Protest and passage: Fort Wayne may get a new recycling plant

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) – Fort Wayne Planning Commission meetings are typically mundane affairs.

In fact, disagreements among members are rare, so rare that even one of the commissioners learned tonight that it took five votes to accept or reject an agenda item.

And disagreements with the public attending the meetings are also usually rare.

So it was unusual for the planning commission president, Connie Haas Zuber, to have to threaten to call security on some public participants who were vocally opposed to a new recycling facility in southeast Fort Wayne.

The proposed 76-acre recycling facility will include a 140-foot smelter and six other buildings taller than the 50-foot legal limit.

It is being designed by ExUrban, a UK company that has bought land for the facility at Adams Center and Paulding Streets, opposite the Sheriff’s Training Facility.

But much to the disappointment of those who opposed it, it went through the planning commission tonight.

“We’re like the bottom of the barrel, anything they don’t want they put to the southeast,” said Jessie Jackson, one of those who spoke at tonight’s gathering.

He became verbal during the meeting after it was over and asked if he and others could offer their opinions before a decision was made.

When told no, he said the public was disappointed with what was going on before getting up to leave.

Jackson expressed his opinion that anything the planning commission didn’t want to see was “laid onto the southeastern part of town.”

President Zuber then threatened to call security before Jackson and others left the meeting.

“They don’t tell everyone the truth,” Jackson said afterwards. “There’s a lot of pollutants and carcinogenic things in this recycling plant that they’re talking about building.”

Ty Simmons was also one of those who left the meeting after passing through the recycling facility.

He was upset that the council was debating whether or not to allow Famous Taco a new location as the new recycling facility.

“They care more about a change for a taco joint than about the pollution in our community,” Simmons said. “It’s disrespectful how they attacked each other at a taco place instead of talking about people who will live in that neighborhood, it shows no respect.”

Members of the planning commission stated that they would not make decisions based on environmental standards.

“I think the big factor that was mentioned tonight was the environmental factors that we can’t really control,” said Tom Freistroffer, city councilman and planning commission member. “IDEM will need to issue the air quality permit in the future, which it has not currently issued.” Protest and passage: Fort Wayne may get a new recycling plant

Dais Johnston

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