It's a large warehouse building plopped down in the middle of a residential area in west Eagle and over the years it's created controversy as an auto repair shop, commercial laundry and gymnastics center.
The latest proposed incarnation for the building is as an expansion of Trinity Recycling, a metal recycling business that has been operating at the rear portion of the site for almost two years. Tuesday night, the Eagle Town Board gave a preliminary nod for that plan amidst a round of concerns voiced by neighboring property owners.
The building, located at 850 Castle Drive, was constructed in the 1970s when the neighborhood included a number of industrial-type uses, including the Eagle County Motor Pool warehouse and a Holy Cross Energy materials storage yard. However, Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell said that as those industrial uses have moved out of the neighborhood, it has become more of a residential area. That evolution has left the large warehouse structure as a neighborhood albatross. But Powell noted the large building still stands and someone will always propose a use for it - the latest being the proposal from Trinity Recycling.
Eagle staff, while acknowledging the proposed use is not a perfect match for the neighborhood, did note that it would qualify as a "wholesale establishment." Staff recommended approval of a special use permit to allow the metal recycling operation expansion, with a series of conditions attached that would address noise and visual impacts.
Trinity Recycling owner Josh Thompson noted that the operation has proven successful since he began the service two years ago. He also acknowledged neighbors' concerns.
"With our steel containers outside, we realize it's a problem for noise. We want to bring that inside," said Thompson.
By bringing the recycling containers inside, he said Trinity will substantially cut back on the noise it creates. "I want to be a responsible business owner with that and not have complaints," he said. "I am mindful of the noise."
While neighbors cited noise concerns, they also noted that truck traffic and street blocking concerns. They noted that when the roll-off containers are delivered or collected at the site, trucks block Castle Drive for long periods of time. They said that creates a traffic hazard for families in the area, particularly for children riding bikes along the street.
Neighbor Elizabeth Nolasco complimented Trinity's business model and noted she supports recycling efforts. But she said the business is simply located in the wrong place.
"In my point of view, he needs to move to an industrial zone," she said.
"You are asking for a fairly industrial use in a residential neighborhood," noted Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick.
Kostick noted he was generally in favor of granting the special use, but noted the various conditions applied to the proposal will be key. He added the issue is not just to place the conditions on the permit, but also to enforce them as the business begins operation.
Trustee Anne McGibbin also said she was generally willing to grant the special use provided the business meets a number of conditions, including prohibiting on-street truck parking, following clearly defined noise limits and handling material drop-offs inside the building.
In its review of the proposal, the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the special use permit with seven conditions. Town board members directed staff to prepare a resolution for consideration that incorporates those conditions along with additional rules for the business suggested by the town board. Formal action on the special use permit is slated for the next town board meeting, planned March 12.
In other action the town board:
• Agreed to a request from a committee organizing the Eagle Farmers Market to move the summer event back to Eagle Town Park. The market is planned for 14 weeks, beginning in July, on Friday nights this summer.
• Received a school security briefing from Eagle Police Chief Rodger McLaughlin. In the wake of school shooting incidents nationwide, including the most recent tragedy in Newton, Conn., McLaughlin told town board members local law enforcement has partnered with Eagle County Schools to develop a solid response plan in the event of a shooting crisis. "We don't trade safety for living in a small town. We have all the resources we need like we would in a city environment," McLaughlin said.
• Approved a change in the town's animal control ordinance to give Eagle County Animal Services the authority to pick up problem cats in town. Previously, the town's rules limited animal control pick-ups to dogs.