NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Mayor Kenny Alexander and city council say they don’t want a proposed recycling center on St. Julian Avenue, but so far the project has been approved at every step.
The operator would be former Portsmouth City Council member Danny Meeks, the president of Select Waste Recycling Services. He currently operates a similar facility in Chesapeake near the Gilmerton Bridge.
Norfolk Council Member Angelia Williams-Graves held a press conference Monday in front of the building that would house the recycling center. The land is owned by State Senator Bill DeSteph in partnership with Bill Terry.
Williams-Graves says the business would bring too many trucks and present a safety hazard for school children in the neighborhood off Tidewater Drive. But Meeks says he chose the site because it is zoned industrial. He says it already has significant truck traffic.
Neighbors are concerned, but were also slightly more receptive when they learned the trucks would be hauling in construction debris, and not residential garbage. “(Construction debris) would be pretty decent,” said resident Steven Johnson.
Graves says the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality was “grossly negligent” when it approved a preliminary step for the project earlier this year.
DeSteph says he and Terry already lease space on the 40-acre property to similar businesses, employing about 400 people.
Neighborhood watch coordinator Marcus Powell says “We don’t need this in our neighborhood. Too many hazards, too many little kids.”
The public comment period ends March 23, and then the Department of Environmental Quality will evaluate the design of the project. According to information from DEQ, comments may be received by SWRS at P.O. Box 6419, Chesapeake, VA 23323 or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org