Some basic courtesy paves way for town board approval
A little common courtesy can go a long way at Eagle Town Hall.
Just ask Josh Thompson of Trinity Recycling.
Thompson’s business is located in a large commercial building in a west Eagle neighborhood. He needed a special use permit to open the shop and over time, operations at the metal recycling center grew to the point they not longer complied with the activities allowed. At that point the town became involved and recommended that Thompson seek an amendment to his special use to allow limited outside storage, operation of a metal baling machine and a collection trailer on site.
When Thompson appeared before the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission for the permit hearing, a large contingent of his neighbors showed up to voice concerns about the overall operation.
“It has become apparent to the staff and the applicant that this facility isn’t a long-term compatible facility,” said town planner Tom Boni during Tuesday night’s Eagle Town Board hearing.
That’s what the planning commission decided also, and recommended a denial of the amended special use permit citing the business’s incompatibility with the surrounding residential neighborhood.
That’s when something unusual happened. Instead of proceeding down the official hearing path and duking it out before the Eagle Town Board, Thompson decided to reach out to his neighbors.
Pizza and planning
Thompson opened Trinity Recycling more than three years ago and quickly the operation became a victim of its own success. Thompson said he initially thought he’d have no trouble conducting business within the parameters of a special use permit that regulated noise and operations at the site. However, as demand for the service grew, he acknowledged that he stepped over those lines.
“We have really caused heartache with our neighbors,” he told the town board Tuesday. “As much as I want to build up a business, I don’t want to ruin anyone’s neighborhood.”
After listening to neighbors’ concerns at the planning commission meeting, Thompsons hosted a pizza party at Trinity and invited everyone in the neighborhood to drop by and share their concerns. He noted the issues raised during the session came down to two main topics — noise and safety.
On the safety side, Thompson instituted some immediate changes. He posted no parking signs where his property fronts Castle Drive and he told his semi drivers that they needed to call ahead before they arrive at the site so business personnel can clear the area and minimize safety concerns.
The noise issue is a tougher fix and ultimately, the Thompsons came to the decision that their business just isn’t right for the neighborhood.
“We realized the ultimate solution is us finding an industrial location,” he said.
To that end, Thompson has listed the property for sale.
“I hope I can find a buyer for the building,” he said. “I hope we can stay in Eagle. This is such a hub and it’s so great. It’s easy for the community to come to us.”
Thompson hopes he can sell his building within the next year and move on. “We are trying to make things better, but in the meantime we are trying to make some peace with our neighborhood,” he said.
“I really appreciate what you are doing with your neighbors. You and your neighbors are the best ones to solve these problems,” said Eagle Town Board member Sarah Baker.
Members of the town board noted it is unusual to see a business owner reach out to neighbors in such a personal way when problems arise. They applauded Thompson’s initiative.
“I appreciate the good service to the community and I would also like to see it in another spot,” said member Kevin Brubeck.
While the planning commission saw a large contingent of neighbors protest the operations, only one neighbor attended Tuesday’s town board meeting and he spoke in favor of the business.
Town board members noted they were reluctant to reverse a planning commission recommendation, but at the same time they voiced desire to work with Thompson.
“This is a useful amenity for the majority of the community and a pretty significant headache for a minority,” said member Andy Jessen.
Ultimately the board unanimously approved the amended special use permit setting a two-year limit for the operation to continue. Additionally the board changed the business’s operating hours to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and stipulated the amendment was tied to the present owners.
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