Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2012

12th and Haskell Recycling Center action still to come

April 7, 2012


Despite a victory for opponents of the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center, city enforcement action against the east Lawrence salvage yard likely won’t occur for at least another month.

Scott McCullough, the city’s director of planning and development services, said the city won’t be in a position to force changes to the business’ operation until after a city zoning board takes a procedural vote on the matter in early May.

The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals on Thursday upheld a decision by city staff that the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center was operating outside of the city’s zoning code. But the zoning board on Thursday did not formally adopt any findings of fact related to its ruling.

Instead, the board opted to have city attorneys craft those findings for approval at the board’s May meeting. McCullough said that until those findings are adopted, the board’s decision won’t be final and the city won’t be in a position to order the recycling center to either close or dramatically change its business operations.

The owners of the recycling center can still appeal the Board of Zoning Appeals’ decision to Douglas County District Court. An attorney for the recycling center said he hoped the city and his client could enter discussions over the next month to reach a compromise that would avoid a lawsuit.

“We definitely have optimism that some resolution short of litigation can be had with the city,” said Brad Finkeldei, a Lawrence attorney for the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center.

The city received complaints from several neighbors that allege the center, which deals heavily in salvage cars, appliances and other metals, created problems with noise, odor and had become a general nuisance for the residential area.

Finkeldei had presented a plan to city officials to significantly change the layout of the existing center. The plan included a large sound wall between the operations and the neighborhood, a relocation of the center’s entrance, and changes to how the property stores its scrap metal and other materials. The Board of Zoning Appeals did not consider that proposal Thursday.

McCullough said his staff also is not expected to spend much time with the new proposal.

“We’re still open to helping him be compliant with the code, but I think it is pretty clear that reducing it to the levels he has presented to us won’t make the property compliant.”

Finkeldei said the business is open to other discussions with the city. There has been speculation the city may have an interest in purchasing the property at 12th and Haskell, which is adjacent to the lot where the city keeps its trash trucks.

Finkeldei said the city has not yet approached his client about a possible sale.

“We have continued to work with the city for the last two years to find a mutually acceptable resolution short of litigation,” Finkeldei said. “If indeed one of those options included some assistance in moving, my client certainly would consider that.

“But he has a 6-acre plot of land that he bought with the understanding the city would allow him to operate there. He is not willing to walk away from that property unless a better situation arises.”


windjammer 6 years, 2 months ago

Bo had a understanding the city would let him operate there. Then why would he need to misrepresent his intentions on the permit application? East Lawrence residents know the answer to that question.

somebodynew 6 years, 2 months ago

"“If indeed one of those options included some assistance in moving, my client certainly would consider that."

NOW we are getting to the heart of the matter. Become a big enough PIA and have the City pay for you to go away.

Brook_Creek_Resident 6 years, 2 months ago

Okay, "victory for the opponents" is a little misleading. If you are referring to those of us who reside next to the salvage yard (and that's really what it is), we are PROponents of the CITY enforcing the land development code. The BZA hearing was Bo appealing City Staff's determination that he was in violation of the code. His attorney failed to make that case, just as he would most likely fail to make the case in District Court. Funny how he filed the appeal to the BZA and then tried to do an end-run around the process (probably because his attorney knew what a weak case they had) and now he wants the city to buy him out? LOL. Nobody is trying to put this man out of business. If the land development code doesn't permit him to be a "recycling center" as he claims he has always been, then he should go back to doing what he WAS permitted to a business inside and have LIMITED, palletized storage outside. NO HEAVY EQUIPMENT ALLOWED. Get it? There was NEVER any heavy equipment used on that property to continuously smash cars and other metals and process various other forms of junk until Bo started violating the non-conforming use permit that the city did grant him in 2003.

And for those of you who think we're hypocritical about recycling, here's the deal...recycling is green, PROCESSING that recycling material is NOT. If you still have trouble with that, then I don't know how to make you understand the difference.

Brook_Creek_Resident 6 years, 2 months ago

Why don't you look up the answers to your zoning questions yourself, Wilby. You can do it all online from this url:

You will note that 1146 Haskell IS zoned residential...not just something neighbors "claim".

While you're at it, check out the aerial history.

Brook_Creek_Resident 6 years, 2 months ago

Actually, the city did provide an explanation in their Dec. 5, 2011 staff memo.

Geez, you're lazy.

repaste 6 years, 2 months ago

If the city buys the land to replace the burned Parks & Rec building, (which was in flood plain), then they will want to switch the zoning to Commercial so they can operate there. Is the city putting pressure so they can acquire the land? Current zoning is R-10 , the neighbors should look up some allowed uses on that! This green town is trying to close the by far biggest recycling center? Where do you think Walmart , most curbside recycling take their recycling?

Brook_Creek_Resident 6 years, 2 months ago

Check out my Facebook page: Brook Creek Resident

More info will be added as time permits.

rom475 6 years, 2 months ago

Let the place's noisy from it's operation and city trash trucks parking there, not to mention the diesel fuel emissions from the trash trucks.

It's a blight on the area,course then again look at the homes surrounding it,they are trashy and those of us who keep ours up are proud of what we have accomplished,but what about the others???

When a complaint comes in on an unkept property the city just blows it off,says they investigated,but nothing is done...just look at Almira Street,it is getting better,but the real eyesores are not improving at all even with city code violations!!!

Richard Heckler 6 years, 2 months ago

12th Street Violations

There is a recycling operation opening in North Lawrence at a former salvage yard. Aluminum cans are easy to sell. Aluminum is a popular recycling material.

12th Street Recycling applied for a retail storefront in 2003 and was granted an OK to run a retail storefront. The business then decided to become a different type of business without seeking approval from city hall. 12th Street recycling ignored EPA regulations and city code requirements.

For at least 7 years 12th Street Recycling chose to operate in violation of city codes. 12th Street Recycling set the standards by which they would operate. The business had plenty of warnings.

What we have here is a combo of code violations and lack of enforcement. City Hall decided to enforce the codes that were on the books. There is no logic in allowing an operation to remain open that is in violation of city codes and has been for some time.

Isn’t it odd that previous owners did not encounter the same concerns that 12th Street Recycling has brought on itself?

Code violations and lack of enforcement placed the City Commission in quite a curious position. Speculation tells me the City Commission would have been well within their authority to issue a cease and desist order months ago based on an extraordinary power point presentation by members of the Brook Creek Neighborhood Association.


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