The Brookhaven Town zoning board of appeals has approved a plan to raise the height of a building at a Medford recycling plant, over the objections of a civic group.
The board on Wednesday voted 7-0 to approve a variance allowing Gershow Recycling Corp. to increase the height of the building, which houses equipment, to 69 feet from 55 feet.
The vote occurred after Medford Taxpayer and Civic Association president Brett Houdek, speaking at a public hearing, said he believes town zoning and building codes limit the height of industrial buildings to 50 feet. Houdek said Gershow previously had received a variance allowing the building to be no more than 55 feet high.
The Gershow plant, which processes metal and paper recyclables, is on Peconic Avenue, about 1,000 feet south of the Long Island Expressway.
Houdek said in an interview after the meeting that the building would be “visible to the expressway. We don’t want Medford to be known as the junkyard capital of Brookhaven."
Zoning board and Gershow officials did not respond to requests for comment.
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.
Houdek said civic leaders have been frustrated with the company, which he said does not ask residents for feedback regarding activities at the Medford plant. Houdek said he learned about Gershow's request for a height variance about two weeks ago when he viewed a copy of the zoning board meeting agenda.
He also faulted Brookhaven officials for allowing what he called a "proliferation" of buildings in Medford that don't conform to town zoning laws.
“They’ve got to start enforcing their code [regarding] nonconforming uses,” Houdek said.