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Brookhaven planning board to expand Medford recycling plant

The Gershow recycling facility on Peconic Avenue in

The Gershow recycling facility on Peconic Avenue in Medford, as seen on Wednesday.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A Medford recycling plant can expand one of its buildings in order to move some of its operations indoors, Brookhaven Town planners have said.

The town planning board on Monday voted 7-0 to approve Gershow Recycling Corp.'s plan to build a 69-foot-high processing center at its 25-acre Peconic Avenue property. Previous plans for the building called for it to stand 55-feet high.

Representatives for Gershow said during a hearing the increased capacity is needed to move some outdoor operations into enclosed areas, where metal recyclables can be processed better. Moving those operations indoors will reduce the amount of noise and dust released by the facility, they said.

The representatives said Gershow officials are responding to changes in the recycling industry sparked by China's decision to reject many American recyclables that have been spoiled by exposure to rain and other contaminants.

"There's a need for new and improved, state-of-the-art equipment" to separate metals from other waste, Hauppauge lawyer J. Timothy Shea Jr. said at the hearing. "We'll be able to separate more of the metal. … More of the material will be able to be separated out and not go to the landfill."

Gershow operates nine recycling facilities in Suffolk and Nassau counties and Brooklyn. The company sells recycled paper and metals to domestic and international foundries, mills and manufacturing facilities.

The Brookhaven Board of Zoning Appeals had previously approved a variance to allow the 69-foot building height. That proposal had been opposed by Medford civic leaders.

Civic leaders did not speak at Monday's hearing and could not be reached for comment.

The planning board's vote included approvals for the increased building height, the addition of metal wall panels, and revisions to the structure's location and dimensions. 

Shea said the increased height is required for a system of conveyor belts and screening equipment that could stand as high as 53 feet. The equipment is used to separate metals from non-recyclable items.

Shea added that moving operations indoors will improve safety for Gershow employees and cause less wear and tear on equipment.

Gershow officials could not be reached for comment.

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