LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The I-27 Recycling and Public Scales sits right outside of city limits, and Mayor Tom Martin says the city considered annexing the property last year. After Monday's fire, he would like to see it on the agenda again."It's really not a very attractive approach into our city," said Mayor Tom Martin.
Martin says he would love to see the I-27 Recycling and Public Scales plant closed down and cleaned up. Asphalt and wood shingles caught fire Monday night, but that wasn't the first time back in 2002 there was a similar massive fire. Martin says for the city to be able to regulate the plant, it would have to be annexed into Lubbock city limits. "I think we would have through our code enforcement process powers, we would have much more ability to control it than it is in an unincorporated area," said Martin.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been monitoring the recycling plant for the last few years. And last week a Travis County jury fined the plant's owner Larry Webb $100,000 for not following recycling guidelines properly. But before TCEQ started to monitor the property, it was hardly regulated. "Unfortunately county government under Texas law has very little authority to regulate land use so its kind of been a no man's land," said Martin.
But Martin says new state legislation was passed in 2005 and that's when TCEQ got involved. The plant's owner will face a district judge on Thursday and the judge could grant a permanent injunction so Webb would not be allowed to take in anymore materials.
Martin says annexing the recycling plant has come up before and he would like to see the city regulate the land so it can be shut down, so a fire won't happen again. "I think this probably adds an accent to that when we discussed the need for annexation to the north last year we discussed this very facility and the problems that we've had with it," said Martin.
Webb will face a district judge on Thursday.
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