By Jessica Mathews /

Despite issues being worked out earlier this year between the City of Howell and a metal recycling company, flyers have recently begun circulating in the community in opposition of an approved industrial shredder.

Padnos Howell Inc. operates a recycling operation at 645 Lucy Road and had filed a lawsuit against the City after its Board of Zoning Appeals denied two variances - one of which would have allowed the company to operate an open-air metal shredder, as opposed to placing it inside an enclosure.

The Planning Commission had previously approved the plans for the operation, including the shredder, subject to the approval of the variances by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Last January, Padnos agreed to comply with City ordinances, dismiss its appeal and enclose the metal shredder in a building and pave the site with ordinance-approved materials. The city previously said the settlement included “extensive regulations to ensure and protect air quality, and Padnos will have more rigorous state enforcement than any metal recycler in the state".

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) also approved an application for the air quality permit in Padnos’ favor.

Recently, the group Protect Livingston recently mailed out flyers that state “Stop the Shredder, Keep Howell Healthy”. It alleges various concerns and environmental issues associated with the shredder, including fires, explosions, noise and traffic. The group and some others nearby including Livingston County Catholic Charities had been vocally opposed to the shredder from the start and crowded earlier meetings.

The group was formed by Howell Attorney Don Parker, the former chair of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, and promotes itself as trying to keep residents informed of the county’s “great quality of life, clean environment and enjoyable cities, townships, lakes and more.”

Howell City Manager Erv Suida told WHMI they’re not sure why the flyers are being sent out, but noted they had generated about 20 calls to City Hall over the past few days and several emails. He noted the site plan was already approved in October of 2020 by the Planning Commission and they’re in the construction review phase of the site. Suida said the over 60-year-old metal recycling facility, which was formerly Regal Recycling, has been purchased and operating under Padnos since that time in 2020. He said once the City completes the review of construction documents, they’ll have a construction schedule through completion.

Padnos is also currently in the process of getting their permits from EGLE.

WHMI reached out to Mr. Parker to inquire why Protect Livingston was again sending out the flyers. This was his response:

"We are talking to Howell residents because this issue is not resolved, nor does the settlement between Padnos and the City of Howell erase the harms of the proposed shredding operation. In fact, the Settlement Agreement does not comply with Howell’s own Zoning Ordinance which requires a fully enclosed building, and a representation that it does is false, because the city council inexplicably agreed to a building with an open top. The community must be aware that the risks associated with this automobile shredding operation, such as noise, vibrations, pollution, and explosions, still very much exist. Our city government must do more to keep Howell healthy."