“It’s just too risky. I feel particularly bad for the homeowners whose properties back up to it,” said Richard Rose, of West Fifth Street.
Rose and another man, Randall Beamer, hired an attorney to present arguments on their behalf at a recent public hearing about the recycling center.
Rose said he considers the recycling center to be a junkyard because of the classifications in the borough ordinance.
“Under the ordinance and case law, it can only be approved if all the conditions are met,” he said.
Duty said the biggest misconception about the planned business is that it would be a junkyard. He envisions a clean, respectable business handling nonferrous materials like aluminum, brass and copper.
“Junkyard — people in their minds think of cars stacked on top of another, junk stacked up, and tires laying around with water in them and mosquitoes. I don’t want a junkyard here, either,” he said.
Two scales would be set up inside the building near the oversized garage doors used for customer entry.
Duty said mobile scales could be wheeled outside if there is demand.
An ATM on the corner of the building would allow people to get paid in a safe and secure method, Duty said. Staff would not need to handle cash, he said.
ScrapRight software scans driver’s licenses for each customer and checks compliance laws. It creates inventory, cash-on-hand and profits reports. It photographs items on the scales and can share information with law enforcement agencies if needed.
“It manages the business from front to back,” Duty said.
Duty is planning for a 10-foot fence to shield the business. However, he has a request before the zoning hearing board because he cannot meet setback requirements as spelled out in the local ordinance.
Shrubs and trees will be planted for additional screening, Duty said.
“Because of the pavement and concrete, we won’t have dust,” he said.
About 13,000 square feet could remain open for storage or could be leased to another business.
Duty said the site is ideal because of the traffic flow and because it is at a central location to serve the community.
Another salvage yard owner in the area has said his customers’ vehicles back up onto the street, especially on Saturdays, according to Rose.
“We’re concerned about the increased traffic, particularly on Fifth Street, where there are a lot of children,” he said.
Signs opposing the recycling center dot yards in the area, and 231 people signed a petition backing the stance that it does not fit the neighborhood. Duty argues the people signing the petition were misled about the project.
“We want to be a help, not a hindrance, to the community,” Duty said.
He has offered to instruct employees to pick up litter nearby twice a day. He expects to have 10 to 15 customers a day at first, then 75 to 100 a day eventually. Some of them would be construction contractors.