Despite questions over federal regulations on establishing a permanent structure on the site, the Atlantic City Council Wednesday evening approved a contract with Murphy Contracting for lease of a former tractor-trailer parking lot owned by the City, for the purpose of establishing a concrete recycling operation, as well as future, landscape stone product sales.
Duane Murphy, President of Murphy Contracting had proposed leasing the site, which is expected to produce $7,200 (paid in two installments of $3,600 per year) in annual revenue for the City on land that is currently unprofitable. David Wright, owner of Recycling Services, LLC., (101 State St.) asked at Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting, why he wasn’t given the chance to lease the land for his business, which is adjacent to the vacant lot.
Wright said his company, which has been in business since 2004, does roughly 4 million dollars in business each year, with many of those receiving payments for their scrap metal, spending the money they receive, here in town. The company he says began inquiring about leasing the lot in 2012, and proposed leasing the lot for a 20-year term paid yearly, in advance, in the amount of $8,000. At that time, he says he was told by former City Councilman Steve Livengood, the lot could only be used for truck parking, which is what Wright wanted to space used for.
He said it was his understanding that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) rules prohibit the erection of a permanent building on the site, which apparently is in a flood plain or flood way. He asked “If FEMA was such a big issue when we wanted to do it, is that all straightened out?” Mayor Dave Jones said it was his understanding a permanent structure such as house, could not be placed on the lot.
Jones said the lease agreement with Murphy would benefit the City in that it’s rock piles from road and sidewalk removal projects, would be recycled and not continue to pile up. There would also be a fence on the north side of the lot to make the operation less visible from the Schildberg Recreation Area campground sites.Wright said they had done a lot of maintenance to the lot over the years, including plowing and applying gravel. He acknowledged at one time truck parking was a problem, but that’s because some truckers were “unreasonable” in their use of the property.
Despite concerns from Councilpersons Bob Cord, Chris Jimerson and Kathy Somers about FEMA regulations, how the City got to the point of leasing the land, along with their desire to investigate further, Mayor Jones called for a vote on the contract, with the matter being approved 4-3. Cord, Jimerson and Somers were the “Nay” votes.