Plans for recycling plant off Interstate 15 north of Escondido run into opposition from neighbors

Residents say wrong project in wrong place

ESCONDIDO, Calif. - Plans by a longtime North County businessman to build a recycling plant off Interstate 15 north of Escondido near Deer Springs Road are running into opposition from neighbors. On Sunday afternoon, the neighbors and the businessman came face-to-face.

"I would ask that our county officials stop this project," said resident Nancie Froning. 

Froning told 10News the proposed recycling plant is a bad idea for a number of reasons. 

"We're concerned about traffic, noise, the environmental issues," she said. "It's just not the right project."

She was joined by a couple dozen people who live in the area. Those included a number of seniors who live in the nearby Lawrence Welk Village.

The man behind the recycling plant proposal is Arie De Jong. He owns the land and he brought anyone who was curious up to have a look around, which is something he is required by the county to do at least once. He wants to build what is called a light recycling processing facility. It would handle green waste, grass and other debris from the garden, along with construction and demolition waste. That last part is a problem for the neighbors.

"I think they're legitimate concerns and I don't have a problem with them and I don't have a problem with them coming over here," said De Jong.

De Jong said his nephew Carl, who would run the plant, will make sure contractors do not bring in toxic construction debris, such as asbestos. 

However, that is not Froning's only problem with De Jong. She said De Jong told her he builds things first and worries about permits later. 

When 10News asked him about that, De Jong responded, "That has been a pattern in the past, but we're beyond that point. You just hardly can't do that anymore."

De Jong said the facility will be hidden from view and he said this site is the perfect place for it. 

"We're right close to the I-15, we're right close to the Highway 78, so from a geographical standpoint, you can't beat the location," he said.

Neighbors have other concerns, including trips by 18-wheelers, which are supposed to begin at 5 a.m. and stretch through 7 p.m. De Jong said there was nothing he could do about that.

He and the neighbors did agree on a way in and out of the plant, which was much more amenable to surrounding residents.

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