Gary votes against oil recycler’s zoning variance
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent May 21, 2014 11:14PM
Kyle Allen | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 23, 2014 3:34PM
GARY — An oil-recycling business planned for the city’s West Side got shot down but isn’t entirely dead yet.
After unanimously suspending the rules to pass on three readings a zoning variance at 6600 W. 9th Ave. for Great American Treatment and Recycling of Schererville, the Common Council voted 7-1 to defeat its passage. Councilman Michael Protho, D-2, cast the dissenting vote. The motion needed a unanimous vote to pass.
Council President Kyle Allen said he understood there was some concern about the location being near a residential area. He and Councilwoman Kim Robinson, D-5, however, visited the site and determined both the site would be appropriate and that the operation would be safe in the neighborhood.
“The area is an industrial area zoned M-1,” Allen said.
Gary resident Jim Nowacki asked why Great American hadn’t found a place in Schererville. City Planning Director Dwayne Williams said that Schererville has residential and commercial zoning but no industrial.
The Board of Zoning Appeals hadn’t defeated the variance, Allen added, because one member was absent and the vote was 2-2. Tie votes automatically defeat a proposal.
Larry Gephardt, one of the recycling plant’s partners, said he had no comment on the ruling.
Allen said the plans would now go before committee May 27 and then come back before the council for a vote on third reading June 3.
The council also voted 8-0 to approve $96,000 in appropriations for the city’s tourism fund, of which $16,000 would go toward event security; $25,000 to revive the Lakeshore Music Fest at Marquette Park over Labor Day Weekend; $25,000 for Marquette Park marketing, including a promotional video for the pavilion; and marketing for the city’s six “jewel parks.”
In other business, the council voted 8-0 to appoint Robinson head of the council’s Planning Committee. Robinson takes over for Councilman Ronier Scott, D-6, who’s serving three months in prison for tax evasion.