Lehigh Valley

Fate of proposed Easton scrap yard undecided

EASTON, Pa. - Easton Planning Commission says it will hold off on whether to give its blessing to a proposed scrap metal processing center.

The commission heard Wednesday night from Austin Potter, a Bucks County business owner who wants to open the scrap yard on Lynn Street, near the Lehigh River.

The site is the former home of Easton Area Recycling, which went out of business in 1999. Potter plans to take household and industrial junk metal and process them into a usable form. 

But commission members had concerns about whether Potter was really prepared to deal with flooding at the property, and about the business and its location. 

They wondered if the city needed to be adding industry to its waterways at a time when multi-million dollar projects like the Silk Mill -- along the Bushkill Creek -- were underway.

"This is a property that's not going to be developed as park land, as much as you might want it to be," argued Bill Bolla, Potter's attorney.

He added that bringing a new business to the site would end the complaints about rats, weeds and abandoned cars that the city has had to deal with since the recycling center closed. 

Commissioner Robert Sun countered that the city needed to think in the long term, and that allowing the scrap yard might mean trading one set of complaints for another.

Still, commission Chairman Charles Elliot said he didn't feel the members had enough information to make a flat out denial of the plan, and tabled the matter to Oct. 1.

Also Wednesday, the commission approved a request from the Easton Housing Authority to demolish one of its storage buildings on East St. Joseph St. on the city's South Side.

The authority hopes to have the demolition complete by the end of November, and plans to build five affordable housing units on the site.

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