Family fighting e-waste smelter project, plan commission in court

Family fighting e-waste smelter project, plan commission in court

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A family says a proposed e-waste smelter plant for the southeast side of town was wrongly given the green light by the Fort Wayne Plan Commission and will harm a nearby 150-year-old farm .

The family – David Bulmahn, Ronald Bulmahn and Janet Bulmahn – filed a challenge in Allen Superior Court last week against British company Exurban’s planned 140ft-tall recycling plant project on Adams Center Roads and Paulding.

They are essentially asking for a judicial review and believe that the facility approval should be revoked.

Exurban previously promised to create about 200 jobs paying between $50,000 and $70,000 a year with the $300 million facility on 76 acres of the Adams Township Industrial Park property at the northeast corner of the Paulding and Adams Center roads.

The Bulmahns’ farm is across Paulding Road from the proposed factory, and the family say this will reduce the value of the farm – which the family has used for 150 years – by at least 30%, documents show judicial.

At the heart of Bulmahn’s challenge is what exactly constitutes a “recycling plant” considered by the city’s zoning laws.

In the challenge — which also names the Fort Wayne Plan Commission and the City of Fort Wayne Redevelopment Department as well as Exurban — the Bulmahns claim the foundry is not following city code for a recycling center in the city. designated area where it is supposed to be built.

An attorney representing the Bulmahns wrote in court documents that, according to city code, recyclable materials for a recycling center in that area include things like newspapers, magazines and books.

According to the family’s attorney in court documents, this does not include metals and materials included in items such as cell phones, computers or other industrial products.

The plan of a foundry at the corner of Adams Center and Paulding roads.

In the challenge, the lawyer writes:

“Waste from mixed electrical equipment, automotive industry waste, general waste, industrial waste and incinerator bottom ash are not recyclable materials that are similar in nature to newspapers, magazines, books, other paper, glass, and metal can products, and, as defined below, only items similar to these may be recycled at an authorized “recycling processing facility” in the area properly zoned under the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals.

In the application documents, Exurban officials wrote that the company plans to absorb up to 45,000 tons of e-waste every year. The facility on the southeast side of town is labeled in these documents as a “smelter” and as a “metals refinery.”

The Buhlmans’ appeal for a formal judicial review accused Exurban of misleading the plan commission in part about what the company had in store for the facility and that the plan commission wrongly or illegally awarded the plan. approval for the facility in October, according to court documents.

The Buhlmans’ attorney also accused the planning commission of refusing to take public comment on the proposed facility at a meeting last August, writing in court papers that “the planning commission’s disgust for public input cost him the opportunity to make a correct decision and ultimately forced the plaintiffs into the unenviable position of having to bring the action immediately.”

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 11, and it’s unclear when construction could begin on the facility.

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