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Chico Scrap Metal opponents turn in thousands of signatures to prompt referendum
Dec 5,2016 12:43CST
industry news
The volunteers of “Move the Junkyard” movement have managed to garner over 9,000 signatures in opposition to operation of Chico Scrap Metal.

By Paul Ploumis
December 02, 2016 07:03:34 AM

SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): The volunteers of “Move the Junkyard” movement have managed to garner over 9,000 signatures in opposition to operation of Chico Scrap Metal (CSM) at its current site on 878 E. 20th St., Chico, California. The signatures were handed over to the Chico city clerk Thursday. The coalition noted that only 4,700 signatures are enough to put the issue on the ballot in 2018. It hoped that the referendum would persuade the city council to review its decision to let CSM to operate at the same site.

Mark Stemen, member of the "Move the Junkyard" coalition stated that the facility is too close to Chapman Elementary School. The toxic gases expelled by the industrial operation may cause serious health risks to kids. Steman appreciated the valuable services that CSM has been offering as a business. The movement is not a vendetta against the Scott family or Chico Scrap Metal, he added.

In 2004, six businesses including CSM were asked to relocate/ shut down, citing non-conformance of industrial and commercial operation in the Chapman Mulberry neighborhood. All the other five businesses relocated. In 2006, CSM secured five-year extension of the deadline. In 2011, the deadline was again extended for another five years until October this year. The council meeting held during May this year, by way of a 4-3 vote, had decided not to take action to relocate the scrap facility. In October 2016, the council members voted to allow the scrap metal firm to continue operations at its current site, amidst widespread protests from neighborhood communities. This had forced the movement to launch a referendum campaign.

According to the coalition, earlier in 2008, the State of CA Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) had fined Chico Scrap Metal $381,000 for its uncontained toxins. In addition, the agency had mandated a cleanup of the site. The company had claimed that a cleanup operation was performed and new façade was built along 20th Street. However, these changes are not enough, the coalition noted. According to them, the facility violates the zoning and neighborhood plans and hence must not be allowed to operate. Meantime, Kim Scott, the owner of the facility claimed that the business was there long before the city grew around them. It had expressed willingness to relocate, provided the expenses for relocation are paid by the city.

Meantime, the protestors alleged that the site spreads harmful chemicals, impacting the health of people living around. According to them, the operation of the facility is totally incompatible with the neighboring zoning. Aesthetic changes will not do any good for the nearby community as the dump site is believed to emit deadly chemicals that could cause serious damage to human health.

About Chico Scrap Metal

Chico Scrap Metal (CSM), established in 1983, is a family operated business supporting the community in their personal and business recycling needs. The easily accessible location at East 20th Street provides safe and proper recycling of materials that would otherwise be discarded in landfills. CSM works with local businesses and individuals to provide bins to recycle metals. The company retrieves the materials from the bins which are recycled in an environment-friendly manner. The company is a major recycler of all scrap metals (ferrous and non-ferrous).

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