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Company Refuses to Delay Push to Open Massive Metal Shredder in Pilsen

By Chloe Riley | December 13, 2013 11:37am | Updated on December 13, 2013 11:53am
 Pure Metal Recycling's Brian Hynes and Mark Sweadlow discuss plans for the compnay's metal shredder with Pilsen community members Thursday.
Pure Metal Recycling's Brian Hynes and Mark Sweadlow discuss plans for the compnay's metal shredder with Pilsen community members Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Chloe Riley

PILSEN — A company hoping to open a metal shredding factory denied a community group’s request to delay their upcoming hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals.   

The company, Pure Metal Recycling, has proposed building the $30 million factory on 15 acres of land south of Cermak Road and east of Loomis Street near the Chicago River. It would be directly across from Benito Juarez High School.

At a meeting at Lozano Library Thursday night, Nelson Soza, executive director of the community group Pilsen Alliance, complained about the lack of details about the plan. He asked Pure Metal Recycling President Mark Swedlow to postpone the company’s zoning request, which goes before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Dec. 20.

The Pilsen Alliance said it only learned of the plan in August through media reports, even though it was just weeks away from going to the zoning board. It was again postponed in October.

At a November public meeting, Sweadlow acknowledged concern over diesel emissions from trucks using the facility was a "huge issue" but he could not provide projected emissions at the time. He said the trucks would unload indoors.

But on Thursday, officials with Pure Metal Recycling — which is largely owned by the son of the owner of the Bridgeport-based Acme Metal Refinery — said they will not put off the request.

“We don’t have any intention of postponing on Dec. 20,” said Brian Hynes, a lawyer for Pure Metal Recycling. “This has already been postponed several times.”

Hynes said the company has already pushed back its zoning request four months. Swedlow said the delays have already cost the company a significant amount of money.

“From continued rental payments on a property we cannot yet use, to the mounting professional fees we continue to incur, it has not been easy,” Swedlow wrote in an email to Soza Wednesday.

Hynes said he anticipates city approval of the Dec. 20 zoning request.

“We wouldn’t be going forward with it unless we thought so, but it’s ultimately up to the Zoning Board of Appeals,” he said.

The facility would be located in the ward of Ald. Danny Solis (25th). Solis spokeswoman Stacy Raker said the alderman had already delayed the hearing once, subsequent delays would have to come from the company. Raker also said the alderman has been in conversations with Pure Metal Recycling and has expressed to that company the community's request that the zoning hearing be delayed.