DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Town of Parker filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Douglas County regarding a proposed waste and recycling transfer station.
The facility, currently in the application process, would be built on a plot of open land near South Chambers Road and Grasslands Drive on the outskirts of the municipality of Parker.
Neighbors worry about stench, rats, and noise, among other concerns.
The waste and recycling company owner, however, said that the fully enclosed facility would be unlike any other facility currently in Colorado.
Scott Eden, CEO of Mountain Waste & Recycling Inc., said the transfer site would help the area and the state’s goal of boosting recycling by about 50-percent within the next four years.
“Most of the states in the country have been doing this for 12 or 15 years. It’s our turn,” Eden told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Eden said the state-of-the-art materials management center would handle trash, recycling, and compost. The facility, he said, is greatly needed in the south metro area, especially given that all other facilities are north of Interstate 70. The lengthy commute for trucks to transport recyclable items from Parker to the north end of Denver drives up recycling cost and decreases its availability, Eden explained.
“We all want to divert waste away from a landfill, and it’s facilities like this that are going to be so important to do that,” he said.
Julie Rosenthal, a spokesperson with Rocky Vista University, however, does not want the transfer station to be built on the plot of land just across the street from the medical school and health clinic where patients receive treatment.
“We just don’t believe that health and trash mix,” Rosenthal said.
Wendy Holmes, a Douglas County spokeswoman said via phone Friday that the land has been zoned for waste management purposes since 1998, long before the Parker’s expansion of homes, schools, and businesses surrounding the site.
Nearby residents like Mitch Maulik, however, said they were never made aware of the zoning possibility when they purchased their homes in the Dove Meadows neighborhood, located just across Chambers from the proposed waste and recycling transfer site.
Residents’ other concerns include noise and increased traffic.
“They’re talking about between 300 to 500 trucks a day in and out of that facility,” Maulik said.
Eden plans to build his company’s corporate headquarters at the same site. Materials will move in and out of the facility on a daily basis, a pace that would not allow for the odor or critters that neighbors fear.
“It’s very important to understand, it’s a fully enclosed facility,” Eden said. “We’re very cognizant of being the right neighbor.”
“They probably do want to build a state-of-the-art facility,” Maulik said. “I don’t think it’s possible to eliminate the problems that we have with it.”
Parker’s lawsuit alleges that Douglas County violated the two agencies’ intergovernmental agreement that requires them to work together to make mutually beneficial planning decisions.
Another issue raised in the lawsuit relates to the site’s close proximity to Centennial Airport. In a press release, a Parker spokesperson wrote, “Beyond the noise and smell problems, the Town believes there is a significant safety issue. Trash facilities like the one proposed can attract hundreds of birds, and birds are a major problem for airports such as Centennial Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration currently recommends that the location of municipal solid waste landfills and trash-transfer facilities should not be within five statute miles of an airport.”
This site is located less than a mile from Centennial Airport and would be directly in the flight path for aircraft landing on Centennial’s east/west runway.”
In response, Eden released the below written statement: “We have not had a chance to review the lawsuit, so we can’t comment on it. However, we have seen the press release from Parker, and we can emphatically say that Parker has all of its facts wrong regarding the characteristics of the recycling and transfer station. In the press release, Parker complains about the possibilities of noise, odor and pests – totally ignoring that this will be an enclosed facility with all operations occurring indoors. None of those complaints are valid.”
Specifically, the press release focuses on birds and the proximity to Centennial Airport. Even if birds were an issue in connection with an indoor facility (it’s not an issue!), we note that Denver International Airport has three OPEN landfills well within the “five-mile buffer zone” that the FAA recommended in a 2010 study; and that airport is operating in total safety.”
Holmes was not able to say whether the lawsuit would affect Douglas County’s approval of the proposed facility, but provided the following statement from Lance Ingalls, Douglas County Attorney: “We are in receipt of the lawsuit challenging the County’s processing of an application for a trash transfer facility. We will respond within all legal deadlines.”