|Bales of aluminum, each one containing about 34,000 flattened cans, await shipment at Gold Metal.|
"On a sweltering Saturday in June, a community group called Unify South Dallas has gathered for one of its regular meetings at the Forest Heights Community Center on Holmes Street, off South Lamar. Led by Walter “Changa” Higgins, Unify’s chairman, the group has several topics on its agenda this morning, including payday lending, the school-budget crisis—and Gold Metal Recyclers."
"Just days before a fire last week at Gold Metal Recyclers in South Dallas, our city council voted to allow the recycler to expand its enterprise even closer to the residential neighborhood in which they do business. Given that a fire in February of this year led to an EPA Superfund Enforcement and Clean-Up action, similar to one required of Gold Metal in 2008, shouldn’t residents have known this before the council vote?"
"Perhaps they would also like to know that the city staff advised against the expansion, and not for the dangers represented by the fires. The addendum published by the council reports that staff advised against expansion because expansion runs counter to the Trinity River Corridor Comprehensive Land Use Plan and the goals and policies of ForwardDallas! The staff is also concerned about the recycler’s operating their business in the floodplain. While the Goldberg’s (owners of Gold Metals recycling) claim to have applied to remove the floodplain designation with FEMA, staff found no evidence of the application."
"Or maybe the residents would like to have known about the process leading to the vote. The opening line to Addendum 32, which went before the city council on June 22, states that the vote concerned, “A public hearing to receive comments regarding an application for and an ordinance granting an amendment to and expansion of Planned Development District No. 331.” What public hearing? Residents viewed the proposed streetscape changes at the Lamar-B-Q held on the Gold Metal property last November. But unveiling a few sketches while public officials made speeches hardly serves as a public hearing. Maybe local residents would like to know what happened to the public hearing voted on by the city council."
"What about the results of the one community poll conducted by the city? The city mailed 149 notifications to the neighborhood to see who opposed and who supported the expansion. The returns were not that impressive, seventeen in all. More to the point, the returns included 9 opposed and 8 in support. Six of those supporting expansion either had the last name of Goldberg or the company name Loshel, one of the owners of the Gold Metal Recyclers. In the end, only two residential property owners supported the expansion. Do two residents in support prove enough to move forward with the plan, with at least nine in opposition? Didn’t the potential impact on the community call for a door-to-door canvass to get a real perspective on how the residents feel about the proposed expansion? Perhaps the majority of residents wonder what effect their voice might have on the council vote."
"Sufficiently informing the residents of this proposal is the responsibility of city councilmember Carolyn Davis. Several community members responded to the initial mailing by speaking with Ms. Davis, who assured them she would take care of their interests. Trusting their elected representative these residents decided not to attend the council hearing. That trust earned a unanimous vote by the council to expand the Gold Metal Recyclers’ presence in the community."
"We at Unify South Dallas are definitely concerned about how this process and the results impact this community. We are concerned that residents were not properly informed about this ‘public hearing.’ Would their views on this subject effect the outcome of the council vote?"
"Sadly enough, we’ll never know."
It's just another example of how much of a fight this really is...