California Waste Recovery Systems will be allowed to open a materials recycling center after the Galt City Council on Tuesday denied an appeal filed against the project.
The unanimous 5-0 vote came after more than 90 minutes of discussion and more than half a dozen speakers opposing the center.
"This company is one of the companies that has had a stellar reputation in the community," Mayor Barbara Payne said. "I certainly understand the fears of people regarding their quality of life ... but what has come (to the council for approval) in the past is a waste transfer system."
Even though California Waste proposed opening a waste transfer system in the past, Tuesday's approval was for a material recovery facility in a vacant building at 175 Enterprise Court where workers will essentially sort recyclables to ready them to be taken elsewhere. Mixed in that recycling might be household garbage that will need to be removed.
The company plans to move the business and its 51 jobs to Galt with plans to potentially add 15 or more new jobs.
"We're going to look to Galt to fill those positions," Dave Vaccarezza said. "Two-thirds of our employees already live in Galt or in the Galt area."
California Waste wants to consolidate its services under one roof in Galt, according to Rudy Vaccarezza, whose father Dave owns the company.
"We want to reduce emissions instead of driving from Lodi to Sacramento to process these materials," he told the city council on Tuesday. "We are a recycling company, not a garbage company."
But attorney Mark Robinson, representing the Savage Family LLC, which owns the adjacent United Rotary Brush and filed the appeal against the Planning Commission decision last month, takes issue with the tonnage allowable under the use permit. He said the total equals more than what the entire city of Galt produces daily, he said.
"Ninety-five percent of the materials are going to come from out of the city of Galt," Robinson said, adding that it will bring in dozens more trucks daily. "This use permit is not just about bringing in recycling, but solid waste."
Robinson also takes issue with the lack of requirements of the conditional use permit. For example, trucks entering the facility do not have to be solely owned by California Waste. Also, according to Robinson, there is nothing requiring the company to keep waste inside the building.
"We are not here because they want to open a material recovery facility," he said. "We're here because they want to do more than just recycling here."
But the city insists the project approved Tuesday is for a material recovery center, only. If California Waste later wants to operate as a solid waste transfer station accepting garbage and green waste, it would be required to return to the Planning Commission for approval and a public hearing be held.
Material recovery facilities accept products such as paper and aluminum to be sorted and bailed to be taken to a recycling center elsewhere. Glass is collected, as well.
It is unclear how much actual refuse will be brought into the city from outside the area.
Dave Vaccarezza said it is difficult to recoup 75 percent recycling without bringing in waste from both commercial and multi-unit residential sites.
On Tuesday, longtime resident Tracy Gross presented to the city council a petition with 150 signatures and 35 letters against the proposal.
"I just hope you will give us consideration," she said.
Gross, who has circulated the petition in the hopes of keeping California Waste from opening its material recovery facility in Galt, is not the only one against the company's plans. More than half a dozen residents, including Mary Chapman, spoke at Tuesday's meeting.
Chapman urged California Waste to move into a non-residential area and away from neighborhoods where truck traffic could be an issue. She also pointed out that there will be more students walking come fall due to Galt Joint Union Elementary School District cutting many bus routes.
Resident Bob Ballet also spoke out against the project Tuesday, and said the city's report does not answer all of the questions.
"Our major concern ... is truck traffic relating to Pringle Avenue. We would like to put Cal Waste on notice that any use will be reported to authorities," he said. "Us retired people may not have a lot of money, but we have a lot of time to monitor."
Payne also believes additions to the permit will help alleviate this potential issue.
California Waste already provides garbage collection service for Galt residents and elsewhere in both Sacramento and San Joaquin counties. But it currently takes the green waste, recycling and garbage carts to Stockton and Sacramento for processing.
In 2004, the company operated an interim transfer station on Industrial Court and city planner Chris Erias said there were no complaints. In 2007, the company proposed opening a transfer station, but it was denied by the city council.
"Why are we talking about this again?" Gross said. "This isn't the second or even the third time the project has come up. It's still garbage, no matter how you look at it."
Hours of operation of the recycling center will initially be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., although the company may eventually operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, similar to other businesses in the Industrial Park.
Collection trucks will enter and exit the site beginning at 4:30 a.m. via existing driveways at the southeast end of the property, and then proceed along the east side of the building, where they will be weighed at a new in-ground scale before entering a tipping area to unload the recyclable material. It will then be pushed into a conveyor system with a front loader. The recyclable material will then enter a series of conveyor systems for separating the material. After separation, each recycled item is compressed or bundled.
Any residual waste will be collected up to three times daily, according to Dave Vaccarezza, and hauled to regional landfills such as North County Landfill in San Joaquin County or Kiefer Road Landfill in Sacramento County.
Access to and from Highway 99 by trucks will be via designated routes, typically along Industrial Drive from Enterprise Court to Amador Avenue. Trucks will use either Carol Drive, Lincoln Way or Simmerhorn Road to exit or enter Highway 99, depending on the route of travel, according to the initial proposal.
Since the operation is taking place in a fully enclosed building, city planners have said noise and odors will not affect surrounding businesses.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.