Sewer line plan passes first hurdle

Planning commission raises concerns regarding project traffic

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Routt County Planning Commission gave a recommendation to the city of Steamboat Springs Thursday night to amend a special use permit to put a new sewer interceptor line, despite concerns that not enough information on truck traffic on County Road 33 was given.

To put in the line, a rough estimate of 5,000 tons of gravel material would be taken out of the ground next to the Yampa River west of Steamboat, planning staffer John Eastman calculated from figures given to him by Steamboat Spring Public Works Director Jim Weber at the meeting.

They also estimated it might take 600 truck trips on County Road 33 to move the material.

It was not known at the meeting where the truck would exactly be going.

Commission Chairman Troy Brookshire was concerned that no hard information was presented on how many truck trips would be generated from the project or if those trips would be mitigated to lessen the impact on the community.

"We spend a lot of time in public meeting talking about truck trips less than that," Brookshire said.

Not all the material will be moved, Weber said. Some of it will be used in the operation and adjacent landowners also expressed interest in some of the earth to use for gravel roads.

Speaking to fellow commissioners and to planning staff, Brookshire wondered if he should consider the operation on the same lines as a gravel pit application, which would include extensive truck-trip information.

"We are not considering it consistently with other applications," Planning Commissioner John Ayers said, in response after Brookshire's concerns were discussed.

Weber's concerns were focused on getting the line in. He explained that on July 4, when the city was full of tourists, the waste water treatment plant couldn't handle the amount of water in the system. A significant amount of sewage backfilled into the sewage ponds.

"It was enough to cause some concerns," he said.

A new wastewater treatment plant that can handle 11 million gallons a day, compared to the 6 million gallons a day the old plant handles, is expected to be finished by December, Weber said.

However, without a new sewage line that can handle the 11 million gallons, the problem won't be solved, he said.

"We want to move forward so we won't have any other issues," Weber said.

Brookshire then asked for a motion, which stated that the commission gave its recommendation for the project without any conditions on truck traffic. It passed 7-1, with Brookshire voting no.

"I just can't say that I did my job with this potential impact on county roads and around Steamboat Springs," he said.

The city will go in front of the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 28 seeking a final approval.

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