Council reconsiders shredder approval

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Photo by Gabriel Goodwin
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit, third from left) and Sierra Club member Ed McCardle (right) protest the GLE Scrap Metal’s proposal for the installation of an auto shredder unit Sept. 4 outside Melvindale City Hall. City council members approved the installation of the shredder on the property, 25434 Outer Drive, Aug. 21, but nullified that vote to consider the new information presented to them after the council meeting.

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE — The future of an auto shredder unit at GLE Scrap Metal is still in question after the council retracted its vote to “dig deeper into the situation.”

The council decided to reconsider its unanimous Sept. 4 support of the proposal to allow an auto shredder unit at the scrap metal yard, 25434 Outer Drive.

Councilwoman Kalley Hess said she was not satisfied with the information presented during the Aug. 21 meeting.

“After the meeting, I had a couple of conversations,” she said. “It became personally evident to me that I wanted to discuss it further as a council. Afterwards, I didn’t feel educated enough to have made that decision.”

The councilors with unanswered questions — Hess, Carl Louvet and Wheeler Marsee — started their digging Wednesday night during the planning commission meeting, where their concerns were the only agenda item.

The council will hold a new vote at its meeting Wednesday. Hess and Marsee said they received information that was not available to them before their vote and they were not comfortable with the previous vote “because it felt rushed.”

Marsee said the way some of the information was presented, he thought more people were on board with the approval of the shredder. He said that was “obviously a miscommunication,” so the council wanted to take a step back to consider the interests of both Melvindale and its residents.

“I was under the impression (when the decision was made) that the commission, our city engineer, and our building inspector were all on board with this,” Marsee said. “But, now I know they follow the decision of this council. Due to the uprising of the residents, we had to shift gears and take a more specific look into the shredder. I want to make sure our due diligence is done.”

No councilors present disclosed whether their votes will change, but said the additional time was necessary because they “clearly did not have all the facts.”

GLE owner Nathan Zack proposed the addition to the planning commission in June, but did not receive unanimous approval until commissioners’ concerns about his original plan were resolved and presented in August. The commission requested Zack install a fire suppression system within the property and required the system be connected to Detroit’s water system.

Zack petitioned the commission and council to give him a fair shot because he has “done everything asked and in most cases more.” He said the shredder would be a $10 million addition to his property, which would be no different to any other piece of heavy machinery he operates, except it would be stationary.

“The addition could add up to 20 jobs in the city and allow for the city to collect on a larger tax base,” Zack said.

Brian Moench, who is the project manager for GLE’s shredder upgrade, said the council’s approval is still only step one in the process. The votes were still not a guarantee the machine could be built, he said, because GLE still needs to file applications with Wayne County, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The machine could be operational by May 2014, once those applications are approved and the company waits the 46 weeks for delivery of the machine.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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