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[United States]
Posted on : Jan 20, 2012
A controversial Frisco recycling plant that must soon comply with new federal air quality standards is no closer to obtaining its building permits and faces hearings over its future.

The City Council approved a measure that sets the stage for public hearings over Exide Technologies Inc.'s compliance with current zoning laws.

“We are stunned by the actions that are occurring," said Bruce Cole, of Exide.

The council also denied Exide's appeal of a zoning decision.

The company only has a few months to comply with new air quality standards set by the federal government and must make improvements to its facility.

Exide had asked that the building permits be approved based on the rules that were in effect when the facility first opened nearly 50 years ago.

But the Planning and Zoning Commission denied the request last month.

“We are asking that we build walls around our facility," said Don Barar, plant manager. "It's as simple as that."

The zoning commission said the battery recycling plant must follow Frisco's current zoning laws and apply for a "specific-use permit."

Exide's battery recycling facility has come under scrutiny for the levels of lead it pumps into the air.

The plant, which originally opened in 1964, sits in the heart of Frisco within three miles of City Hall, Frisco High School and Pizza Hut Park. Exide took over the facility in 2000 to recycle old car batteries.

Exide employs 134 people in Frisco.

“Please don’t tell me bullying Exide out of Frisco is about the children," plant employee Jennifer Layton said. "What about my children?"

The public hearings have not yet been scheduled.

The city is bracing for a possible lawsuit.

NBC 5's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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