Recycling facility owner says county government trying to can his business

The fate of a local business rests on the shoulders of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors next week, when it will hear an appeal of a recent planning and zoning commission’s decision to close the Southern All Metals recycling facility on Fricke Road.
The business has been operating on Fricke Road since 2006, but recently, the county issued a stop work order.
Hancock County Building Official Kevin Ladner said Friday that the company never obtained the proper permits for the business and it is located in a residential area.
Business owner Philip “Sam” Rosen said he does not know why the county has waited so long.
“They let me run this for four years before they said anything,” Rosen said. “There has been a commercial operation at this location since 1971.”
Rosen formerly operated a recycling center on the Highway 90 service road near Lower Bay Road.
That facility was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and Rosen said he sold what was left of the business after the storm.
In 2006, Rosen decided to get back into the scrap business and he purchased the property on Fricke Road, which was formerly a warehouse for Coast Salvage.
County building department records indicate that Rosen applied for, and received, a permit to get power to the existing commercial building in March ’06.
He transformed the property into a scrap yard and has been operating ever since.
Ladner said the county never issued a permit for Rosen to operate a recycling facility and–once neighbors started complaining–the county had to act.
“There have been a lot of complaints about the traffic on Fricke Road,” Ladner said. “It is a narrow road and there are a lot of trucks and 18-wheelers coming in and out. Before the storm, this was a storage warehouse. There was no selling and buying going on.”
Rosen said he has built a good business and is providing a service for a lot of people.
“A lot of people are bringing in scrap because the economy is down,” he said. “Plus, the county is making people clean up their property and there are not too many places for people to take their scrap.”
Rosen said he employs 19 people and contributes more than $200,000 a year to the local economy, with taxes and purchases, of which, would be lost if his business is closed, he said.
Last month, the planning and zoning commission stopped work at the site, but since Rosen has filed an appeal, it can remain open until the board hears the case.
Supervisors will take up the matter at Wednesday’s meeting.

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo


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