Auto recycler wins rezoning bid

January 10, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Owners of an auto recycling center on Marley Neck have persuaded a county board to rezone their property for light industry because an adjacent hazardous-waste landfill makes it unlikely the land could be used for anything else.

Bill's Auto Parts, owned by American Auto & Truck Parts, asked the Board of Appeals to rezone its 3.85 acres and grant a special exception to operate the salvage business, which is bounded on three sides by the Solley Road landfill.

"When you are located in that kind of proximity to that kind of a use, you are not going to develop an industrial park with a parklike atmosphere," said Richard B. Talkin, a Columbia lawyer who represented the auto company.

The appeals board approved the request, calling Browning-Ferris Industries landfill a "nuisance." It said the landfill so dominates the neighborhood that county officials made a mistake when they zoned American Auto's property for an industrial park.

"Perhaps most compelling, an industrial park such as that envisioned in the W1 [light industry] district is totally out of character in the same neighborhood as the BFI landfill," the board wrote.

If Bill's had not gotten appeals board approval, it would have been forced to appeal the ruling or close.

Mr. Talkin said the company will take the opportunity to upgrade the operation and will begin work "as soon as possible." The site has been used for a junkyard or auto dismantling operation for at least 23 years, according to testimony in the case.

"This is a real opportunity to upgrade the area," Mr. Talkin said. He said the owner plans to build a garage that will look more like a house.

For many in the Solley Road corridor who had hoped the Marley Neck peninsula will be redeveloped with more homes, industrial parks and business centers, the decision was a setback.

"We have five junkyards within six miles; it's not like we don't have enough of them," said Casper Hackmann, who lives nearby.

"Who wants to build homes, or buy homes . . . in such a setting? Each end of the highway has a junkyard," he said.

Mr. Hackmann said he doubted whether any nearby residents could afford to appeal to county Circuit Court.

Mr. Talkin said the auto recycler is different from a junkyard in that it dismantles vehicles and stores the usable parts, while the hulk is taken away.

The board set several conditions for the business. Among them are no Sunday operations, keeping all noisy work indoors and screening the operations from Solley Road.

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