County okays metal recycling center near Sun Lakes homes - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

County okays metal recycling center near Sun Lakes homes

September 5th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
County okays metal recycling center near Sun Lakes homes

By Cecilia Chan, Staff

A metal recycling center near Chandler and Sun Lakes can keep its doors open for business despite resident complaints about traffic, noise and unsightliness.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved a special-use permit for the one-man collection center near Hunt Highway and Arizona Avenue and added more stipulations to assuage concerns from nearby homeowners.

No one from the public spoke on the issue. The permit is good for 10 years.

“These are always difficult situations where you got people that certainly are concerned about adjacent uses and things that are happening in their community and their neighborhood,” said Supervisor Denny Barney, whose District 1 includes the area.

“So, for us it’s incumbent upon us to protect the property rights not just of the applicant but those around the applicant and do it in a way that is measured and balanced,” he added.

He said discussion by the Planning the Zoning Commission was meaningful and wanted to add more restrictions.

The property owner, who leased the .63-acre site to the recycling business, was cited last year for a nonconforming use. The center is sandwiched between the Sun Lakes and Santan Vista neighborhoods.

Planning and Development Director Jennifer Pokorski said the business owner estimated 10 to 20 customers a day and one pickup of material a day.

“This type of business, however, is only allowed in an industrial zoning district,” she said. “They have been operating there for approximately a year or so without the proper zoning entitlement. If approved, the special use permit would correct the zoning violation that currently stands against the property.”

She said her department received seven letters of opposition against the special-use permit, citing noise, increased traffic and the visual appearance of the site. The Planning and Zoning Commission on July 26 unanimously recommended approval of the permit with stipulations.

She added staff conducted a follow-up site visit on July 30 and confirmed additional zoning violations – a mobile home on site and large plastic containers storing liquid and other debris.

Barney said the stipulations and conversation at the planning level was meaningful and inciteful and offered up additional restrictions, some recommended by staff.

Stipulations include limiting the hours of operations to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily – which the business is currently doing – requiring the owner to install a mesh or slats to the chain-link fence along the east property line to shield its operations from residents living in the San Tan Vista neighborhood within 30 days of permit approval.

Another stipulation bans the storage of recyclable material higher than the screening, after one resident said she could see piles of recyclables above the fence from her backyard.

Other stipulations include prohibition of heavy machinery or mechanical equipment other than for cooling and heating and recyclable material collection is limited to nonferrous metals.

And, the mobile home and all accumulated junk, trash and debris not related to the recycling operation must be removed from the site within 30 days of the permit’s approval. The applicant agreed with the additional stipulations.

“They are doing things on the site that probably over time have expanded beyond what is probably appropriate in this location,” Barney said. “These stipulations bring them into alignment with what should be happening here and allows them to operate and protect their rights as a property owner or leasehold interest and also is respectful of neighbors around them.”