A plan to expand a salvage yard in Howell and add a scrap shredder to process materials is on the agenda this week for city planning commissioners.

Padnos Iron and Metal, acquired the former Regal Recycling property at 645 Lucy Road on July 1st, with the intention of cleaning up the existing site and expanding the operations. Padnos has operations on the west side of the state and Lansing, but this is their first location in eastern Michigan. Planning Commission documents indicate the owner is requesting to expand the existing salvage yard operations to vacant land to the north. That land is the former city-owned Lucy Road Park that was previously sold to Regal Recycling owner Vern Brockway, who planned to develop it, although that never happened. The properties are currently zoned General Industrial.

Padnos is proposing a new tower building on the land, the addition of the shredder and a number of site improvements, including paving a portion of the parcel. Padnos also wants to use certain areas to store gravel. Padnos contends their plan will bring a dormant site back to life and that what they are proposing would be consistent with the General Industrial zoning.

However, city staff did note that a 501(c)(4) organization, Protect Livingston, was formed recently that has discussed the proposed project on its Facebook page. The organization was incorporated on October 14th by Mark Lezotte of the Butzel Long law firm and their Resident Agent is Donald Parker of the Parker and Parker Law Firm. Parker is also the Chair of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. While the Protect Livingston Facebook page has been actively lobbying against the proposal, city officials say they have yet to hear from the group, except for a FOIA request from Mr. Parker that the City is fulfilling. When asked about his position with Protect Livingston and its role advocating against the Padnos proposal, Commissioner Parker told WHMI he is not the person overseeing the posts on the Protect Livingston Facebook page, although he declined to identify who is. But he insisted his involvement with the organization is as an attorney and private citizen and not as the chair of the county board.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Howell City Planning Commission is set for 7pm in council chambers. A public hearing for the Padnos proposal is the only item on the agenda. (JK)