May 18, 2022 - News

$15M asphalt plant proposal officially struck down

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A $15 million asphalt-mixing facility proposed in northwest Detroit got struck down a final time yesterday by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Why it matters: Asphalt Specialists Inc. fought for months to show the city that it wasn't going to be a run-of-the-mill polluter. The company proposed design elements like a suction system in an effort to minimize harm to nearby residential areas.

  • But ultimately, voices worried about odor, emissions and noise pollution won out.
  • Environmental racism has a long history here, with advocates saying public health concerns are often minimized in favor of business interests.

Flashback: In November, city zoning officials turned down the Pontiac-based company's request to build a plant by I-96 and the Southfield Freeway. Detroit's Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department received 200 letters opposed to the plan and just three letters in favor.

  • Plus, city departments said the "intense" proposed use of the vacant land was not in line with the long-term vision for the area's future.

The bottom line: Asphalt Specialists protested the city's denial, but the board in charge of hearing that appeal decided unanimously not to grant it.


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