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Mich. judge sends shredder lawsuit down to state court

Keywords: Tags  auto shredder, Three Rivers Metal Recyclers, shredded scrap, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Three Rivers Metal Recyclers LLC has been dealt another setback in its quest to install an auto shredder after a federal judge kicked a lawsuit filed by the company down to the state level.

The Michigan recycler sued Fabius Township and three of its officials in U.S. District Court in Michigan, claiming that the men had used their authority for more than three years to prevent the company from developing the property.

The recycler purchased the environmentally remediated property in 2008 and initiated development efforts on the 14.3-acre site in 2009. But the township forced the company to stop work on the grounds that it didn’t receive the proper permits under the township’s wetlands ordinance.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) confirmed that the property didn’t require a wetlands permit under state law, but the township continued to enforce the stop-work order.

The town’s Planning Commission accepted and recommended approval of an amended site plan in March, but local officials refused to approve the preliminary site plan, according to the lawsuit (, June 28).

Federal Judge Robert Jonker denied jurisdiction and has forwarded the case to Michigan’s St. Joseph County Circuit Court. Jonker argued that local zoning and ordinance matters are best handled at the state level and should only be moved to federal court when the local judicial process is deemed inadequate or fails in a way that opens the door to proper federal review.

The recycler couldn’t be reached for comment.

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