Bloomington City Council member Chris Sturbaum is straightforward with his feelings: “My basic, two-word description of this project is: it stinks.”
Sturbaum is referring to a proposed facility where city trash trucks could leave waste before it’s ultimately brought to the dump. Waste management company Indiana Recycling Resource planned to build this facility on the site of JB’s Salvage on West Vernal Pike in Bloomington. While many city and county officials initially supported the project, support diminished as officials and neighborhood residents learned more about what the facility would entail.
Indiana Recycling Resource owner Bethany Stevens was in the process of securing permits for the operation from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. But Sturbaum and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan have reversed their initial support for the project, and a deadline for Stevens’ permit has passed.
While Stevens was unavailable for interview, in an email she says she has asked IDEM for an 18- to 24-month extension in the permit process and is still hopeful the company can work out a plan with local officials.
State spokesperson Barry Sneed says before IDEM can review Stevens’ permit request, department officials must first review whether an extension can be granted.
“We were considering the request, so our staff will meet and discuss it and see what the rules and regulations allow, and then go from there,” said Sneed.
Sturbaum points out that most of the property around J.B.’s Salvage is currently zoned as residential, meaning a trash transfer facility won’t conform to its surroundings.
“I just don’t see it happening in the long run with this much opposition,” said Sturbaum, “and very weak standing for increasing a non-conforming use. It’s just inappropriate there, and it should not be increased. Period.”
Sturbaum is confident alternatives to the facility can be found.