Weld County commissioners deny EnviroTech rezoning application

GREELEY — The Weld County board of commissioners has denied an application from EnviroTech Services Inc. and McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. to change the zoning of 135 acres near the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 34 and Weld County Road 13 from agriculture to medium industrial.

It’s unclear what Greeley-based EnviroTech and Loveland-based McWhinney, operating as Weld 34 LLC for this project, wanted to do with the property owned by EnviroTech if the zoning had been changed, other than telling commissioners that they wanted to make the property “shovel ready” for prospective tenants, to whom it would lease space.

Officials at EnviroTech did not return calls requesting more clarification. EnviroTech provides de-icing, anti-icing, dust control, soil stabilization and erosion control for companies that build and maintain roads.

After a five-hour hearing before the commissioners Wednesday, the application was denied by a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Sean Conway, Steve Moreno and Julie Cozad voted to deny the zoning change. Barbara Kirkmeyer and Mike Freeman voted in favor of the rezoning.

The Weld County planning department had recommended approval of the application, but the county’s planning commission did not recommend approval at a hearing held Oct. 20.

Conway said Friday that he could not support the request not knowing what the project would entail.

“There are more than two dozen uses that qualify under Industrial-2 zoning, from a junkyard to a rail spur,” he said. “I was unwilling to approve an I-2 zone that is within a 150 feet of a residential subdivision.”

Twenty-one members of the citizens’ group, CLR-34 Neighborhoods Association, were at the rezoning hearing Wednesday and questioned the application’s compliance with the Comprehensive Plan and whether the proposal could be compatible with surrounding uses, especially the Indianhead Estates subdivision, which directly abuts the two parcels under consideration, according to a statement released by Dave Kisker, head of the citizens’ group.

Questions regarding the Weld County Code’s requirement for protection of the health, safety and welfare of residents were raised, as well as whether this use would reflect the best potential handling of the land, given its close proximity to Johnstown, Windsor and Greeley.

Many of the same property owners who appeared at the rezoning hearing filed a lawsuit in September challenging the commissioners’ approval of converting a nearby alfalfa field to an asphalt and concrete production plant and railroad spur being developed by Martin Marietta Materials Inc. The lawsuit remains ongoing.