Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and a group of aldermen vigorously defended a clout-heavy scrap yard on Tuesday, brushing aside neighbors who shared stories about noxious pollution and loud noises from one of the last industrial operations in a fast-gentrifying corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River.
One of the neighborhood’s elected representatives, Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, introduced a measure months ago to revoke a special waiver that allows General Iron Industries to collect flattened cars, used appliances and other scrap metal around the clock and operate massive shredders from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
City rules normally restrict scrap yards to operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(click here to continue reading Emanuel, aldermen block attempt to cut hours of troubled North Side scrap shredder – Chicago Tribune.)
If I lived near here, I’d be really pissed too. 5 in the morning is way too early to be making such a racket.
The place sounds like a menace anyway.
After Hopkins forced colleagues to call his measure for a vote, Tuesday’s long-delayed hearing quickly devolved into heated personal attacks from a former federal prosecutor hired by the company’s owners, and repeated interruptions of neighborhood residents by Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, chairman of the city’s Health and Environmental Protection committee.
Hopkins, Ald, Michele Smith, 43rd, and community groups in Lincoln Park and Bucktown contend the scrap shredder is a menace to the public, citing clouds of metallic pollution that routinely waft into nearby residential areas and three crackdowns on General Iron by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the latest of which came in July.
Georgia Nicholson, who lives across the street from General Iron, says she hoses metallic particles off her patio several times every day. “I don’t know why the city doesn’t see these things,” she said.
“My job is to represent the people of my neighborhood who have been telling me since before I got elected about the explosions, about the noise, about the dust, about the oily film that they find on their cars, on their sidewalks, on their wading pools,” said Hopkins, who along with Smith and Ald. Scott Wauguespack, 32nd, is calling for the city to turn the site into a new park. “There is absolutely no question that General Iron is a nuisance and is a health hazard to the neighborhood.”