Attorney Alex Intermill, representing Newco Metals, addresses the Ingalls Board of Zoning Appears on Monday evening at Maple Ridge Elementary School. Nearly 400 people attended. Staff photo by John P. Cleary
Attorney Alex Intermill, representing Newco Metals, addresses the Ingalls Board of Zoning Appears on Monday evening at Maple Ridge Elementary School. Nearly 400 people attended. Staff photo by John P. Cleary
PENDLETON — The controversial proposed Newco Metals Inc. Element 13 project was denied by a unanimous decision Monday by the Ingalls Board of Zoning Appeals.

The board voted 5-0 in denying the special use request.

At the start of the meeting, Neil Stevenson, principal planner for the Madison County Council of Governments who is consulting with the town of Ingalls on its planning, recommended that the special use be denied because Element 13 does not, in MCCOG’s opinion, meet five criteria required by state law.

MCCOG’s assessment mirrored the sentiments of most of the more than 350 people who crowded into the gymnasium at Maple Ridge Elementary School.

Newco attorney Alex Intermill first made a presentation that included charts, a video and cross sections.

He argued that Element 13 will include an investment of up to $15 million that will lead to the creation of 26 jobs and generate $300,000 in revenue for the town of Ingalls through increased property tax assessments.

“These are going to be the type of high-tech jobs your comprehensive plan calls for,” he said.

Intermill insisted the project, regardless of an outdated classification system by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, does not involve a smelter but will be a remelter for the recycling of aluminum into billet that could be used by manufacturers for commercial door frames and bleachers.

“Smelters start with something and end with something different because of manipulation of the process,” he said. “Refining and smelting are not the same thing.”

Newco, owned by Chris and Mike Rasmussen, received the IDEM permit and a tax abatement from the town of Ingalls four years ago.

“It’s exactly the same kind of permit that Nestle has up in Anderson,” Intermill said. “I don’t recall hundreds of people opposing the Nestle permit ... Nestle can emit twice what Element 13 is allowed to emit through the permit.”

Resident Anthony Garza, an engineer, said he did the math, and though the type of pollution is different than that emitted by truck stops, he said the particulate would be equal to 10 truck stops with 30 trucks running at the same time.

Though Intermill asserted home values would increase, real estate agent Jason Whitaker said the Love’s Truck stop at Exit 214 already reduced the value of nearby homes to two-thirds their previous value.

“Even these talks here are damaging home prices,” he said.

Attorney S. Gregory Zubek, representing Stan Evans, the owner of 68 acres across from Newco’s facility, submitted a petition against the project.

“I submit to you there are different types of smelting, and this is smelting,” he said. “Your ordinance says this is a prohibited use.”

When it was his turn to speak, Evans asked members of the audience against Element 13 to stand. Nearly everyone did.

“Obviously, these people won’t all be able to speak, but clearly, the community is speaking loudly to you,” he said.
© 2019 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.