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Montezuma County Planning and Zoning Commission Approves Industrial Permit North of Cortez

Tom Burke
Creative Commons

A controversial application for a high-impact permit next to a biking and natural area drew an overflow audience to Thursday’s meeting of the Montezuma County’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

The board heard comments from some 15 citizens, all but one opposing the permit. But, after a lengthy discussion, the commission voted unanimously to recommend its approval. Dave and Lana Waters plan to use their 35-acre tract on the south side of Road L near the George Geer bike trail as a “multi-purpose industrial area.” Possible uses listed with their application include short-term operations of concrete or hot-mix asphalt plants. It was the asphalt-plant idea that sparked the most comments, with citizens voicing concerns about possible health threats, odors, and impact on property values. Dr. Brian Demby said “asphalt is toxic” and many citizens questioned putting such a use near a hospital, nursing home, and natural area. Planning Director LeeAnn Milligan said the applicants would have to seek an additional permit to actually operate an asphalt plant. However, Chris Eastin of Cortez argued that approving an application listing hot-mix plants as a possible use would confer a vested right. Board member Kelly Belt sought to continue the hearing to allow more time for consideration, but Dave Waters insisted he wanted a decision that night. P&Z then voted to recommend approval. The issue now goes before the county commission.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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