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Tenn. recycler may be forced to close its doors

Keywords: Tags  scrap metal, Kan Metal Recycling, Ron Morrer, Susan Higley, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — A local planning agency has recommended denial of Kan Metal Recycling’s requests for rezoning and an operating permit, which could force the Chattanooga, Tenn., scrap metal feeder and processing yard to close its doors.

"Approval of this request could set a negative precedent encouraging a spate of similar requests for heavy industrial zoning changes inappropriate to this area," a Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency staff report said.

Kan Metal Recycling and applicants Taqi Ali Mirza, Ron Morrer and Susan Higley are seeking to have the 4.39-acre parcel rezoned and issued a permit, according to the report. Mirza is the property owner. The tract must be rezoned from C-2 convenience commercial and M-2 light industrial to M-1 industrial, as well as obtain a conditional-use industrial permit.

A routine visit to the site by city officials revealed that the business was not complying with current zoning laws, according to the report, and Kan Metal was told it needed to have the land rezoned to operate legally. The business then applied for the approvals.

A Kan Metal spokesman said the business has been open for eight months, and he is hopeful that the planning agency changes its mind because he doesn’t want to shutter the operation, which is equipped with a truck scale and heavy equipment. The operation has been buying ferrous and nonferrous metals, as well as whole vehicles.

The planning commission said it denied a similar request to rezone the same land to M-1 in 2008 because the parcel is in a mixed-use area that includes residential and commercial property, and heavy industrial use is not compatible.

A meeting on the application is scheduled for Jan. 14.

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