A wood recycling center outside of Milner could be ready for operation in the next few months.
Routt County planning commissioners recommended approval of the operating permit for the recycling center at their meeting Thursday night, but only after adding multiple conditions to the original permit.
The final decision will be made by Routt County commissioners Nov. 25.
The recycling center, proposed by Steamboat Springs excavating company M.J. Miller Inc., would sit on about 7 acres of land now used for pasture. The property is accessed from a private road, with U.S. Highway 40 about half a mile to the north.
The center would process green waste and logs into firewood, posts, woodchips, mulch and more using equipment including a wood mill, a wood chipper, a log loader and a chainsaw.
The wood mill most likely would operate part time, with the wood chipper being brought to the site probably one or two weeks a year, according to the project application.
Wood waste comes from clearing construction sites, so the center would benefit the community by recycling wood and saving landfill space, M.J. Miller representative Cynthia Ferrendelli said.
On the other hand, the center potentially could create noise, traffic, contaminated water and a fire hazard, according to comments made by some residents living near the site and from Milner landfill owner Les Liman.
Liman said that when green waste is stored in piles, it starts to decompose and could result in contaminated runoff. Pinpointing whether that contamination is coming from the landfill or the recycling center could be difficult, he said.
"Competing for this business is good for the community and the environment, but I am disappointed that the Planning Commission permitted Miller to accept green waste," Liman said Friday.
Complaints also were heard from two residents worried about noise, traffic, devaluation of property values, fire danger and wildlife impacts, said Routt County planner Jim Goossens.
Planning commissioners added conditions to M.J. Miller's permit to mitigate those concerns, such as a condition to monitor water quality and conditions to reduce fire danger through having a fire protection plan, keeping fire extinguishers on site, and stacking logs in a certain way, he said.
"All the impacts that were identified I think can be mitigated," Goossens said.
Those additional conditions were expected by the company and were not out of the ordinary, Ferrendelli said.
"We felt (the meeting) was successful and we really look forward to providing a service to Routt County that has been on many people's minds but hasn't materialized as of yet," she said Friday.
Routt County commissioners will decide whether to grant the permit at 3 p.m. Nov. 25.
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