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Expanded recycling center may be coming to rural neighborhood

Frank Penwell pointed to the image on the screen and described how he'd put in a road around the 10,000 sq. feet of buildings on his property so the recycling traffic could circle in and out. The locations for a concrete slab, and several large pieces of equipment including a glass crusher were shown to the audience of nine at a recycling co-op meeting October 9 in Friday Harbor.

The meeting's purpose was to start a recycling co-op on San Juan Island. He's willing to lease the land to the co-op at a nominal fee.

Penwell owns Consignment Treasures and operates a recycling processing center there. The business is located on land classified as rural farm forest. It operates under a Conditional Use Permit. Under the terms of the permit, Penwell's employees are to pickup the items and bring them to the center.

When asked by an audience member about permitting and neighoring property owners' concerns, Penwell said he had CUPs and was waiting for the county to change the rules. He maintained his property should be considered commercial.

The reaction of his neighbors to the possibility of living next door to a recycling collection center and an expanded processing center, operating five days a week, was not covered.

Recycling collection centers are not currently allowed in rural farm/forest land use designations. Recycling processing centers are allowed with a CUP.

Changes in the county code are being considered which would allow collection centers in rural farm/forest land use designations. A property owner would need to apply for and obtain a conditional use permit in order to set up a recycling collection center.

The Planning Commission recommended changing the code to not allow recycling processing centers in rural farm/forest land use designations even with a CUP.

A county council public hearing will be held before the rules are adopted.

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