Exide refuses to apply for required permit; Board of Adjustment unanimously denies lead smelter’s preliminary site plan, final plat applications
Below is a copy of a story about last night’s Frisco Board of Adjustment meeting by Dallas Morning News reporter Valerie Wigglesworth.
One very important fact that needs to stated and understood, as it seems to be overlooked repeatedly for some reason in stories reported by the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets, and not surprisingly by Exide officials and lawyers, is this:
The Frisco Exide Technologies plant in Frisco is officially classified by the EPA and the TCEQ – first and foremost – as a large quantity lead generator facility and secondary lead smelter that manufactures both soft and hard lead ingots and lead oxide. The Exide lead smelter also operates a blast furnace and a reverberatory furnace to reclaim lead from lead-bearing wastes generated by Exide or generated by off-site generators, such as other Exide lead smelters around the U.S. that are shipping their lead waste by the ton to Frisco. The lead smelter operates 24 hours a day approximately 350 days a year.
By VALERIE WIGGLESWORTH
Published: 14 February 2012 09:52 PM
The Frisco Planning and Zoning Commission dealt another blow to Exide Technologies on Tuesday with the denial of two applications pending with the city.
Officials with the battery recycling plant need approvals so they can make improvements required by state and federal regulators to reduce lead emissions. An area around the plant near downtown Frisco is one of 21 in the nation that does not meet the federal air-quality standard for lead.
While lead emissions from the plant have declined in recent months, Exide must make further upgrades, including the enclosure of several buildings under negative pressure to capture toxic lead particles.
City and company officials disagree on what’s required and where the applications stand. The city has requested Exide apply for a specific use permit, which calls for an extra level of review by the commission as well as the City Council. But the company has refused to submit the paperwork. Exide says no such permit is required. It also refused to address staff comments on its applications unless the city agreed to waive the permit requirement.
Anderson stated in his letter that the company believes its applications should be approved because the city didn’t meet certain deadlines. But city officials say those deadlines were waived with Exide’s submission of a vested rights petition.
Exide filed the petition in November along with applications for a preliminary site plan and final plat. The company petitioned to be allowed to comply with city ordinances in place in 1968 when the plant was annexed into the city. The Planning and Zoning Commission denied that petition in December.
The Frisco City Council affirmed that decision last month.
City officials say the denial means that the company must follow current ordinances. Those require the company to file a specific use permit for its miscellaneous hazardous industrial use, according to city officials.
Anderson said Tuesday that Exide disagrees not only with the permit requirement but also with the city’s description of its property use. “We believe we are a recycling plant,” he said.
Planning commissioners voted 4-0 Tuesday to deny both applications.
Anderson said he would consult with Exide about appealing those votes. He declined to say whether Exide would seek legal action against the city.