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Montezuma County approves rezoning for trash company

Countryside allowed to remain at Road H location
Countryside Disposal’s trash collection truck.

A local trash hauling company on Road H will be allowed to continue operations under a commercial rezoning and high impact permit approved this week by Montezuma County commissioners in a 2-1 vote.

Countryside Disposal, owned by Herman Rosas, began the business on his 4.1-acre residential property on Road H in 2017 as part of a certificate of use permit issued by the county.

The company picks up and hauls trash for customers to the county landfill. The trucks return to the property empty and are parked overnight. Bins and containers are also stored on site.

The original use permit stipulated that once the business exceeded more than two trucks, Rosas would find a new location, according to the county planning department. Discussion at the time indicated the operation would be moved to a place more suited for a commercial enterprise.

The business rapidly grew, and Rosas added haul trucks that exceeded the two maximum. He applied to have the 4.1-acre property rezoned from residential/agricultural to industrial, with an attached high impact permit, to allow for the expanded business.

During a public hearing Tuesday, two neighbors spoke against the expanded business and rezoning, and one neighbor supported it.

Next door landowner Julie Pluemer said the trash business is not a good fit for the neighborhood of farms and homes on the south side of Road H.

“Also, he has not been in compliance with the original parameters of the certificate of use,” she said. “It should be moved to a commercial area.”

Another neighbor, Scott Daves, said while it’s good the business is doing well, the location is wrong.

“He has grown and has been out of compliance, I worry about what is next,” he said.

An employee of Tuffy Security, which is across the street from Countryside, said Tuffy’s does not have any issues with the trash company at the location and added the property is kept clean.

Rosas’ attorney, Erin Johnson, said the high impact permit does not exceed any threshold standards and should therefore be approved. She said after the business grew, it began discussing a new permitting and rezoning process and contacted the county.

“The business has grown, and it’s a good location,” she said. “It is a light land use. The trucks leave in the morning and are parked overnight empty.”

Use of an easement for trash truck access to the property has been worked out between Rosas and another landowner. There was an issue of mud being drug out onto Road H by trash trucks, but Rosas said he will install gravel at the easement access point to solve the problem.

Commissioners were divided, with Larry Don Suckla and Jim Candelaria voting to approve a commercial rezoning and high-impact permit, and Commissioner Keenan Ertel voting against it.

For Suckla, the jobs and location on Road H with good access to the landfill made sense. He did not think the operation was industrial, and made a successful motion to make the 4.1-acre property commercially zoned.

“I vote for this man to keep his business, and keep those eight people working,” he said. He cited other commercial businesses in the county that have nearby farms and residents.

“We have allowed them, why not him?” Suckla said.

In voting to deny the application, Ertel said Rosas’ original agreement to move the business once he expanded beyond two trucks should be honored.

“That was the original agreement we made with you, and it is time for you to fulfill your end,” he said. “I believe there is commercial property available in the county that would be more appropriate.”

After, Ertel and Suckla spoke, Candelaria became the deciding vote. He also expressed concerns about the noncompliance issue with the original use permit.

“However, he has complied with all the standards and the issues with the road have been taken care of,” he said in support of the motion for commercial rezoning and high impact permit.

Rosas said his long-term goal is to relocate the business so it is not next to his residence.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

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