Thu
Apr 30 2009
08:23 pm

The Plume goes on for miles.

Looks like North Hills is going to STINK tonight.

Here's the scoop from WVLT

(link...)

Firefighters were called to Mac’s Tire Recyclers on Boruff Street around 7:10 PM.

At 7:26 PM, Volunteer TV News at 7:00 displayed live shots of the blaze from the Volunteer View camera on the top of Baptist Hospital.

Reports from the scene indicate the Knoxville Utility Board will shut down power to the building. Few other details are.

KFD responded to a fire at the same building on Feb. 20th, 2009. That fire was quickly extinguished. Investigators later determined it had started on a conveyer belt and spread to a pile of tire scraps.

Why are we allowing such a hazardous facility to operate within city limits?

129
like
sugarfatpie's picture

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

metulj's picture

There are plenty of

There are plenty of industrial parks with pads and buildings sitting empty that could house a business like this, but, and I will bet you on this one, those industrial parks have covenants against the use. Well, they folks who live on 9th and Cecil and the surrounding areas don't get to slap covenants on stupid use patterns like this. A tire recycler in a residential area?

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

metulj's picture

From the KNS: Because of

From the KNS:

Because of toxins in the smoke, firefighters are wearing full protective gear, he said. Crews are focusing their efforts on keeping the fire from spreading.

Countdown to the first racist comment in the "Community Building Section" in 3.2.1.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Nobody's picture

How is this fire related to

How is this fire related to race?

There. Is that the first racist comment?

metulj's picture

The comment is making fun of

The comment is making fun of the KNS's comment sections which are like the 'round the BBQ talk at a John Birch Society picnic.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

metulj's picture

Double

n/t

sugarfatpie's picture

Looks like its owned by

Looks like its owned by
DMS Properties
6915 OFFICE PARK CIRCLE KNOXVILLE, TN 37909
(Thats over off of Middlebrook, a nice ways away).

They bought it in 2006 for $750,000.
Hmmm...

The stupid thing is that we (MPC that is) let industrial zoning go in next to residential, and then just zoned the whole area industrial. This leaves a whole bunch of people living next to god knows what kind of hazardous activities.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

MemphisSlim's picture

Any RedFlex cameras in the area? If not, the city doesn't

think a whole lot of the area nor its inhabitants and you'll get residential bumped up against the industrial zonings, noxious/toxic fumes and who knows what kinds of solvents in, on, and about the industrial premises.

I hope no one is injured or harmed by the fumes coming off that black cloud, particularly if the rain pushes the particles back on the ground.

Nelle's picture

You lost me there, Memphis

What do red light cameras have to do with this?

metulj's picture

When did it get zoned for

When did it get zoned for that use?

ETA: Oh, Good. Grief. That I-3 zone is huge.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Rachel's picture

Probably many, many years

Probably many, many years ago. Which means that any currently operating industrial uses would be grandfathered in, even if the area was rezoned now.

sugarfatpie's picture

I noticed a recently

I noticed a recently infamous street in that same I-3 zone.
Chipman street, site of the house that the carjacking/murder perps were renting.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Nobody's picture

Of course. The entirety of

Of course. The entirety of Chipman is zoned MT-1. Murder and torture, premeditated, are permitted there. Spontaneous killings and such are not. Those belong in MT-2 and 3 zonings.

Seriously, WTF does the whole Chipman thing have to do with this fire?

sugarfatpie's picture

Its an admittedly loose

Its an admittedly loose connection but...
When you zone residential areas into a larger industrial area, and just leave the houses there, they often become run down and derelict. Then you're more likely to have nasty things go on there.

Not saying that these things don't happen elsewhere, but its pretty well established that industrial zoning is not good for residential areas that are zoned in with it. Especially when the residential persists for decades in the industrial zone, as these have, not turning over into industrial uses.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

JRWnKnox's picture

IIRC, if a house in in an

IIRC, if a house in in an industrial zone, it's not eligible for a conventional mortgages. Basically, it can only be sold as owner-financed or for cash. Typically, you end up with houses sold to for use as rental property.

Somebody's picture

There are no doubt

There are no doubt management issues with this particular company and quite possibly lessons to be learned about zoning for this sort of business. Steps can and should be taken that would prevent this sort of fire in the first place.

Nontheless, your question seems to suggest that a tire recycler shouldn't be within city limits. Where should it be? Would it be preferable for it to be built in a greenfield development out in the boonies somewhere? Should we ban tire recycling altogether?

Seems to me that the recylcing of tires is generally a good idea for the environment, and that industrial activity within city limits might also be a good idea environmentally-speaking, and is quite possibly also good for workers because they have the option of living near where they work, which keeps transportation costs (and related emissions) low. Not to mention that having businesses within city limits allows them to share in the tax-base.

Up Goose Creek's picture

I -3

For better or worse, there is a lot of I-3 property in this town.

Why are we allowing such a hazardous facility to operate within city limits?

This statement bothers me. You could say "why aren't hazardous uses regulated (or inpected) better", or "why isn't this use only allowed in a limited I-4 zone"

Most of us in this city use tires and they have to go somewhere after we discard them. It's not responsible to just outsource these functions somewhere else (out of sight, out of mind).

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

metulj's picture

Most of us in this city use

Most of us in this city use tires and they have to go somewhere after we discard them. It's not responsible to just outsource these functions somewhere else (out of sight, out of mind).

Nobody said that it had to go out of the city. I can think of one HUGE place that would be appropriate for that use and it has potential setbacks of many hundreds feet from residential areas, rather than the 50 feet this facility has: Coster Shop.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Nelle's picture

Move it out west

I can think of one HUGE place that would be appropriate for that use and it has potential setbacks of many hundreds feet from residential areas, rather than the 50 feet this facility has: Coster Shop.

I can think of another good spot: Turkey Creek. One noxious use next to another.

sugarfatpie's picture

I think it makes sense to

I think it makes sense to move hazardous facilities out of densely populated areas. That was one of the reasons we developed zoning in the first place.

Maybe it doesn't have to go out of city limits, but something needs to be done with this place.
2 fires in 3 months?

Do we wait for a third fire before we do something?

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

sugarfatpie's picture

Aparently its still

Aparently its still raging.

You can listen to the fire department's radio live at
(link...)

If you're really bored that is.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Brian A.'s picture

Why does the KNS article say

Why does the KNS article say it could take "days" to put it out? Is this an oil well fire?

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

metulj's picture

Tires are particularly hard

Tires are particularly hard to put out.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Brian A.'s picture

Pictures

Chris Dotson has posted some pictures.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

metulj's picture

BTW. Hats off to the brave

BTW. Hats off to the brave folks with Knoxville's uniformed services, KPD and, especially, KFD. We had a worker at our house have a seizure back in January and they were there in less than 3 minutes providing aid to him and some quick thinking by one of the firefighters (asked me to check his pockets) probably saved the kid's life. He let his seizure meds run out and was waiting for his paycheck that day to buy some more.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Up Goose Creek's picture

Mixed use

A lot of neighborhoods grew up as mixed use with the mill workers living near the plant. With 2 fires in 3 months it seems a case of bad management at this particular outfit. I'd be curious to know about the safety records of other tire recycling places.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

bizgrrl's picture

Exactly. Knoxville Iron over

Exactly. Knoxville Iron over on Tennessee Avenue. Alcoa (aluminum) in Alcoa, although residential Alcoa does have a pretty good buffer from "the plant", e.g. more than 100 feet/yards.

bizgrrl's picture

Fwup, if you put them too

Fwup, if you put them too far away from the city, no one can afford to get there to work. I worked at Forks of the River many years ago making fishing lures. It was ridiculous trying to get there since I didn't have a car that worked and barely any money for gas.

metulj's picture

My contention is that it

My contention is that it needn't be moved from the city, but that there are places in the city that are better for that use. Again, Coster Shop.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

smalc's picture

A facility such as this

A facility such as this shouldn't be particularly hazardous. The mining industry learned long ago that you do not allow material to pile up around conveyors. Friction and combustibles don't mix well.

But yes, it shouldn't be in a residential area anyway.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Residential in an industrial zone

I have a house on Fourth ave that has been easy to rent (for 3 decades), despite being zoned industial and backing up to light industial uses. I'm sure the folks at Knox Heritage would be thrilled to hear of your desire to tear a beautiful 2 story Victorian down (not). I have a house on Blount avenue that was very easy to rent in an I-3 zone. It actually became harder to rent after it got rezoned SW-1, but I think that had a lot to do with the condition of the carpet at the time and nothing to do with the underlying zone. There is one industrial use in the immediate area, mostly it's well kept up homes.

Yes, you can expect houses in a predominately industrial area such as Boruff St to rent or sell for less than in most (but not all) residential areas. That does not mean that the residents are vicious murderers or do nasty things. What an insult! It doesn't mean that they deserve to be homeless either.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

sugarfatpie's picture

First, don't put words in my

First, don't put words in my mouth. It really makes you look like an ass.

I'm sure the folks at Knox Heritage would be thrilled to hear of your desire to tear a beautiful 2 story Victorian down

Where did I say anything close to that. Please quote me.

Now second... oh wait, your still putting words in my mouth.

That does not mean that the residents are vicious murderers or do nasty things.

Will you please quit that..
What I said was that derelict areas are more likely to have nasty (read criminal) activity going on. Zoning residential areas industrial can result in them becoming derelict. This is planning 101.

Congrats for making bucks off residential areas zoned as industrial. May I ask wether or not you currently live in an industrial zone?

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Up Goose Creek's picture

Recycling

There are a lot of recycling outfits in my section of town and I am glad they are there, even though some could cuse better buffering. Those jobs can't be outsourced. Then you have an outfit like Witherspoon that gets involved in some nasty stuff but that doens't mean the entire industry is bad.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

metulj's picture

If you think that recycling

If you think that recycling can't be outsourced, you are living on Bizzaro Earth. There is a whole set of quays at the Port of Newark that do nothing but load commingled recyclables into otherwise empty containers and ship them to China to be sorted. It's a big business.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Up Goose Creek's picture

Effects of the fire

For the record, I have lived in or across the street from industrial zones. There are industrial areas not far from where I live now.

Sorry to get off track. One thing to consider is that when a fire like this happens, many many people are affected, not just those in the adjacent property. Even if this fire had happened on Coster Shop, it would have affected surrounding neighborhoods. So the question is how to keep this form happening. As GWB says, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, I won't be fooled again.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

metulj's picture

Here's the trick: You can't

Here's the trick: You can't keep things like this from happening. You can control where things like this could happen. That's what zoning is for. Like Alex said: Planning 101

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Rachel's picture

Except, as I've said, you

Except, as I've said, you can't zone an existing business out of business. If the industrial area in question were suddenly zoned residential tomorrow, the business in question would still be allowed to operate as a grandfathered non-conforming use.

metulj's picture

Yeah, ask those poor folks

Yeah, ask those poor folks that lived over the Love Canal. I always forget the planner's conceit: If it is grandfathered, then it is not immoral.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Rachel's picture

I always forget the

I always forget the planner's conceit: If it is grandfathered, then it is not immoral.

I wasn't talking about morality; I was talking about legality. And I've never heard a planner express the sentiment you describe.

metulj's picture

I suggest you give Bent

I suggest you give Bent Flyvberg's book "Rationality and Power" a read. If the codes/zones say you can do something, not only can you do it, you must do it. "Legality" is nothing more than a cover for power politics. It is wrong to have a tire recycling facility in a residential neighborhood. See the folks' houses that filled up with dioxin-laden tire smoke.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Rachel's picture

If the codes/zones say you

If the codes/zones say you can do something, not only can you do it, you must do it.

Oh bull. If you really think that's the way planners think, I want some of what you're smoking.

"Legality" is nothing more than a cover for power politics.

Well, ok then. Let's downzone this area, tell the industries they're NOT grandfathered, let them take everybody concerned to court, and then you can yell about how the judges are all immoral when they follow the law and rule in favor of the industries.

Zoning codes aren't perfect. Applications of them aren't perfect. That doesn't make people who are sworn to uphold them immoral. And if you think the rules need to be changed, you would be better off not pissing on the people who might try to help you.

metulj's picture

Ok. I think we're at cross

Ok. I think we're at cross purposes here and I will admit to being a little combative about this situation as it happened where I live (well, within a mile). So, I'd like to know, and would like to know how I can find out, what the logic behind zoning that whole RESIDENTIAL area I-3 was. What made Parkridge on one side of the interstate different from that large, mainly single-family dwelling neighborhood.

PS. It's not that I don't like "planning" and all planners. I do know that there are planners who operate, sometimes unwittingly, to reinforce powerful interests. Zones, as Alex pointed out, were and are supposed to regulate land use for many reasons, but one of the primary reasons they were created was to ameliorate environmental social justice issues. I don't have a problem with manufacturing in a neighborhood. Hell, having people walking to a good job from their homes is great urban economics and policy. I do have a problem with companies actively pursuing properties in neighborhoods where they know they will get little complaint and probably cheap rents.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Rachel's picture

So, I'd like to know, and

So, I'd like to know, and would like to know how I can find out, what the logic behind zoning that whole RESIDENTIAL area I-3 was.

That's a good question. My guess is that the zoning dates back a l-o-n-g way, that industry was already there when zoning was implemented. It does make some sense that the area next to the RR tracks is zoned industrial, but I dunno about the residential parts. MPC has a library; you could call Gretchen Beals there and see if she could help you with the history.

P.S. It's pretty clear that this particular business has been operating badly, which is a completely different issue from zoning.

metulj's picture

n/t

n/t

metulj's picture

Here's the trick: You can't

Here's the trick: You can't keep things like this from happening. You can control where things like this could happen. That's what zoning is for. Like Alex said: Planning 101

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

Up Goose Creek's picture

Grandfathered

Yup, and the houses are grandfathered into the industrial zones. Ironically it costs $700 to get a property zoned out of industrial, vs $250 (I think) to get it rezoned from residential.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

Rachel's picture

Ironically it costs $700 to

Ironically it costs $700 to get a property zoned out of industrial, vs $250 (I think) to get it rezoned from residential.

The application fee schedule fors rezoning is here. It says $300 for residential and $700 for non-residential (for less than 3 acres). It's not clear whether that means $300 to have something zoned TO residential or zoned FROM residential. I suspect it's zoned TO, since UOR fees are clearly higher for non-residential zones, but I'm not sure.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Fees

I was told that it would take $700 to get my I-3 property rezoned down to R-1A. I'm not sure the exact reasoning though I was guessing the city wanted to preserve industrial sites. Which seems strange unless the CoC is going to step up to the plate and do better about recruiting for brownfields.

____________________________________
"Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out." --Ralph Nader

Rachel's picture

That's just strange. There

That's just strange. There must be some logic for it, but I don't really understand why it would cost more to process a downzoning.

I'll try to remember to ask the staff about it.

StaceyDiamond's picture

scary

This thing scared me for a minute driving down the road. From an angle it looked like my house may have been burning or a tornado was coming. When Saroff's place burned it was hard to breathe but I never smelled this one.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Hush

Sshh, don't tell my banks that. I've had experience otherwise. But then not with Fannie Mae "sold" loans which is what I guess a lot of people call conventional. My point is there are other options besides cash & owner financed. But you do need a rezoning to build a new house.

I'll admit, my experience has been with predominately residential areas that just happened to be zoned industrial. The dynamic could be different in areas that are predominately industrial.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Property values

Someone should tell Bob Whetsel to give up on the North Central Corridor project because of all the industrial uses. I thought I remembered the old city being THE hot spot in the '90s but that must have been a dream because of all the industries right in the mix.

This seems comparable to having big rigs beside passenger vehicles out on the highways. There are regulations and check points(weigh stations) to try to minimize the danger. This tire outfit seems comparable to someone who stole a big rig and took it out with no regard for safety. The KNS said they had no business licence, smoke detectors or fire extiquishers. They'd also had a fire at a yard on Pleasant Ridge besides the 2 on Boruff. Doesn't sound like a good industrial citizen, does it?

rikki's picture

Given the recent, smaller

Given the recent, smaller fires at this facility and its inadequate documentation and safety devices, the fire marshal must be delighted that the conversation here fixated on zoning.

sugarfatpie's picture

Do you think the zoning is a

Do you think the zoning is a non-issue?

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

rikki's picture

Do you think the zoning is a

Do you think the zoning is a non-issue?

Rubber shredding is a preferable industrial activity in an urban industrial zone. It requires no solvents and releases almost no particulates. It is safe with basic precautions in place, and rubber recycling stabilizes a dangerous and exploitative industry.

It is simpler to keep a tire shredder from catching fire than it is to find a better urban, industrial activity than tire shredding. The problem is not so much industrial activity as industrial incompetence.

metulj's picture

"It is simpler to keep a

"It is simpler to keep a tire shredder from catching fire than it is to find a better urban, industrial activity than tire shredding."

This is not how hazards are mitigated though. You have to be precautionary. Since fire is a hazard with tires, and the smoke is toxic, then then places with the potential should be located in an area that has limited public exposure risk. This doesn't preclude an urban area, but it does preclude ones where residential use is mere feet away.

"The problem is not so much industrial activity as industrial incompetence."

This assumes that one is not a component of the other though.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

rikki's picture

This assumes that one is not

This assumes that one is not a component of the other though.

Which brings us back to my point, that the fire marshal is surely tickled that people are talking about zoning.

metulj's picture

Conceded. True happiness is

Conceded.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

sugarfatpie's picture

Rubber shredding is a

Rubber shredding is a preferable industrial activity in an urban industrial zone.

I'm not so sure. Here is an excerpt from a report on

"An Assessment of Environmental Toxicity and Potential Contamination from Artificial Turf using Shredded or Crumb Rubber"
(link...)
Granted, this is mainly about an end product, artificial turf base, but the things they are talking about would apply to a recycling facility as well because they are also shredding the tires. Sounds like particulate IS an issue, though this report, like many focusing on toxicity, is filled with uncertainty.

The most common detrimental health effect resulting from direct exposure
to tire rubber is allergic or toxic dermatitis. Inhalation of components of tire rubber or dust
particles from tire rubber can be irritating to the respiratory system and can exacerbate asthma.
It is not clear whether dermal or inhalation exposure to tire rubber can lead to sufficient
absorption of chemicals to cause mutagenic or carcinogenic effects.

So it sounds like people living near a tire recycling facility could be at higher risk for respiratory ailments. We already have a major asthma problem in this city.

Then there's the question of what kind of stormwater runoff comes off of such a facility.

The aquatic toxicity issue is not very clear cut. Whole tires do not pose a risk for substantial
contamination to water, but smaller chips or crumb rubber release larger amounts of toxicants,
and could be cause for concern. The unknown factor is how much zinc or organic compounds
would be released from crumb rubber used on or beneath artificial turf. The drain system and
how quickly the drainage water reaches surface water containing aquatic life would greatly
influence the degree leached contaminants could impact aquatic life.

This section of the report is mostly about aquatic life, but in an urban area you will have kids playing in soil that has received runoff from the tire recycling facility. They could be getting exposed to unsafe levels of heavy metals.

I think you are leaping to conclusions about the safety of tire recycling. Particulates and heavy metals could very well be a serious issue and deserve further attention by scientists and planners.

Sounds to me like the easiest way to minimize exposure to humans would be to move it out of a densely populated area, as we should with most activities that generate harmful particulates and heavy metals. That still leaves exposure to ecosystems as a problem, but it is possible that once outside a densely inhabited area, with space more abundant, controls could more easily be put in place that would keep those toxins out of streams, soils, and groundwater.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

rikki's picture

It is patently obvious that

It is patently obvious that removing industrial activity from an industrial zone will reduce the risks associated with industrial activity. Banning carpet would make house fires less of a toxic threat to neighbors. Children shouldn't play with matches. Close cover before striking. There are a million things we could talk about instead of asking why a business that had a smaller fire on Feb. 20 was still operating without basic fire precautions two months later.

sugarfatpie's picture

Its also patently obvious

Its also patently obvious from the news coverage that people ARE talking about their lousy safetey record and it will be a major part of whatever is done.
Why dwell on the obvious?

I think we need to take a close look at even allowing this kind of activity in a densely populated area for the reasons mentioned.

Why focus on this right now instead of any of the other hazards in this town? Because people are focused on the issue right now, so you're more likely to get something done.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

rikki's picture

If you want to move beyond

If you want to move beyond the obvious, take up the challenge I already laid out: find industrial uses more innocuous than tire shredding. What other industries are active in that particular I-3 zone, and what sort of emissions do they generate?

I think the more crucial question in terms of social justice is whether the fire marshal's lax response to earlier problems at this facility was a consequence of perceptions of race and class. The zoning is clearly a legacy matter, not an intentional affront to the neighborhood, but poor enforcement of codes is another matter.

sugarfatpie's picture

As one earlier poster

As one earlier poster pointed out, there's no telling what's going on in that industrial zone because codes are loosely enforced or un-enforced, not just for fire, but for all kinds of environmental regulatory compliance. Why? Because taxpayers don't like bureaucracy, so we avoid funding these programs adequately, that is until something awful happens.

You want social justice? So do I. But the fire marshall probably isn't the guy to blame. We are to blame for not paying for the enforcement we need.

Short of setting up monitoring stations at regular intervals for every known toxin, and having the results verified by an independent lab, you have only a very loose and probably erroneous idea of what's going on over there.

The most practical way to prevent human exposure is to segregate the industrial and residential uses.

From what Rachel says the industrial is all grandfathered in. But maybe there are restrictions that can be placed on what happens when the property next changes hands? Kind of like a conservation easement?
There are probably many other ways of influencing the use of a property that don't rely on zoning solutions.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

rikki's picture

The most practical way to

The most practical way to prevent human exposure is to segregate the industrial and residential uses.

Prevent exposure to what? Jobs?

Heterogeneity and mixed use are the backbone of urban planning. Segregation is neither practical nor desirable. Practical is using drains to control runoff and sheds to contain dust.

Burning rubber is nasty as hell, but the way to prevent exposure to it is by not catching it on fire. If the carpet store across from Three Rivers Mkt caught fire, the emissions would be unholy. Would you then be advocating segregation of residential and commercial?

sugarfatpie's picture

fury and snark

Wow, your hostility/snark level is pretty high. Not that helpful really. More of a distraction.
I don't even know why I bother responding when you ignore half my post and pounce on the other half.

But here goes.

Exposure to what? Toxins.

Mixed use works best for residential and commercial. Why? Commercial is cleaner, and more likely to encourage community than a bunch of dirty recycling outfits that you wouldn't want to live near or walk by.

Commercial also fits better with the backbone of our economy, local and national, which is services. Moving a few dirty tire-recycling jobs out of densely populated areas is not going to kill us. Moving dirty industries out of town will probably help us attract more smart skilled people to the urban core.

Drains don't remove toxins from runoff. They actually make the problem worse by getting the toxic runoff in the stream faster where it does more damage. You could do some biofiltration, or phytoremediation, but that takes space. Hence, moving it out of a space constrained area makes sense.

Sheds might help contain some dust, but not all, especially when you don't have the enforcement capacity to make sure the shed is built to contain anything.

But of course all of this will seem moot if your still hung up on blaming the fire marshal.

Fire away Rikki! I can't wait for your next salvo of fury and snark.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Nobody's picture

OK, Sugarfatpie, you clearly

OK, Sugarfatpie, you clearly care about the situation. Besides being so passionate here, are you doing anything else?

BTW, there can't be too many Pulsiphers in town. Are you one of the TVA ones?

sugarfatpie's picture

I do lots of things related

I do lots of things related to sustainable development locally and nationally.
My biggest local project is trying to push green technologies and more sustainable practices through the local land development and building institutions (public and private) so that it is legally and financially possible to more "green" development and re-development. It's pretty behind the scenes work, but also essential if we are going to do more than talk about greening our communities.

And yes, my dad once worked for TVA.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

metulj's picture

I can vouch for Alex and

I can vouch for Alex and would like to add that Alex, Rikki, and I shared house together back in, what?, 2000/2001. It is easy to say that heated debate over things large and small was a part of that house in NoKno. Also, dragging Alex's dad into this is unnecessary. He was and is a pretty important person, but just working for TVA at one time (which is what I assume the slur is going to be here) doesn't preclude his family members from debate and engagement on issues such that Alex is interested in. It's the AL GORE LEAVES HIS LIGHTS ON argument and is specious.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

edens's picture

Moving a few dirty

Moving a few dirty tire-recycling jobs out of densely populated areas is not going to kill us. Moving dirty industries out of town will probably help us attract more smart skilled people to the urban core.

Out of sight, out of mind...

metulj's picture

Yeah, one of the problems

Yeah, one of the problems with NIMBYism is that it becomes someone else's problem somewhere, but LULUs are different in that the land use can become "wanted" with correct zoning, codes enforcement, urban integration, etc. I have no problem with the recycling facility itself, I do have a problem with it not being monitored properly and being poorly sited.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Seppuku is in a way the ultimate awful libertarian act -- Frank Popper

sugarfatpie's picture

Having this in plain sight

Having this in plain sight is apparently doing nothing to keep it in mind, short of industrial disasters.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

sonny's picture

Property ID 1304205 Allied Van Lines is listed for this address

although according to the tax assessor DMS properties LLC has owned it since 1997. Their address is 6915 office park circle.Knoxville tn 37909. the appraised value is 519,900.00 and the assessed value is 207,640.00. In 97, 98, and 99 they paid taxes in Dec of 1280.85.
from 2000 to 2008 the taxes were 4,923.07-after 2005 they went up to 5,586.00. the taxes were always baid in Feb since 2003 except this last time, 2008, when they were paid in October. They were paid twice in 2008.
were they in the process of selling the property to allied Van Lines?
Allied Van Lines had already been there, according to the businesses listed for the address, and it was shut down.
What's strange is that Rodgers Fore Body Shop AND MTR AND JoAnne Mitchell all have the same telephone number as MTR. Even before MTR was done burning, JoAnne Mitchell has an exclusive listing (new phone) at 231 Papermill Place way, In Knoxville. How do you do that with a landline? 865-963-4980. Somebody should call and ask. JoAnne, it says here, is the manager.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Environmental justice

You don't see companies like this operating on Baum drive where the smoke from tire fires could waft through the windows of Westmoreland, even though it's allowable under zoning. Companies like this seek out poor neighborhoods where they percieve the residents feel powerless, whether it is next door in an I-3 zone or across the tracks in a residential zone. I wonder if they were run off from Pleasant Ridge by the middle class neighbors across the road.

Thanks, Rikki. It's a relief to know that tire recycling is not inherently dangerous.

edens's picture

Regarding the question of

Regarding the question of how the area ended up I-3:

Jack had a rather long, detailed article awhile back (may have been prior to the sentinel purchase, since I can't seem to find it on the web)that touched on that issue. Although it had more to do with the city's attempts to address the mortgage/insurance issues someone raised earlier with regard to non-conforming uses. It was all related to, as alluded to earlier, "Downtown North." I believe Charlie Richmond and Virginia Douglas' rehab work on W. Baxter was the catalyst.

Or, ironically, about introducing more and better maintained residential uses into what are ostensibly Industrial zones.

edens's picture

On the contrary, a lot of

On the contrary, a lot of East Knoxville issues (and the center-city in general), stem from the fact that it has been "out of sight/out of mind" for most of the community for at least a couple generations.

That's changing - albeit it slowly. Although that change brings a whole series of other issues along with it.

sugarfatpie's picture

So, short of a sea change in

So, short of a sea change in the way Knoxville enforces codes, and possibly the creation of new codes, we can have it "out of sight out of mind" in a densely populated area or we can have it "out of sight out of mind" in a less densely populated area.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

edens's picture

Yeah, that's about it.

Yeah, that's about it.

sugarfatpie's picture

Well then out of sight out

Well then out of sight out of mind in a less densely populated area seems preferable.
Less chance of people getting hurt, and no difference in ecosystem degradation.
-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

sugarfatpie's picture

I went for a drive by Mac's

I went for a drive by Mac's tire recycling yesterday.
The whole area reeks. You can smell it from 200 yards away.
The building has basically melted.
People are still living right across the street.
No one around.
No sign of a clean up.

Something needs to happen to make sure that:
a) this never happens again
b) Mac's is cleaned up
c) Mac's(or some other outfit) is not allowed to start up again with the same lousy safety procedures

If course, ideally the tire recycling would be moved out to one of our vacant industrial parks.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

edens's picture

In related news: Link...

In related news:

(link...)

bizgrrl's picture

How sad for her. Bales

How sad for her.

The company has/had three locations. If they can't store their goods then they shouldn't continue taking in goods.

Factchecker's picture

It's more complicated than that

I know the people at APR. They're good people who grew their business when recycling was really taking off. All the way back last summer. They have the contract to take the recycling from ALL of the major recycling centers in the area (city contract, I think, which makes the city zoning twist weird). If you recycle in Knoxville, your garbage most likely goes to this place and, again, they're under contract to keep taking it. However, the market for APR to resell this stuff after it's sorted and bundled has crashed, as stated in the link.

Imagine if your company sold something for $100 and in a few short months "market forces" cause you to have to drop your price to $3. That's what has happened to the price of a ton of cardboard (IIRC). APR has gone from a thriving recycler, who by the way was responsible for allowing consumers to recycle ALL of their plastics now, and not just 1's and 2's, to a business in distress.

Was there anything below board about the way APR set up shop there? That is, other than the other issues brought up in this thread? There are a lot of ugly industrial businesses in this area of town. It would be good if APR could cover up the fencing, but they're hardly in the financial position now to spruce up their appearance, unless the law requires.

Live by low government, suffer from same.

sugarfatpie's picture

There's plenty of businesses

There's plenty of businesses with city contracts that are not located in densely populated parts of the city.

Both this recycler and the one on Boruf would probably do just fine, and be less of a nuisance to nearby residents, in one of the nearly vacant industrial parks that we have spent so many tax dollars creating.

Maybe some stimulus money could be directed towards making this a financial opportunity for both companies?

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Up Goose Creek's picture

Edges

There's almost always an edge between industrial and residential, there can't always be office or commercial use in between. From the photo it looks like there's room to plan evergreens, maybe that's a volunteer opportunity for someone. She probably didn't think she needed screening when all the material was stored inside.

R. Neal's picture

Link...

Mergenrybeiny's picture

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