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Boulder County Commissioners seek more information on compost facility, application may be reconsidered

A public meeting will be held on Thursday to discuss the issue, public testimony will not be taken.
A sign alerts residents of Boulder County's proposal to build a compost facility at the former Rainbow Nursery site south of Longmont.

A special use application to build a controversial composting plant at the former Rainbow Tree Nursery site on U.S. 287 south of Longmont could be formally pulled this week.

Public Works Director Jeff Maxwell will recommend to the Boulder County Commissioners on Thursday to withdraw the application to allow staff and the commissioners to assess new information about the proposed facility, according to a Boulder County news release. The new information being sought includes data on engineering and financing for the proposed facility, the news release states.

County officials also want to gather more public comment on the compost facility.

Thursday’s public meeting will be at 1 p.m., which will be conducted via Zoom, can be accessed here. The meeting also can be accessed by calling 833-568-8864 and u using  Webinar ID No. 160 326 0234.

Since the meeting is not a public hearing, no testimony will be taken, according to the release. 

The county’s bid to place the composting plant on the 40-acre Rainbow Nursery parcel has been the target of two lawsuits filed by adjacent landowners. They claim Boulder County bought the land with sales and use tax revenue to create a conservation easement.

The county decided in 2018 to build an industrial-scale composting plant on the parcel, ignoring the conservation easement which is supposed to protect fragile agricultural land from development.

The Rainbow Nursery tract is a delicate riparian and wildlife corridor, Nancy Davis, one of the adjacent landowners told The Leader last week. “You can’t just pluck this piece of land out and hand it over to the Public Works Department,” she said.

The county has asked a judge to dismiss the two lawsuits because the development plans are on hold.

Erie trustees also have objected to the project.

Supporters of the composting facility say it will cut greenhouse gases and help Boulder County achieve its goal of zero waste by 2025.

To view a list of frequently asked questions about the compost facility, click here.