Ken Carlson

South Modesto business wants to intensify metal recycling

Stanislaus County staff members are asking the Planning Commission to continue a use permit request for Central Valley Recycling, which wants to intensify its scrap-metal recycling operation in south Modesto. The permit would be considered at the May 7 meeting.

Rebecca Harrington, who has complained about the business, said residents were told at a community meeting in January that Central Valley wants to increase the tonnage of metal recycling at the 2-acre South Ninth Street site.

The business, on the east side of South Ninth, north of Hosmer Avenue, had a showdown with county supervisors in August 2013. The county had taken code enforcement action after confirming complaints from neighbors about the noise and dust created by the recycling operation, which featured a giant claw that tore apart junked automobiles.

The county notified Central Valley in fall 2012 that its business license would not be renewed and told the recycler to stop processing metal. Officials said metal recycling had increased and become a nuisance for nearby residents since the business license was issued in 2009. Besides the noise, residents complained about a mountain of scrap and thick dust covering their cars.

Central Valley hired a lawyer and kept operating. The Board of Supervisors ultimately allowed the business to apply for a use permit and try to show it can reduce the impact on the neighborhood.

According to an item on Thursday’s planning agenda, the owners want to intensify the business. But the item most likely will be heard in early May.

The county Department of Planning and Community Development published a notice last month that it won’t require an environmental study for the proposed use permit. People have until April 22 to comment on that decision, so staff believes it’s premature to consider the permit.

Central Valley has said it can design and improve the site to dampen the noise to satisfy residents. The business also recycles aluminum cans, bottles and cardboard.

Harrington said she’s pretty sure residents won’t back down.

“It is not about putting them out of business,” she said. “That type of scrap metal recycling is not conducive to the neighborhood.”

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

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