A battle over the future of an East Lawrence recycling center that has drawn the ire of neighbors may be averted.
The owner of the 12th and Haskell Recycling Center has finalized a deal to purchase two pieces of industrial property that will allow him by this fall to move the recycling center about a block north, if city officials give the project the necessary land-use approvals.
“The owner thinks it will be a much better situation for everyone involved,” said Brad Finkeldei, a Lawrence attorney who represents the 12th and Haskell center and its owner Bo Killough.
Killough last week finalized a deal to purchase a vacant industrial building at 1050 E. 11th St. and a 5-acre outdoor storage area that previously served the Schmidt Builders Supply store at 1000 E. 11th St.
Both pieces of property are just northeast of the 11th and Haskell intersection. The location is only a block away from the recycling center’s current site, but it is much farther removed from neighbors, who have complained the operation’s salvage-yardlike noises and smells aren’t conducive to a residential area. The new location borders the railroad tracks to the north, city’s trash truck lot on the south, and other industrial buildings on the east and the west. The current site for the center is across the street from a residential neighborhood.
One of the chief opponents of the center’s current location, though, said her group was still trying to figure out what it thought of the new proposal.
“We really have a mixed reaction to this,” said Andrea Repinsky. “It sounds like a good change, but we’re still worried about how this will work out for other residents in Brook Creek and East Lawrence.”
The project now will hinge on city actions. The project will need several land use approvals from City Hall, including approvals of a site plan and a special use permit.
Finkeldei said the city will receive those applications by May 21, which would put the project on track to be heard by the City Commission in August or September.
Finkeldei said the plans will show many parts of the operation will occur inside — such as the salvaging of copper and many types of scrap metal. But the project will seek to have outdoor storage, and also will propose reopening an area where the public can drive up to recycle paper, plastic, glass and other such materials.
The center had offered that service for a number of years, but closed that portion of the business in December when tensions between the city and the center grew.
City inspectors have found the current site at 12th and Haskell to be out-of-compliance with the city’s land use code. Finkeldei previously had said his client was considering appealing that ruling to Douglas County District Court.
Now, Finkeldei is asking the city to simply delay any enforcement action at the 12th and Haskell site in order to give Killough time to get the business moved.
“He definitely wants to be in a position to move the business this fall,” Finkeldei said.