County shuts trucking down
Planning board orders Archuleta to stop operations
|Despite what may have seemed like last minute efforts to clean up the site at 277 North Carbonville Road, the owners of Archuleta Trucking, LLC were ordered to stop the trucking operations by next Monday. |
In a surprise move Tuesday the Carbon County Planning and Zoning Commission members gave a North Carbonville Road business until Monday to shut down their trucking operations on the site.
Salt Lake-based Archuleta Trucking, LLC has been under the county's microscope since the beginning of October when the company was informed that the 277 North Carbonville Road location was not zoned for heavy commercial use. Further, the company was running under a business license that was issued for office operations only.
"Things are perpetually being added to the list of violations," Boardmember Mike Milovich told representatives of Archuleta at Tuesday's public hearing. "The problems at your site are only getting exasperated. So I make a motion that the trucking operations cease and desist."
The cease and desist motion brought an almost stunned silence to the room packed with Archuleta employees and neighbors of the company. Milovich's recommendation came less than an hour into the hearing in which both sides present had shared concerns.
The company's continued failure to comply with regulations set forth by planning and zoning was at the core of the special hearing and ultimately the commission's final ruling. According to commissioners and planning and zoning administrators the firm was told to stop washing the coal trucks on the site and to clean up the coal dust and coal that was building up in the parking lot and surrounding areas.
"You told us that you would stop washing the trucks on the site and then 48 hours later we see you washing them," said Milovich to Archuleta's representatives Joe Christman and Roy Payton.
Payton interjected they had completely stopped that action after they came before the planning and zoning commission Feb. 5.
"Yeah but that was just last week," Milovich said.
The finality of the commission's action appeared to pull people up short because the original reason for the hearing was for Payton and Christman to present a new plan for daily operations and cleanup as they were directed to do at the Feb. 5 meeting where they had appeared seeking a temporary conditional use permit.
And indeed it did seem that the outcome would be different when the Feb. 12 hearing first started. Christman handed out a three-page document covering daily operations, three targeted cleanup plans and a summary. The men were given guidance on the plan by Curtis Page, the county engineer.
However Page, who carefully reviewed the document, presented a plethora of additions that clarified and solidified the proposals.
"To start off the clean up costs are not as solid as they should be," Page said asking that men get actual bids from contractors for the project.
In addition to the plan, last Tuesday morning a backhoe operator was busily removing piles of coal that had been swept up from the parking lot. The homeowners sandwiched between the Archuleta site and the new department of natural resources building said that the company was hauling away truck loads of the residual coal all that day.
The next door neighbors weren't the only residents who showed up to say their piece about the company. Larry Taylor recited a litany of well researched concerns that he had run by several state and local agencies before presenting Tuesday.
He said he talked with a water resources official about the company's runoff of coal tainted water into gutters and ultimately into the Price River and also into nearby irrigation ditches. He said he also made a call to the hazardous materials experts about disposal of the waste.
Frustration tinged the air as residents expressed resignation that the problem might be long term if the company were to get its requested conditional use permit. Boardmember Don Torgerson interjected some remarks that seemed to give a clue as to what direction the hearing was headed.
"We have records of four or five months of violations," said Torgerson. "There are zoning laws designed to prevent these kinds of things and now here we are dealing with them five months into your operations."
Looking a bit distressed, Payton responded to the concerns.
"We really are trying to do the things you have asked of us," he said. "I apologize to everyone in this room. We got ourselves in a mess here."
Not being the actual owners, Christman and Payton appeared hamstrung in their efforts to mitigate the problems at the site.
In the end the fact the owners never showed up at any of the hearings held by the county seemed to seal the operations fate.
"The owners have never even been here and that troubles me," said Milovich.
With the cease and desist motion unanimously passed, Page said that the plan turned in by the company would jump right into the final cleanup stages and that he would be working closely with Christman and Payton to help them fulfill those obligations.
The Carbon County Planning and Zoning Commission meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 4:30 p.m. 65 South 100 East. For more information call Zoning Administrator Gayla Williams at 636-3710.