The odor that derives from Liberty Casting and permeates Delaware’s west side has been a source of discontent and dissension among residents for some time. While the heavy manufacturing plant can’t eliminate the odor all together, it is taking a measure that company officials hope will significantly reduce the odor that leaves the plant.
Liberty Casting President Tom James was before the Delaware Planning Commission Wednesday night seeking approval of a Development Plan Exemption for an addition to the existing plant at 550 Liberty Road. James said the hope for the addition is to ultimately reduce the odor that leaves the plan by 50 percent.
Proposed is a 4,000-square-foot addition on the north side of the main building, which spans approximately 112,000 square feet. The building will be constructed with pre-engineered metal and a concrete base. It will measure between 26-31 feet in height, which is smaller than the existing building, and the painting will match that of the existing building.
James said his company did a study with ASK Chemicals ahead of the decision to request the addition, which showed that if the iron can sit in the molds for an additional 24 hours, the odor that is created can be reduced by 50 percent.
“So, this building is giving us storage space to do nothing more than to stick the molds there for 24 hours and then bring them in with the hope of a 50 percent reduction in smell,” James said of the new addition. “It is nothing for production, it is nothing for anything other than trying to be a good neighbor and reduce the smell.”
James later said, “If it doesn’t work, we spent half a million dollars for nothing. If it does work, we’re (going to have) 50 percent less smell.”
The Development Plan Exemption was passed with a 6-0 vote; Commissioner Andy Volenik was absent from the meeting.
Because it is a Development Plan Exemption, the addition will not need to go before Delaware City Council, per the Zoning Code, which authorizes Director of Planning and Community Development Dave Efland to exempt “small, incidental construction, which does not result in an adverse impact to the site or surroundings, from the development plan review process,” according to city documents.
As part of the approval of the exemption, James must pay an unpaid amount of $25,765 to the city that was agreed upon by the two parties for previous development approvals in which Liberty Casting opted to make a payment in lieu of sidewalk installations being included as part of the development.
Once the city receives the $25,765 payment in lieu of the sidewalk, James will receive the building and zoning permit to move forward with the addition.