BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Boulder County Commissioners pulled an application for an industrial-scale compost facility after coming under fire for months from neighbors. The county planned to build the facility on open space near Highway 287 and Lookout Road.
The facility would, according to documents obtained through an open records request, haul in everything from dead animals and construction debris to sewage sludge, then sell the sludge as farm fertilizer.READ MORE: 'We Can't Live Here': Boulder County Faces Lawsuits Over Industrial-Scale Compost On Open Space
The county even voided a conservation easement it put in place nearly 30 years ago specifically to protect the land from development. The 40-acre property has wetlands, hundreds of trees, and a major irrigation ditch. The county has been planning the facility quietly with Eco-cycle over the course of years, using taxpayer dollars, without any public input.
Neighbors only learned about the plans last fall. It wasn’t until they sued last week that the county backed off.
Commissioners held a meeting Thursday afternoon, where they still didn’t take any public comment but said that they wanted to look at other options for composting after reviewing projected costs and engineering constraints.
Commissioner Claire Levy said, “We do need to look at cost, we need to look at location, I think we need to look at whether doing a central county facility is the best way to go about this given the impacts it’s going to have, you know, the potential for… what’s the market?”
Nancy Davis has led the fight against the facility and says she doesn’t trust the county, “There are many of us who are going be watching. There are things about this facility that are not just regular composting, not banana peel, and it’s really toxic and really frightening and if you don’t do that at Rainbow, we are still going to be watching, because it’s not okay what they did and it’s not okay how they did it.”
Commissioners say they remain committed to composting, whether it’s a central facility or someplace else but, they say, this time they’ll seek public input.
What they haven’t said is whether they will restore the conservation easement. Until they do that, neighbors aren’t dropping their lawsuit.