Weather closures and delays

Proposed Weld County development pits ranchers against industry

WELD COUNTY, Colo. -- The proposed expansion of an asphalt and concrete plant several miles north of Windsor has united ranchers in a fight against Simon Contractors.

The industrial company wants to expand onto land currently zoned agricultural.

Dozens of neighbors gathered at Windsor’s main fire station Monday to hear company representatives explain many things, including how potential pollutants will be controlled.

The fear among ranchers and others living near the site is that land air and water will be compromised.

"The water comes down the ditch and we use it," rancher Bill Lake said. "What we don’t use, we dump it into another ditch."

Lake took time Monday to drive across land near Wellington he has ranched for 37 years. He fears his irrigation ditch will eventually be filled with toxins.

"We don’t want contaminants in that water," Lake said.

He is not alone. Roughly 60 of his neighbors attended the community meeting.

Most people who attended are adamantly opposed to the expansion of Simon Contractors. The company is seeking a special-use permit for an asphalt and concrete batch plant that will create jobs.

"We came out here to get away from the hustle and bustle of traffic and industry and town," neighbor Linda Tufts said.

Simon Contractors told residents that 250 trucks a day will come and go from the Weld County site.

In a statement, the company said it will uphold government requirements to operate a safe site for employees and those living nearby.

The company also said truck traffic will be mitigated with future highway improvements.

Neighbors want Weld County commissioners to prevent the development, citing future noise and odor nuisances along with pollution and traffic.

"I just don’t think it’s been thought through well at this point," rancher Susan Lake said.

Weld County commissioners are expected to consider the permit on Nov. 6.