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Park County commissioners postpone asphalt plant discussion after Fairplay residents flood building

Park County commissioners postpone asphalt plant discussion after Fairplay residents flood building
Posted at 8:36 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 11:13:31-05

UPDATE | Feb. 26 — South Park Aggregates LLC. withdrew its temporary use permit application on Feb. 26, according to Park County officials. In its withdrawal application, the company said, "In light of the situation, including protecting the health and safety of Elle Belle staff and supports, South Park Aggregates is withdrawing its Temporary Use Permit Application."


FAIRPLAY, Colo. — Park County commissioners were scheduled to talk about a proposed asphalt plant in Fairplay Wednesday morning but postponed the discussion after residents flooded the building to voice their concerns.

Elle Belle Mine applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) for a piece of land just west of Fairplay. Documents state the proposed plant would process roughly 2,000 tons of asphalt. While the CUP proposal is for 20 years, the county said it would likely be a 10-year approval.

Paul and Tabatha Lemaster live just 300 feet away from the plant's potential location.

"We're worried about toxins, water pollution and issues like that, that could really jeopardize the well-being of the town and the community itself," said Paul Lemaster.

The couple found out about the proposal through a neighbor. Many residents only recently discovered the plan after several documents were accidentally sent out.

"We've been putting our efforts in just making people aware of the proposal itself," said Tabatha Lemaster. "We also have a petition against it."

The county's meeting room has a capacity of 85, and over 250 residents attended Wednesday's meeting. However, county officials said the protest is premature. Park County Director of Operations Mike Smith said Wednesday's meeting would've provided clarity.

"Some of those documents, before they were finished, were put out to the public," said Smith.

The proposed plant is relatively small compared to standard asphalt plants and is portable, meaning it could be moved if issues develop. Smith said the 10-year CUP would also have 2-year reviews.

"People don't understand the technology and the advances in the asphalt plants,” said Smith.

The proposal still needs a recommendation from the county. The next county meeting will take place on March 20 at the school gymnasium, which has more space.

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