Two days after the rally, Prince was reportedly served with an eviction notice by the marketplace’s property owners. Meanwhile, Midway planners turned thumbs down to the proposal to relocate Prince Recycling Center to their neighborhood.
A week later, some Peninsulans alleging the recycling center is a homeless haunt, a community blight and a crime catalyst, pled their case for removing the Point Loma “convenience” recycler to Assemblyman Todd Gloria at a Feb. 17 community town hall.
Add to all that frustration on the part of marketplace owner Dirk Stump, who was compelled by state law four years ago to allow a “convenience” recycling center onsite next to his market at 3770 Voltaire St. – or face daily fines.
Stump feels increasingly pressured – and trapped in the middle – by this most recent turn of events with Prince Recycling.
“There’s very little [else] I can do about it, and I’ve been working on [removing] it for 1 1/2 years,” said Stump. “My full-time job is running a supermarket. I’m not a legislator or a lawyer.”
Stump is seeking a land-use attorney to help guide him through the legal morass that has developed over the recycling center adjoining his market.
“Prince doesn’t have a lease,” said Stump, who added, Prince Recycling is bad for his business. “It’s doing nothing for me,” Stump said. “I’ve got to contend with the bad clients that come in.”
Stump believes the Feb. 10 public rally against the recycler did more harm than good.
“It would have been easier if things were under the radar,” he said. “But if the spotlight is on you, you can’t get anything done, other than people’s feelings getting whipped up.”
“I can’t fight the state,” Stump said. “This is my livelihood.”
Sacramento-based Aaron Moreno, senior director of government relations for the California Grocers Association, believes state laws governing recycling need to be amended to reflect changing times.
“The state law requiring recycling centers to be tethered to supermarket parking lots was written back in 1986,” Morena said, noting about 300 recyclers statewide were forced to close a couple of years ago due largely to increased labor costs and declining market prices for recyclables.
“Now, you have these situations with recycling centers where you’re getting pressure both from local government and community groups,” Moreno said. “Curbside recycling is now much more commonplace. We need to rethink the size of convenience zones, enlarging them from a half-mile radius.”
Pointing out grocers typically operate on slim 1- to 2-percent profit margins, Moreno said that puts grocers “between a rock and a hard place.”
Jon Linney, one of several community advocates organizing for Prince’s relocation, said, the goal “is to help the community find a better site for a recycling center, one that best serves the needs of all parties, and that is not adjacent to a residential area.
“We are not seeking to cause financial harm to Jamie Prince of Prince Recycling, nor are we a party to any eviction proceeding. Our understanding, after speaking to the various parties, is that Mr. Prince has not paid rent, may never have received written permission from the landlord, and could be evicted at any moment.”
Another co-organizer of the February anti-recycling rally, Margaret Virissimo, weighed in on the matter.
“At this point, it is up to the owner of Stumps to get the recycle center moved into a civil court matter and request an official document to be served to the owner of Prince Recycling,” Virissimo said. “The community members are the ones that need to stand up now and voice their concerns.
“It is the clientele and crime that a recycling center brings near homes and schools that is the problem,” she said. “We have many reasons why we would help relocate the recycle center to a safer, larger space that can service three gigantic communities Point Loma, Ocean Beach and Midway.”
After repeated attempts, James Prince of Prince Recycling did not return calls by the Peninsula Beacon for further comment.