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CITIZENS’ VOICES GETTING THROUGH? – City Council to consider Exide’s vested rights appeal; vote on legal counsel

After months of expressing their increasing concerns about the negative impact of Exide’s aging, poorly maintained lead smelter continuing to operate in the very heart of the community, tonight’s City Council meeting will indicate to Frisco citizens whether their elected representatives are actively listening and how serious they are about repeated, publicly made promises to make the health and welfare of Frisco residents their top priority.

Frisco Planning and Zoning commissioners voted unanimously – 5-0 – at their Dec. 27, 2011, meeting to deny Exide’s vested rights petition to allow the lead smelter to ignore current zoning ordinances and adhere only to those in place 48 years ago when the plant opened. The lead smelter – which does not meet EPA standards for lead emissions, is under an administrative order from the EPA because of the federal agency’s concern about air, soil and water contamination, and also is under an enforcement order by the TCEQ for similar concerns -  wants to revert back to almost half-century old zoning laws so that its applications for permits to make repairs and updates to the facility would not have to be reviewed and approved by the planning commission nor the City.

The lead smelter is a not an authorized use of the property, according to Frisco officials, and under current zoning laws, Exide must first apply for a special use permit. The City Council’s vote tonight on Exide’s appeal will have an impact on that permit process.

Here is a link to tonight’s City Council agenda. Make note of items 28, 29 and 34.

And here is a story by NBCDFW’s Catherine Ross regarding the importance of tonight’s City Council meeting for Frisco residents who have been working hard to convey to City officials that they do not believe Exide is a good neighbor, and that they no longer want the lead smelter operating in the heart of the community.

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