Residents object to relocation of recycler to Hall China property

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — Plans to relocate a 32-year-old family recycling business to the former Hall China Co. pottery in the city’s East End were put on hold after a public hearing Thursday.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-0 with absent member Karl Fife to file a request from pottery owner, HLC Holdings, for a special exception that would allow the recycling operation in an area zoned M-3, General Industrial .

The decision came after just over an hour of testimony from the two owners of Six Recycling Corp., which plans to buy the property and move its salvage/recycling operation from 50 Maple St. to the old Hall site. China, as well as residents. opposed to the move.

No one spoke in favor of the decision, including the HLC Holdings officials present, who also declined to comment after the hearing.

According to Ray Six, one of the owners of the recycling business, it was started 32 years ago by a handful of family members “who took out second mortgages to live the American dream.” The business has grown significantly since then, he said, and has grown to over the two to three acres it operates on. In addition, the electrical service available at the current location is not adequate for the equipment currently in use.

This led the family to look 10 years ago for another location “because we’re packed and things are piling on top of each other,” Six said. “We would like to expand our business, but the only way to do that is to move.”

He explained that “recycling” is not precisely the nature of the business, which buys, packages and loads items into trucks to send them to facilities where they are melted down.

“We don’t melt anything,” Six said, saying the sorting and separation process at the company is labor-intensive and the current location only allows for a limited number of workers. employees, leading to an increase in material piles. With a bigger building, the current strength of 17 members could easily be doubled, he said.

Although the company has never considered anything other than metals, Six said she would like to consider other materials if she was able to move.

He presented to the board and a roomful of residents the company’s plans for the old pottery, including the razing of the back portion of the existing building and the concreting of the floor where the scrapping process would take place, which he said the public would never see. Berms at least six feet high with trees planted on them would be built around the perimeters to further conceal operations, he said. Plans also include using an adjacent building on the property for a multi-sports complex, which he says is needed in the area, based on his own experience with four girls involved in track and travel teams.

“It’s a perfect site for us to move around. It will be a multi-million dollar investment,” Six said. “We’ve been in this community for a long time and we’d like to invest that money here if you let us.”

Gallery images include Ray Six of Six Recycling offering a testimonial, resident Rita Evans, members of the East Liverpool Board of Zoning Appeals, former Hall China property and the exterior of Six Recycling Corp. on Maple Street.

When asked by board members where the trucks would enter and exit the property, Six answered off Pennsylvania Avenue at the back of the property. The trucks went to the scales at the front, then to the side of Harvey Avenue, passing through the building.

There are 12 acres under roof on the site, and Six said the majority of the work will be housed under roof.

“Every developed community needs a junkyard out there,” Six said, giving an example of someone’s water tank that’s deteriorating and needs to be disposed of. “They can bring it to us and get paid, or it can go over a hill,” he explained. “People see junkyards and think negatively, but they keep the community clean.”

If granted the special exception to purchase the pottery site, the Six recycling site on Maple Street would be vacated and then made available for development or sale, Six noted.

The first resident to speak, David Hager, Stagecoach Road, set the tone for everyone who commented, saying, “I’m glad Mr Six is ​​living the American dream, but he’s making the people of the East live End the American nightmare. . No one wants to live next to a dump.

Although he lives outside the immediate area, Hager owns property in the Klondyke neighborhood and attends Boyce Methodist Church, located 50 feet from the old Hall China pottery.

“If you allow this, I predict our church will close within a year,” Hager told the board. “WTI (Heritage Thermal Services, which operates a hazardous waste incinerator in the East End) promised us a tipping fee and what happened? No one will benefit except the Six. We don’t need that here, guys. Nobody wants it. »

Rita Evans said her property on Harvey Avenue was 15 feet from the old property.

“I’m going to bear the brunt of it,” she said. “I have been in my house for 49 years. There are plenty of other places they can take it. I don’t want it in my neighborhood.

Board member Reece Kelly asked Evans to live next door to Pottery. Evans said, “We haven’t had any issues with Hall China Co. No smell. We haven’t seen it.

Evans asked who the property actually belonged to and if it had ever been sold to the Six family. Board member Dan Painter pointed out that the owner of the request is HLC Holdings, whose address is the same as Homer Laughlin China Co. in Newell, W.Va.

“I have no control over who they sell it to,” Painter said.

Evans replied, “It’s a family affair” without giving further details.

Harvey Avenue resident Joseph English added his opposition, saying he bought his house when he was young, raised three children there and invested a lot of money in improvements.

“I don’t want a dump in my back yard,” English insisted, saying he previously worked at Hall China and is now employed at Homer Laughlin Co. He said Six Recycling had experienced fires and explosions over the years.

While Six’s ideas “sound good”, English admitted, “I guarantee you nothing like this will happen”, and asked the board to consider their decision.

Residents wondered how the tall berms would affect the view of passing traffic on Harvey and Pennsylvania where there are sharp curves. They inquired about the additional smell, noise and possible environmental impact the recycling/recovery operation might have on the area, and whether an environmental impact study had been carried out.

Others expressed concern about the effect any potential impact could have on the health of residents and their children, given the city’s high cancer rate and its proximity to other manufacturers they considered potentially hazardous to their health.

“Are you really trying to kill us?” asked Roberta Pratt who lives on Ohio Avenue. Pratt said her daughter had cancer four times and her son suffered from allergies.

“It doesn’t have to happen,” she said. “You are adding fuel to the fire. You cannot control what is already there.

She encouraged the board to “do some research and then disapprove of it.”

After listening to the comments, board chair Brian Vaughn referenced a list of issues the board should consider when deciding whether to grant a special exception. Issues include any potential harm to public welfare, neighborhood character and neighboring properties, whether it impacts traffic congestion or increases the danger of fire and other elements.

“The cons outweigh the pros,” Vaughn said. “We are a city in need of business, but we are also a city in need of inhabitants. We almost got down to a village (in population). You don’t usually see residences and businesses go head-to-head like you do here. There are too many downsides. I hope the Six find a way to grow their business, but I also need to see it from the residents’ perspective. »

Kelly said he supports implementing city planning director Bill Cowan’s recommendations for fencing and requiring that all conditions imposed on Six Recycling be completed within nine months and that the company delivers on everything it promises.

Member Mario Hernandez said he would like more information on truck entrances, traffic flow and the height of the berms, but said: “The community needs to move in a business and have jobs .”

It was decided to file the case until further information was obtained, and Cowan informed the council that he had 30 days to hold a second public hearing. Again, residents within 200 feet of the Hall China property will be notified by letter of any public hearings.

Hall China last mined the pottery in March 2021 and used the property for storage until December last year, according to the original zoning application submitted by HLC Holdings on December 8.

Pictured above: East Liverpool resident Joseph English spoke out against Six Recycling’s proposed project at the former Hall China Co property. None of the residents present at Thursday’s public hearing was not in favor of the project.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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