Auto Recycle Center project “dead”, owner says


A large crowd attended the Imlay City Planning Commission June 25 to voice their concerns about a proposed business locating within the city limits. The board rejected the SLU on a 6-0 vote.

IMLAY CITY — Despite being told the opposite many times over, residents here still referred to a proposed business as a junkyard, not a recycle center.

Call it what you wish, but the proposed idea of a new business in Imlay City is “dead,” in the words of one of the owners.

The Imlay City Planning Commission met June 25 to resume discussion of whether or not to grant a Special Land Use (SLU) permit to ACME Auto Recycling.

Meeting before a crowd of around 30 people in the city commission meeting room, the board ultimately rejected the SLU by a vote of 6-0 with one member absent.

Prior to the vote, the planning commission heard comment from several audience members who were in strong opposition of the proposed business.

An original request for the SLU by The Ammori Group on May 28 was postponed after the board asked for further information before making a final determination.

The business partners had presented plans for using about nine acres of land located at the northeast corner of M-53 and M-21.

The intended use of the property included an auto parts retail, a used car dealership and a recycling center where damaged or unusable vehicles would be stripped of salvageable parts and resold. Representatives said 90% of their business comes from insurance companies.

The property has vacant structures on it currently, most of which are in various stages of disrepair and not being used, with the exception of two businesses, one of which is Maryland Chicken.

In rejecting the proposal, the board said the business failed to meet three of five standards A,B and D, that are part of the city’s Zoning Ordinance.

Standard A says “the business must be compatible and in accordance with the goals, objectives and policies of the Imlay City Master Plan and promote the intent of the zoning district in which the use is proposed.”

Standard B says the business “be constructed, operated and maintained so as to be compatible with the existing or intended character of the general vicinity and so as not to change the essential character of the area in which it is proposed.”

Standard D states, “not involve uses, activities, processes, materials and equipment or conditions of operation that will be detrimental to the natural environment, public health, safety or welfare by reason of excessive production of traffic, noise, smoke, odors or other such nuisance.”

Public comments included one resident who said, “this is a horrible idea. This is what we are going to put in Imlay City as the Gateway to the Thumb? It’s an awful idea.”

Another resident said they did not, “want a junkyard in this town. Call it what you want, it’s a junkyard.”

Planning Commission Chairman Walt Bargen said, “I have a problem with Standard A and Standard B and D, there is a compatible issue, in my mind. It leans me to vote no.”

Mayor Joi Kempf agreed with the three standards not being met, in her opinion and supported the motion to deny the SLU.

Local realtor Alex Lengemann spoke in opposition to the request at the meeting, and later on social media, revealed the property had been sold, according to him.

“I simply cannot believe that over nine acres on (the) corner of M-53/M-21 to include Maryland Chicken building, old ice cream shop, auto repair facility, old A&W, and the auto detail center all sold for only $300,000.”

He went on to say in his post, “It was listed for sale for nearly $2 million and various price reductions over the months down to a final asking price of $1 million and then sells for only $300,000—seems very low to me.” he concluded by saying, “Congrats to Patrick Nona at RSSA Property LLC in Bloomfield Hills though on a great investment at a great price. Hopefully you are not upset the junkyard got denied and come back to the city with some great ideas of what to put there. We all want you to be successful at this location.”

Ivan Ammori, who said he had previously purchased the Shopko building near S. Cedar and Newark Rd., did not confirm the purchase of the property at the intersection of M-53 and M-21.

Chairman Bargen concluded the SLU request portion of the meeting by stating to the crowd it (Recycle Center), “just doesn’t fit in that area.”