Planners approve recycling center

STEUBENVILLE – Plans for an indoor scrap metal recycling center on University Boulevard were approved Monday night, but managing partner Joe Scugoza was told he must meet six conditions to open the facility.

The four members of the planning and zoning commission present for the meeting voted unanimously to approve the application for conditional use of the former Cameron Coca-Cola bottling plant at 813 University Blvd.

“This has been a difficult decision. We understand where you are coming from and we do understand the university’s future plans for the ‘green strip’ and that area. Be advised you have to meet the conditions listed here tonight,” Hendricks told Scugoza.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi listed six conditions as part of the conditional-use approval, including a requirement requiring all traffic exiting the recycling center site must turn right.

“The owner/applicant shall be responsible for erecting signage which must comply with the standards of the city engineer designating this turning restriction. No exterior storage of any kind shall be permitted on the site. No exterior overnight parking of vehicles, trailers or equipment shall be permitted on the site. And the conditional-use approval will be required to be renewed annually,” stated Petrossi.

Petrossi also said the conditional-use approval be null and void when ownership changes or use of the property as a recycling facility ceases.

“The building and site must be in compliance with all current building, health and safety codes prior to the occupancy, and the compliance must be maintained throughout the occupancy,” Petrossi added.

The building is owned by his mother, Barbara Scugoza.

According to Joe Scugoza, the recycling operations will discourage walk-in business.

“Everything will be inside of the building. The metal will be placed in roll-off containers and when those containers are full they will be taken to our facility in Wintersville where it will be properly handled. We will be taking tin, iron, aluminum, copper, stainless steel and brass – only recyclable material. And we will beautify the building,” Joe Scugoza said.

“My wife and I want to start and run a boutique metal recycling business,” said Joe Scugoza.

But his plans drew opposition from several area business owners as well as a nearby neighbor.

Bill Williams, owner of the Wyndam Microtel Hotel, said he is “very concerned about resurrecting the old.”

“I respect what you are doing but I feel this will be contrary to what I feel is the future of Steubenville. I did research before I chose Steubenville. This is the gateway to Utica drilling. I don’t feel this is in the best interests of the community. I don’t support this. This is the old economy and a new economy is coming,” noted Williams.

“This is the main road to Franciscan University. You don’t keep the grass cut. You haven’t taken care of the property,” remarked Jim Saltsman, owner of Fort Steuben Maintenance.

“I question if you will take care of the building and property. By nature the business you want to put there has problems. University Boulevard is the key entrance to our city. I am not opposed to your business but this isn’t the right site. If you had kept this property cleaner in the past I wouldn’t oppose this. I am also personally willing to help you market this property for future development,” stated Mark Teramana, business owner.

Joe Scugoza said he believes the life span of the recycling center will be limited because future development of the property “will come in five or so years. At that point we will sell the property and move our operations somewhere else. If someone comes to me with plans I would be a fool not to roll with the punches.”

According to Dominic Teramana, business owner, Franciscan University of Steubenville has plans to develop the “green strip” on University Boulevard.

“We have plans for another motel or two restaurants near the Microtel Hotel. I am all for positive development but this particular plan is not best for Steubenville. I really hope we can turn this community around. We know we are the epicenter of the Utica industry. Your property will have value in the near future. Everything we do is very important for the future of our community,” said Teramana.

Scugoza was supported by Daniel Thorne of Steubenville who cited the jobs that will be created at the recycling center.

And, David Irvin said the property is already zoned industrial and the conditional-use approval would give the city some control over what is placed on the property.

The owner of the Sesame Grill expressed concerns about what the recycling center may look like.

“Why don’t you put in a Starbucks there,” Amy Peng told Joe Scugoza.

In other business during the two-hour meeting, Petrossi reported the 2013 building demolition program is nearly complete,

He also told the planning commission members the 2013 Community Development Block Grant program street improvement project also is nearly complete.