahamson said he and Timberline chief operating officer Larry Romine began designing the facility in April.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does not regulate materials-recovery facilities, said Jeannine Natterman, spokeswoman for the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division.
The public health department reviews proposals and provides local governments with recommendations. If a plant processes solid municipal waste, it must apply for a Certificate of Designation from the local government, Natterman said.
If the facility is built, trucks will pull inside the 4,800-square-foot building and dump the garbage, Abrahamson said. Machines will then sort out the recyclable materials.
Leftover trash will then be hauled to Denver-area landfills and recyclables transferred to plants in Denver.
The facility will not process hazardous waste, Abrahamson said.
Abrahamson said a day’s worth of trash would be processed in under 24 hours.
“Nobody wants that stuff sitting in the building,” Abrahamson said.
Some Georgetown residents and business owners are keeping an open mind about the facility, but downtown Grizzly Creek Gallery owner Gary Haines is concerned.
“Our town is hurting economically as it is,” he said, “and I don’t know if this is going to help any.”
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