The debate likely will continue, perhaps for another month, over a 44-acre rezoning that includes a controversial scrap-metal recycling center on Mount Vernon Road in Newark.

The debate likely will continue, perhaps for another month, over a 44-acre rezoning that includes a controversial scrap-metal recycling center on Mount Vernon Road in Newark.

Newark service director Kathy Barch is expected to ask city council on Monday (June 1) to table the rezoning, which the planning commission approved unanimously May 26, to allow representatives of Freedom Recycling to submit a new site plan to the commission. The current site plan is inadequate, she said, and the deadline for the updated site plan is June 30. The council has final say on the rezoning.

Barch also proposed a number of requirements for the new site plan, including improved landscaping, buffering, traffic flow and other items.

A few area residents have complained about the recycling center since it applied for a conditional-use permit with Newton Township more than a year ago. Newark annexed the property, at 2097 Mount Vernon Road, in June 2008, but a delay involving rezoning that site developed while the city was completing an update to its zoning code. The update was completed earlier this month.

Over the past year, including during last week's planning commission meeting, residents and others have voiced their concerns about the business and have said they don't want it to continue to operate as it has been.

The rezoning calls for 36.4 acres of the property to be a conservation district, 1.63 acres for general commercial and 6.41 acres -- where the recycling center now sits -- for limited industrial.

North Newark resident Dan Orr, who has addressed city officials numerous times over the recycling center, reiterated many of his complaints May 26, telling the planning commission the rezoning is in direct conflict with the city's land-use plan, which calls primarily for retaining the residential character of the state Route 13 (Mount Vernon Road) corridor.

"There are no other industrial uses in that area," Orr said. "We sincerely request you reflect on the concerns of over 300 residents in the surrounding community."

Other residents complained about the noise and dust caused by the business, as well as environmental concerns, such as water contamination.

Attorney Connie Klema, who represents Freedom Recycling, told the commission her client is aware of the complaints that have been made against the business, including possible contamination, but she questioned how accurate the complaints are.

"None of these things (complaints) have ever been proven," she said. "It isn't a junkyard. It's unfortunate the issue has to be made something other than it is."

Barch said after the meeting that she hopes council would table the rezoning and agree to the site plan after it is resubmitted.

Barch said site-plan requirements she is requesting include having an asphalt driveway approach from Route 13 to help eliminate tracking mud and gravel onto Route 13. In addition, she said, paving the truck route with a dust-free surface inside the center would help alleviate dust problems.

Barch also is recommending that no hazardous wastes or nonrecyclable materials be accepted at the site and that all handling and storage of fluids should be inside buildings, using proper equipment.

Klema said after the meeting that her client recognizes that a new site plan is necessary and that she thinks a plan could be submitted by the June 30 deadline.