Central Fresno neighborhood calling for removal of recycling center

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When Eric Martinez opened his business, E & J's Barbershop this month, he didn't expect the neighboring recycling center would be there.

He was under the impression Buy Back Incorporated would be gone by the time he opened.

Martinez admits the recycling center provides a valuable service, but also says it has taken a toll on his community.

"A lot of homeless people are here doing drugs and camping out around here too," he said. "They were camping right here in front of my shop."

The push to move a recycling center out of this central Fresno neighborhood on Shields and West has been a struggle for years.

Mayor Jerry Dyer says when he served as police chief, officers would constantly be called out to that location.

"What we ended up seeing was a lot of associated crime within that area, vehicle burglaries, break-ins, trash that was in the area," Dyer said. "There was a significant number of homeless population."

Recently, a new owner took over the property.

He terminated the recycling center's month-to-month lease in an effort to clean up the area and shopping center where it's located.

A spokesman for the property owner tells Action News Buy Back Incorporated was supposed to leave last month, but he claims the recycling center refused to go.

City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria represents the district where the recycling center is located.

She has pushed for its removal.

"I'm hopeful we will be able to find a resolution," she said. "We have been talking to state officials trying to figure out what can we do at the state level, because this issue is very complicated."

Soria says based on state laws and the original permit that was signed when the grocery store was built, a recycling plant may have been required to be there.

Management with Buy Back Incorporated wasn't available to speak, but an employee tells Action News they are not responsible for the crime in the area and crime happens throughout the city.

Property Management tells us they'll be meeting with city leaders on Monday to discuss how they'll be moving forward.
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