RADFORD – Radford City Council delayed a vote Monday on a possible special use permit for use of the former Grede foundry property as a wire and electronics recycling plant.
The tabling of the vote is to give more time for council members and the special use permit (SUP) seeker, Radford Trading, LLC to look over eight stipulations the city is adding as conditions to the SUP.
“Some of these have just been added, in one case I believe in the last hour, so I think we could all use a little bit of time to look them over,” said Council member Naomi Huntington in making a motion to table the vote.
Radford Trading, LLC purchased a portion of the West Main Street property in 2015 and currently operates recycling operations similar to the one they have proposed in Radford in Chilhowie, Va. And in Princeton, WV.
The stipulations include getting Planning Commission approval for landscaping on the site, having all recycling operations occur inside the building, only using the special use permit area of the property for the operation, and complying with all federal, state and local rules regarding pollution control and environmental protection among other stipulations.
Tommy Bishop, owner of Radford Trading LLC, has responded to questions about air quality, traffic noise and disruption and said he thinks his proposed use would have minimal negative impact on the Radford community, and the possibility of many positive impacts through tax revenue, utility use and job creation. Bishop has explained the former foundry building he and his company are proposing to use for the recycling operation is so large, “four-to-five acres under roof,” that the entire operation will effectively be indoors, thus reducing eyesore and air quality impacts for the surrounding area.
Bishop says the company hopes to eventually make a $5 million investment in the property, and that the initial operation would allow his company to raise the revenue needed to work on the rest of the property
“The site needs a lot of work,” he said at a recent council meeting. “By utilizing part of the property for this, it will allow us to raise revenue to work on the rest of the property.”
Bishop said the initial operation would employ 8-12 people and would begin operation in six to nine months after the SUP, if approved, goes into effect. The recycling operation would not be located in the area the Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency has flagged for corrective action based on high levels of heavy metals found in the soil from more than 100 years of foundry operation Bishop said most of the corrective action indicated for that portion of the property is a “do not disturb” directive, which means no development will take place on that portion.
The Radford Planning Commission unanimously approved the special use permit request following its own public hearing in February. City Council is scheduled to vote on the matter at its April 8 meeting.