Judge rules for Chico in lawsuit over scrap metal business

CHICO — The lawsuit between the city of Chico and Chico Scrap Metal, a local recycling business that had been at odds with the city for nearly a decade, has come to an end, and those involved in the litigation are speaking out.

Judge Tamara Mosbarger ruled against Chico Scrap Metal, which was suing the city regarding its location on East 20th Street and whether it could operate there, on Oct. 27.

Since the litigation has been ongoing for so long, there have been multiple seat changes in the Chico City Council, many of which were part of the lawsuit.

Ann Schwab, a former Chico mayor, expressed frustration in Chico Scrap Metal amid the ruling.

“They have dragged their feet for my entire 16-year tenure on the council,” Schwab said. “All other industrial businesses have relocated from the Chapman neighborhood long ago.”

Some were simply glad it ended, such as former Mayor Andy Holcombe.

“I look forward to the law finally being followed, and council’s directive, the community will and the Chapman Neighborhood Plan being honored,” Holcombe said. “It is long overdue.”

Current Councilor Sean Morgan expressed relief, but said he wasn’t in favor of the overall outcome.

“While I’m glad it’s over, I don’t think justice was served,” Morgan said.

Former Mayor Karl Ory was recently granted legal representation by the city of Chico after he was added to the lawsuit.

Ory said that while the judge dismissed Chico Scrap Metal’s claims, it will be up to code enforcement and the city to enforce halting operations.

“Their open-air scrap metal operations are nearly adjacent to Chapman School,” Ory said. “A section of the (Chico Scrap Metal) yard has been capped with cement to try to control soil contamination. Chico has plenty of areas zoned for industrial use. They need to move”

Mayor Andrew Coolidge declined to comment on the matter.

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