Steamboat Springs The Routt County Board of Commissioners wants more detailed information about highway and environmental issues before members will consider approving a metal recycling yard on Colorado Highway 131 just south of Oak Creek.
Kelly and Dixie Lipsie have been operating their business without the required special-use permit since August.
“I apologized for not knowing I had to have a permit,” Kelly Lipsie told the commissioners Tuesday.
They voted unanimously to table his petition until he can work with County Planner Connie Staponski and Director of Environmental Health Mike Zopf on details of the application. The commissioners said the paperwork should have been complete before the business began operating on the west side of Colorado Highway 131, north of its intersection with Routt County Road 14.
Lipsie told the commissioners that a contract to haul scrap metal from Twentymile Coal Co. to recycling operations in Denver represents a large part of his business. He also has hauled derelict cars and farm implements away from private property in the area.
“Kelly, I commend you for the business you’re trying to build,” Commission Chairwoman Nancy Stahoviak said. “Having said that, there’s an elephant in the room. And that’s figuring out how to issue a permit for a business that’s already operating. Do we tell Kelly to stop doing what he’s doing right now? Or do we tell Kelly he can keep doing what he’s doing (while he meets requirements for the permit)? To me, that’s a huge issue.”
The three commissioners agreed they were not inclined to shut the Lipsies down.
“You’re providing a very needed service to Routt County. We need to find a balance” between encouraging the public service offered by the metal recycling business and protecting public interests, Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said.
Before the commissioners hear the Lipsies’ permit request again, they will insist that the couple obtain necessary state permits including a highway entrance permit from the Colorado Department of Transportation, a solid waste recycling permit, and county permits regarding their site and managing storm water runoff.
The commissioners also want to see more detailed information about the construction of earthen berms intended to screen the view of their storage yard from motorists passing on Colo. 131.
One of their more complicated tasks is to obtain an expert report on the flow of ground and surface water through their site and how to guard against contamination.
Zopf told the Lipsies the threshold of meeting those requirements would decrease if they abandoned their current practice of draining the antifreeze and other liquids from old cars on site, before recycling the radiators and other auto parts.
Kelly Lipsie said he would willingly stop those activities.
“I want to make sure you understand the magnitude of what you’re biting off,” Commissioner Doug Monger said. “I don’t want to say we’re going to approve this thing and set you up for failure.”
The Lipsies’ request was tabled to a date to be determined later to allow them time to work out the details with county staff.