Scrap recycler sues city over desired location

A scrap recycler is suing the city of Wichita after it rejected the company's plan to put a location in north Wichita.

Midwest Scrap Management of St. Joseph, Mo., contends that the Wichita City Council on May 10 acted wrongly in rejecting the company's conditional use request, according to a lawsuit the company filed in Sedgwick County District Court.

The company planned to build a scrap recycling operation on 26 acres at the corner of 29th and Mead streets, the location of a Cargill Meat Solutions facility.

The council actually voted 5-2 in favor of the rezoning, but the measure required a "supermajority" of six votes because of protests lodged by surrounding landowners.

Council members in favor of the scrap yard cited the 50 jobs created and the votes of recommendation by the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and the District Advisory Board.

But council member Janet Miller, who represents the area, objected that it would hurt nearby businesses, which have 6,000 employees and millions invested, according to minutes of the council's May 10 meeting. James Clendenin also voted no.

In the suit, Midwest Scrap's attorney Bob Kaplan criticized the city for not correctly figuring the area subject to the conditional use. Midwest Scrap had reduced that area, thereby eliminating some neighboring businesses from having the legal standing to protest.

The suit also contends that Miller acted on knowledge not brought up in any of the public meetings, so it couldn't be disputed. That information is inadmissible, according to the suit.

The company went through a grueling process to get the permit, according to the suit.

It started more than a year earlier and went through several boards and appeared before city council eight times before the vote.

City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf declined to comment on the particulars of the suit.

Kaplan didn't return messages.