Stanislaus County supervisors to decide fate of Modesto recycler after noise, dust complaints

kcarlson@modbee.comJuly 12, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textKen Carlson
    Title: Staff writer
    Coverage areas: County government, health and medicine, air quality, the environment and public pension systems
    Bio: Ken Carlson has worked 13 years for The Bee, covering local government agencies in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties. His in-depth reporting has focused on access to health care and public employee pensions.
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    E-mail: kcarlson@modbee.com

Stanislaus County supervisors on Tuesday will consider whether a scrap metal business in an unincorporated area in south Modesto is a nuisance and needs to be shut down.

If county leaders agree with a nuisance abatement board decision, the county could take action to stop Central Valley Recycling from dismantling and recycling cars in the 500 block of South Ninth Street.

The board also has the option of postponing action and setting an Aug. 20 hearing at the business owners' request.

Nearby residents complain about the noise and dust created by the metal-recycling operation. If the county proceeds with an abatement process, the business still could recycle aluminum cans, bottles and cardboard at the site.

In 2009, county planning officials approved a three-year business license for Central Valley to recycle large chunks of scrap metal there because, at the time, it seemed consistent with the permitted uses in the commercial zone, a report says.

Last year, the county received numerous complaints from neighbors about the noise and the dust, which leaves a thick layer on their cars and homes.

Staff put a hold on the business license renewal until they could investigate the neighbors' complaints and review the operation. In September, the Planning and Community Development Department told Central Valley Recycling it would not approve the license renewal because the neighbors' complaints had been verified.

Central Valley did not exercise its right to appeal the decision within 10 days.

In April, the county's code enforcement staff ordered the business to cease the operation. But the business and property owners have not complied with the order.

The county's Nuisance Abatement Hearing Board declared the property a nuisance after listening to arguments June 27 from representatives of the business and residents. That decision was forwarded to the county board for its consideration Tuesday.

"I have seen the dust and noise when this big claw picks up the scrap metal," said Supervisor Jim DeMartini, whose district includes the area in south Modesto. He said the metal recycling should be moved elsewhere.

Attorney Thomas Terpstra, representing Central Valley Recycling, is asking the county board to hold an appeal hearing Aug. 20. The attorney has said that cost-effective measures can be taken to reduce the impacts on the neighborhood.

The owners of Central Valley Recycling told the county they were willing to build a 10-foot concrete wall and implement a plan to reduce the noise. The owners have said they use a water truck to reduce dust.

The owners, Donald Francis Sr. and Donald Francis Jr., did not return a phone message Friday. According to records, Stanley Goblirsch and Joyce Goblirsch own the property.

County supervisors could decide to start the abatement action, which would give the owners two weeks to stop the operation or correct the conditions. If nothing is done during that time, county staff would be authorized to abate the nuisance and remove material, equipment and vehicles from the site. The disposal costs would be charged to the owners.

In another item Tuesday, the board could start the eminent domain process to acquire land from nine owners for the project to widen Claribel Road east of McHenry Avenue.

The county needs the ground for a $15.2 million project to turn the congested two-lane road into a divided four-lane thoroughfare from McHenry Avenue to Oakdale Road, with a signal at Coffee Road.

The county Board of Supervisors will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto.

Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at kcarlson@modbee.com or (209) 578-2321.

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