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Front Page » June 8, 2004 » Local News » Local zoning panel endorses change in compressor station
Published 3,845 days ago

Local zoning panel endorses change in compressor station


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate community editor

The last several weeks have been important times for Nine Mile Canyon.

Two weeks ago, Nine Mile Canyon was rated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the 11 most endangered spots in the United States.

A couple of weeks before the rating, the Carbon County Commission granted a large grant via the restaurant tax board to develop the area near the Great Hunt pictograph panel.

Responding to the NTHP designation, a New York Times writer with a photographer came to the area toward the end of last week to do a piece on the canyon for the international newspaper.

In the middle of all the action involving Nine Mile, Bill Barrett Corporation approached the county planning board and requested a change in a conditional use permit to allow the company to add structures at the compressor station site in the canyon.

Despite all the hoopla during the last few weeks, the Carbon County Planning and Zoning Board recommended granting the company's request.

"What we are doing is adding some additional compressor buildings," explained Bill Barrett representative Scot Donato. "Actually, it is two buildings. But the way it will be constructed, it will look only like one."

The company's plans originally called for five compressor stations, pointed out Donato. But Bill Barrett has scaled the intitial plans down to include four stations.

"We are also moving the one from Water Canyon down to this site," said Donato.

The compressor station in question has been a burr in the shoe of many environmentalists. The environmentalists claim the station compromised the aesthetics of the canyon when the facility was installed by the original owner many years ago. BBC is not the original owner of the station.

Planning board member Lynna Topolovec voiced concerns about the noise the new compressors could produce, despite being buffered by the surrounding buildings.

But the firsthand experiences offered at the meeting by a county planning and zoning staff member alleviated some of the noise concerns.

"I recently went out there and pulled my vehicle right up next to the compressor stations," pointed out county planning and zoning director Dave Levanger. "I sat there and listened for the machines, but I couldn't hear them. I thought they must not be running, so I shut the engine off to get out and check. Then I could hear them."

"My vehicles engine actually covered up the sound of the compressors running," added Levanger.

Topolovec, however, still was interested in determining how things would change once the new compressors are installed at the station and asked that a noise survey be conducted afterward.

Donato agreed to conducting a noise survey after the compressors are installed.

Acting on unrelated planning and zoning matters at the meeting, the board members:

•Recommended final approval for phase two of the ballpark subdivision, located in Carbonville.

The approval was for three lots on the south side of the present road that was constructed for the subdivision.

The only concern that commission members had dealt with driveways being far enough away from the intersection of Shelby Circle and 1500 West.

Levanger pointed out that the county does not have a standard for that particular situation, but that on the plan, the closest drive looked to be "75 or 100 feet away from the intersection".

However, the planning and zoning board was not satisfied with relying solely on the plan and attached a condition on the approval, specifying that driveways would have a 75-foot setback from intersections on the road.

•Explored the possibility that a private drive could be dedicated to the county one day.

The matter arose during the board's discussion on a one lot subdivision proposed in the county.

"I would prefer that road be built to public standards," indicated Carbon Commissioner Mike Milovich, who acts as county government's representative on the planning and zoing board. "These private drives almost always cause the county problems later. We have already been approached to build houses on the other side of the road and if that happens people may expect it to be just like all other county roads."

Greg Marsing, who was proposing the one lot subdivision development project, pointed out that the road would meet all county standards except for pavement. He said that the road is 413 feet long which would be quite expensive to pave for one home.

"I can see the problem with expense," said Milovich. "But we have to do something so people don't come along later and want the county to maintain it and then pave it. We need that enumerated in some way."

The planning and zoning board decided to go ahead and approve the project, with the stipulation that the unpaved road be noted on the plat as well as on any development agreements used for projects there.


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