Video: It’s Detroiters vs dust in west side neighborhood

Video: It’s Detroiters vs dust in west side neighborhood
March 18, 2024 BridgeDetroit

By Jena Brooker, BridgeDetroit

BridgeDetroit reporter Jena Brooker collaborated with One Detroit (Detroit Public TV) on this segment on concrete crushing in a Detroit neighborhood. Read more of her coverage and subscribe to her newsletter.

One Detroit’s senior producer Bill Kubota teamed up with filmmaker and One Detroit contributor Nicole Macdonald to talk with residents about their concerns over heavy industry operating in city neighborhoods.

A concrete crushing company started operating in Detroit’s Schoolcraft neighborhood a few years ago to the surprise of many people living nearby.

Longtime resident Carol Couch lives in the west side neighborhood near Dino-Mite Crushing and Recycling and said she believes residue on her car comes from the crushing operation.

Schoolcraft residents said they are concerned about their quality of life and health.

“There’s a lot of pride in our community,” said George Perdue of the Schoolcraft Improvement Association. “It doesn’t make me feel good to tell somebody take 96 to Greenfield on your way to my house because I know they’re going to pass this dust-laden area.”

Schoolcraft resident Audrey Moses Sims spoke during a public hearing last year and said her son has asthma and is on a breathing machine.

“I had no idea that this facility would be opened up here,” she said. “I would have totally been against it.”

Dino-Mite’s representative and the company’s attorney have not answered One Detroit’s requests to talk about problems in the neighborhood.

The city issued nearly 300 blight tickets to Grand Rapids-based Green Valley Properties over two years, according to a BridgeDetroit analysis of online city records. In 2022, the city’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department submitted a notice to revoke the company’s 2018 land use permit for allegedly failing to secure permits for an expansion, not following its dust mitigation plan and other offenses. But the city’s blight court overruled the notice.

The court agreed Green Valley was noncompliant with some property maintenance codes, but determined BSEED failed to provide sufficient evidence to back its claims and determined that there was “no reasonable basis” to revoke the permit. The court ruled that the crusher wasn’t posing a nuisance to surrounding property owners.

BSEED appealed the decision. The city of Detroit has taken legal action to reduce the dust, even to possibly force it to shut down. There is a hearing scheduled in Wayne County Circuit Court March 21.

At the hearing the City of Detroit Building Safety Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED) will ask the judge to revoke the facility owner’s Special Land Use Grant that allows them to operate in the community.

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