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Parker trash-facility lawsuit brings mixed feelings

Some see hypocrisy in wake of decision on apartments

Posted

The recent decision by the Town of Parker to file a lawsuit against Douglas County in an effort to stop a proposed recycling/trash-transfer facility from being built on county land bordering the north end of Parker has brought mixed reactions from residents of the town.

Some applaud the town for looking out for residents' best interests, while others believe it's further proof that town officials have only their own best interests at heart.

The proposed facility, known as Vista South, would be located west of Chambers Road, north of Grasslands Drive and just southeast of Dove Valley Regional Park, and has been zoned for a recycling/trash-transfer facility since 1998.

Scott Eden, CEO of Mountain Waste and Recycling, has said the facility will be fully enclosed, and trash would be moved through daily and not allowed to sit on the premises. Opponents of the project have cited increased truck traffic, unwanted odors and an attraction for birds as reasons to deny the facility.

Dove Meadows resident Mitch Maulik has been a vocal opponent of Vista South, and said he's proud the Town of Parker has stood up for him and his neighbors.

“I really appreciate the Town of Parker standing up for their constituents,” said Maulik, after hearing about the lawsuit. “The fact the mayor has stepped up and addressed the issues, it's a huge impact.”

Maulik said the truck traffic alone would clog the existing roadways, and pose hazards for those in his neighborhood and surrounding businesses.

Parker resident Lisa Kuhn, who lives in the Stroh Ranch neighborhood, said the move by the town is hypocritical. Kuhn stood with hundreds of other Stroh Ranch residents at Parker Planning Commission meetings Nov. 9 and Dec. 14 to protest the building of affordable-housing apartments in their neighborhood. The planning commission ruled that property rights of the developer trumped the neighborhood's concerns, citing “right of use” for the property which was zoned in 1997.

“I find this very ironic,” Kuhn said. “All of the statements Mayor (Mike) Waid made about this facility not being a good fit for the community, increased traffic, negative effects on schools, neighbors and businesses, those are all statements we made about our situation, yet we were told it didn't matter because the land was zoned for apartments in 1997. But now? What's different about this situation?”

Kuhn admits she doesn't know much about the Vista South facility, but believes the same rules should apply.

“If they can stop this facility because of concerns from neighbors, why couldn't they rule the same for us? Who's looking out for our best interests? I'm very disappointed.”

Waid also responded to concerns from residents about the recent decision by the town to approve affordable-housing apartments against the wishes of the neighbors.

“The issue with Stroh is not a zoning issue because it is not a vacant piece of land that simply has zoning only. The piece of land at question was part of that ORIGINAL development plan that was approved several decades ago …” Waid wrote in an email.

“As for the Trash Transfer facility, the IGA the Town and the County have with each other specifically states that this type of use (trash/recycling) IS NOT A PERMITTED use on this specific piece of land. Our lawsuit is specifically related to that … since it is not a permitted use based on that IGA the County should have denied the application … but the county is still processing the application.”

“These two projects are apples vs oranges … one has an approved development plan in place (Stroh) and the other is vacant land with no development plan and what is being processed by the County is a development plan that is for a non-permitted use."

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