Wise Recycling has two months to comply with BF conditional use

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A controversial Bosque Farms recycling business has two months to correct three violations of its conditional use permit.

Last May, Bosque Farms Equities, which operates Wise Recycling at 1220 Bosque Farms Blvd., was granted a conditional use permit to operate a recycling service center.

With that approval came several requirements — requirements the company is not complying with, according to a report by village Planning and Zoning Officer Loretta Hatch.

According to Hatch's report, Wise Recycling is not adhering to noise level requirements, the number of allowed driveways for the property and fencing of the property.

Earlier this month, the planning and zoning commission deferred a decision on Wise's noncompliance until April. The hope is the issues will be resolved by then, Hatch indicated in an email to the News-Bulletin.

When the permit was granted last year, the company agreed to keep the noise level inside the building to no more than 88 decibels and other noise levels to a point that it "would not cause or create a noise nuisance to the public."

Last month, at the planning and zoning meeting, several neighbors near the recycling facility came forward to say the noise levels were unbearable, and possibly even damaging to their property.

Brian Caven lives on Gonzales Lane, east of Wise Recycling, and said the noise and percussion of the metal being dropped into steel roll off containers shakes his house, even the plates in the kitchen cupboards.

"These guys freak out," Caven said, indicating his two elementary age children with him. "It feels like an earthquake. It's every day except Sunday."

Caven, who works from home, estimated his home was about 100 feet from the property, on the north side of Gonzales.

"When I'm inside my home and on the phone, people want to know what's going on," he said. "It's like a war zone."

Paul Benevidez also lives on Gonzales and is directly behind the recycling center.

"The noise is like thunder hitting the ground. You can feel the ground vibrating, the walls shaking," Benevidez said. "I do heavy equipment myself and load trucks the same way. When you are loading rollouts I know what noise they make. But this is a residential and business area, not an industrial park."

Bill Carr, a representative of Bosque Farms Equities, said the company had recently invested in different equipment that would require the metal be moved less often and reduce the noise the neighbors are hearing.

"The staff is being more conscious. We can put in more concrete and a different fence so the vibration can be eliminated as much as it can be," Carr said. "Things should be quite a bit quieter with the new equipment, but it will take some time to get here.

"And there is one thing I want to address: This is never going to be no noisy completely. We're talking iron on iron. We always planned on steel coming in and that is going to create noise, no two ways around it. I wish the neighbors had come to us earlier."

Commissioner Sharon Eastman said she didn't recall any crushing or "mashing" of metal at the facility when it was first proposed.

"It was supposed to be put in a roll off and hauled off by a semi to where ever," Eastman said. "The only processing would be aluminum."

Carr said the steel isn't being "processed," but rather the noise is coming from the machine grabbing the metal, moving it and putting it in the bins.

"Some of our workers were a bit overzealous and they were packing it in as heavy as they could," he said. "They have been told to place (the metal) and get out."

On the driveway issues, the commission required two driveways into the property when it approved the conditional use permit. However, because Bosque Farms Boulevard is a state highway, the New Mexico Department of Transportation stepped in and told Wise Recycling to eliminate one of the entrances.

NMDOT sent a letter to the village, giving the company 90 days from July 1, 2012, to close one driveway. That has not been done because the application for two driveway cuts has not been processed by the department, said Wise representative Scooter Haynes.

Eastman urged Haynes to comply with what DOT directs.

"Whether we agree or not is problematic," Eastman said. "If they tell you to close one, will you?"

Haynes said that would be a matter of who would pay for the closure.

"DOT put in the driveway when N.M. 47 was widened," Haynes said. "We have offered to close it, but it comes down to who pays for the closure."

The conditional use permit also required Wise Recydling to build a solid seven-foot fence along the sides and the back of the property and that the company would work with Charles Fegan and Nancy Bjorkland-Fegan, the adjacent property owners, to reach an agreement on a fence as agreed by using a reasonable standard.

The Fegans are currently appealing the village council's decision to uphold the commission's decision to grant the permit in district court.

After much discussion about where the fence would end, what materials would be used and who said what when, Eastman seemed to lose patience with the matter.

"According to the permissive use permit, a solid seven-foot fence will be placed along the sides and back of property," she said. "Do it! The agreement between you two is what it looks like.

"And you may want to think about the houses on Gonzales. They are reaping the whirlwind of the noise and percussion."


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.