By Jessica Mathews & Jon King /

Despite rejection earlier this year to install an open-air industrial shredder in Howell, the company behind the effort is moving forward with a request for a state air permit.

Padnos Iron and Metal is proposing to install and operate a new metal processing facility at 645 Lucy Road. If approved, it would include a scrap metal shredder and systems to separate waste material from recyclable metals. Material not able to be recycled would be sent to a landfill. The proposed equipment would have air emissions at levels requiring an air permit.

The company had initially sought three variances for their site - which already had site plan approval and a special land use permit. Two of the variances requested to keep storage areas and driveways gravel as opposed to needing to be paved, while the third was for the allowance of an industrial shredder to be kept outdoors, and not in an enclosed building. The initial project created vocal opposition from the community which raised concerns about air and noise pollution, as well as groundwater contamination. Numerous residents crowded meetings late last year and in January and February, with most speaking in opposition. In February, the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) unanimously denied all three requests, while also reminding residents it did not have the authority to reverse the Planning Commission’s earlier decision to grant site plan approval and a special use permit.

Padnos later filed a lawsuit against the City of Howell based on the BZA denial contending it was legally operating on a portion of the site that was previously a junkyard but not in the area that was denied by the BZA. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy or EGLE is currently accepting comments on the air permit request. In addition to submitting comments, the public can attend a virtual meeting and public hearing on November 10th at 6pm. Information about the proposed project can be viewed at through the attachment and link below.

Howell City Manager Paul DeBuff told WHMI they’ll review the air quality permit and determine if there’s any action needed on their end but other than that, it’s still under litigation and they’re waiting for court dates to be scheduled.