One of the city’s larger recycling centers is in jeopardy of being shut down by City Hall.
Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting primarily sided with a group of east Lawrence residents who said the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center is operating in violation of city zoning laws and has become a neighborhood nuisance.
“Who wants to live next to a dump?” asked Byron Wiley, who lives near the recycling business that takes everything from paper to junk cars. “We have a right to enjoy our property both inside and outside, and that is not happening now.”
City commissioners on Tuesday did not issue a formal order for the business to shut down, but it did direct staff members to move forward on enforcement action against the business, which may result in a cease and desist order.
Agitated after Tuesday evening’s meeting, owner Bo Killough said he was immediately closing the facility to all curbside recycling companies and residents who routinely bring their household recycling to the business.
Killough indicated that he would shut out six curbside recycling businesses that routinely use the facility, and he expected that the closing would make recycling in the community more difficult.
The city’s largest curbside recycling operation, run by Deffenbaugh Industries, does not use the facility. Smaller recycling companies, including Curbside Recycle, Sunflower Curbside, Tree Huggers, Ball Recycling, Honey Creek, and Home Recycling Service do use the facility, according to Killough. It wasn’t clear late Tuesday how the operations of those companies would be affected by Killough’s sudden decision.
City commissioners heard more than an hour’s worth of public comment against the operation that included video of car crushing, fires, excavation equipment and other industrial activities taking place at the site.
Commissioners generally expressed concern that such uses were happening right across the street from a neighborhood.
The property is zoned for residential use. But when the property entered the city in 1966, it was home to a salvage business. The business had some rights to continue to exist under a grandfather provision of the code.
But neighbors argue that the property long ago lost its grandfather status and that it has been operating in violation of the city’s zoning code. Killough and his attorney dispute that assertion.