Recycling yard up for vote

Commissioners could act today on business south of Oak Creek


— Routt County commissioners could decide today whether to sanction a scrap metal recycling business that has been operating since August just south of Oak Creek.

Kelly and Dixie Lipsie are seeking a special use permit needed to continue their business on land they lease from Jack and Andrea Brunton, just north of the intersection of Colorado Highway 131 and Routt County Road 14.

The matter is on commissioners’ agenda for 2 p.m. today.

County Planning Director Chad Phillips confirmed Mon­day that the land is not zoned for light industrial activity and operators overlooked the need to gain county approval. However, the County Planning Commission voted, 8-0, Feb. 18 to recommend approval of the permit, with a long list of conditions.

The primary concern of county government and the Oak Creek Town Board is that the Lipsies adequately fence and screen views of their recycling yard from motorists on Colo. 131.

Town Board members Wendy Gustafson and Bernard Gagne told the Planning Commission that Oak Creek isn’t opposed to the metal recycling operation. But the board stated that “in its current state, the operation is visually unacceptable for the gateway to the community,” according to meeting minutes.

Kelly Lipsie told the Planning Commission last month that he has a contract with Twentymile Coal Co. to remove its scrap iron and other metals. Every few days, he hauls the metal to Denver for recycling. He said that he has a similar arrangement with the city of Steamboat Springs.

In addition, he said, he gathers unwanted metal materials, including derelict vehicles from ranches and private yards, for recycling. The materials are stored on the Colo. 131 site until they make a truckload.

County Commissioner Nan­cy Stahoviak asked project planner Connie Staponski on Monday to ensure applicants submit a detailed explanation of how they will screen their recycling yard from public view. Stahoviak said the absence of a plan could result in tabling of the petition.

County Commissioner Doug Monger added that he wanted assurances that the Lipsies had sufficiently bonded to ensure future rehabilitation of the site.

The Lipsies have accumulated nearly a dozen letters of support from their neighbors, many of whom wrote that the Lipsies helped them clean up their properties while recycling scrap metal.

“Not only has Mr. Lipsie removed trash and recyclable items from people in Oak Creek,” Candace Johnson wrote, “he has removed items from many of the local ranches in the area. Without his services, ranchers would have unsightly debris covering their properties, some on either Highway 131 or 14.”

Not everyone is in favor of the recycling yard, however. Cynthia J. Crawford, who owns adjacent property on two sides, wrote to tell the commissioners she is “unequivocally opposed.”

“First and foremost, I am concerned about the potential for water contamination,” she wrote. “My property is downgrade of this site and any contaminated water can enter my pasture and ditch system, then travel to my irrigated hay meadow, which then drains directly to the Yampa River. … What was a nice little horse property is now a de facto junk yard.”

— To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail


greenwash 7 years, 1 month ago

Both Gateways to town can look like junkyards.Weiscups on one end and Lipsie on the other.Id be concerned.


kathy foos 7 years, 1 month ago

They should have the right to recycle metal ,I agree with Nancy about the fence,if they dont do it and properly,it shouldnt be there at all ,the county would be making an exception and thats not right,they have gotten rid of others that dont comply and this should be no different.Cynthia not everything can be "nice little horse pastures" in this county,If they conform to the regulations,it would be wrong to stop them.Make the other scrap metal right of ways be fenced also.


JustSomeJoe 7 years, 1 month ago

Well sun, obviously they didn't conform to the regulations. They started a business where the zoning laws didn't allow that business. They do have the "right to recycle metal" but not in their current location. Their strategy of asking for forgiveness rather than permission may work with the county commissioners.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, the gas station closing was because of impaired views. Yeah, the defective insulators on the power lines is due to gateway issues. Yeah, the lack of water meters is from people trying to make a living. Yeah, the muck instead of roadbase in the streets is Kelly's fault. Yeah, blame them, blame me, that'll fix the problems.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh, I'm sure you have complained about it to the county numerous times. The county has been out there and apparently found nothing that wrong.

Just like what was so wrong when he was doing next to the railroads just past the southern town limits? It was fine with the neighbors. But someone on the other side of town complained to the county how many times?

Just like town clean up day lost metal recycling because the guy doing it got tired of the town harassing him.

When the town has so many basic issues then it is time to stop worrying about people outside of town limits and start worrying about the basic issues.


Scott Wedel 7 years, 1 month ago

Windle, I was referring to the gas station that was closed Friday through at least Monday. What, did someone reopen it Tuesday?

The whole "gateway" stuff bothers me. Gateway is so important except that the town's sewage ponds at the northern gateway to OC. And gateway was not important enough to build the new sewage plant somewhere other than the northern gateway to OC. And gateway was not important enough to worry about visually screening the new sewage plant. And gateway is not important enough to visually screen the county maintenance shop which has many of same features as Lipsie's recycling.

Yampa's gateway is the railroad tracks, highway maintenance station and some mobile homes. Pburg has the whole railroad yard.

The relevant state and local regulations will protect environmental issues such as water contamination issues.

It is not as if Oak Creek has an industrial zone which would welcome this sort of recycling business within town limits. People were screaming bloody murder about the possibility that someone might open an impound yard.

I have no financial interest in either the recycling or the stuff in the canyon. Saw does my snow removal and I've given some metal to Kelly instead of putting in the dumpster. I've been in that area in the canyon and it looks to me like those horses get daily fresh water and feed. I've been told the county has been out and looked at it all.

I was at the meeting in which county commissioners came to OC in which some guy said how he had complained so many times about Lipsie's recycling at the southern edge of OC. None of the people on that section of road had an issue with it or knew whom that person was. And the recycling was being done between a dirt road and the railroad tracks. What was the issue except an opportunity to harass someone trying to work real hard doing an important service except that it was unsightly in an unsightly area?


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