Concerned Helper City Residents Approach Council Members Regarding Zoning Issues

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The Helper City Council meeting for the month of July took place on the evening of July 6. During this meeting, Helper City resident Jeff Wright approached the council members as a representative of those in his neighborhood to speak about Waste and Water Logistics, LLC allegedly not complying with zoning regulations.

Wright began by thanking Mayor Ed Chavez and the rest of the council members for giving him the opportunity to share the resident’s concerns on the zoning and permitting laws allegedly not being followed by the company. Wright then stated the topics of concern that he would be addressing in order for them to be properly recorded into the meeting’s minutes.

The first was the alleged disposal of waste and water improperly. The second was the fact that the company had not been zoned for a facility. The third issue was that the company had possibly not been zoned or permitted for a temporary route. The final issue that Wright would be touching on was that there were open storage areas that were not blocked from the public or enclosed by security fencing.

Wright stated that he does recall that the waste and water issue had been rectified, but then took a few minutes to go over how the residents, as neighbors, have concerns. Those concerns were brought to the planning and zoning meeting that took place on May 17 of this year. At that time the company owner, Jesse McCourt, stated that he would work with the homeowners to resolve the issues at hand. Wright stated that this was to no avail.

Wright informed the council members that he attempted to contact McCourt on this issue after the first meeting, which McCourt requested to have done. The contact was futile at best, stated Wright. The bottom line, according to Wright, is that the company continues to practice without any recourse to the neighboring property owners.

“We have our rights as property owners, we’re asking you to protect us,” Wright stated.

The council members acknowledged this as an issue. Some of the company members have been spoken to and steps are being taken to try and resolve the issues at hand.

McCourt then sat down with ETV10 News to give his stance on the issue. Waste and Water Logistics, LLC, is a staple for the Carbon County community. The company often gets down to the nitty-gritty work that others would rather not do.

Recently, the company made the decision to complete some landscaping improvements on the property. With this decision having been made, the company had several meetings with Helper City’s Planning and Zoning Committee to ensure that the necessary steps and precautions were taken.

McCourt stated that during the meetings the company received verbal approval that additional permits were not needed for the landscaping that was taking place. With the growth of business and other community opportunities, it only made sense to utilize all 13 acres that Waste and Water Logistics currently resides on, which is owned by McCourt Holdings.

As excavation began, the company had the realization that there was excellent material on hand to make gravel. Rather than importing gravel, it made environmental and financial sense to use the product that was already on-site. In order to do that, however, the material did need to be crushed. McCourt said that once more, Waste and Water approached the city’s planning and zoning committee in April to request a portable, temporary crusher to be used for the re-sizing of the material.

McCourt reported that in doing the crushing themselves, the company would reduce the truck traffic at the site as it is developed, as well as emissions and more. According to McCourt, this was approved unanimously by planning and zoning. The committee requested that the company return on May 17 during a public Helper City Council meeting to address neighboring resident’s concerns. One concern voiced was dust control. Another was the water that was used. The company gave the city lab reports on the water that would be used for dust suppression. Dominic Ibanez, who has worked almost 17 years in a lab doing testing on water, coal and other materials before joining Waste and Water for safety compliance, assisted.

This water had a pine fragrance, which concerned the nearby residents. It was explained to the city that the water used for dust suppression was a processed water where fragrance and oils are extracted naturally with no additives. Plants are boiled, then the oils and fragrances are extracted from them. Labs have proven that the water simply has fragrance and a plant pulp.

According to McCourt, Waste and Water took great measure to ensure the protection of not only the employees, but their neighbors. The water was not transferred in any of the trucks that haul sewage. A trailer was leased to transport it that had been cleaned and sanitized.

Ibanez is consistent in evaluating processes before any of the employees, or anyone else, get near any job site. Proper steps are always taken to guarantee the safety and to ensure that the necessary processes are in place. Because of concerns voiced by neighbors and the city, the Southeast District Health Department was invited to come and complete an evaluation on the company site.

It was then discovered by Scott Hacking, District Engineer for the Division of Environmental Quality, that the source of the water should have had in place a Waste Water Discharge permit. It was also discovered by Hacking that there was nothing in the water that was harmful or toxic in any way. That is on public record from a June 28 meeting that took place. Hacking testified during the planning and zoning meeting that the water was safe.

The permit that Hacking discovered to be needed is currently being acquired.

“The health of the community has never been in jeopardy,” McCourt stated.

McCourt stressed that he is running an upfront, top notch company that employs a high number of people that always takes other’s safety and comfort into consideration while working hard each day.

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