Residents of an Irvine, California neighborhood are breathing a sigh of relief after finally reaching a conclusion to years of contentious debate over a factory.
All American Asphalt set up shop in 1993 in an area described by local news organization Voice of OC as having “nothing around it.” But as the years went by and more of the adjacent land was developed with housing, along with it came controversy.
The asphalt plant’s neighbors began to complain of odors emanating from the facility – a fume they say was impossible to avoid. This meant keeping windows closed or taping off vents or else risk being woken during the night by the smell, said some nearby residents.
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According to Voice of OC, further complicating the issue was debate between the city council and the local air quality management regulator on whose job it was to address the problems with the plant.
Ultimately, the decision was made this past April when the city of Irvine announced that it would be buying the factory site for $285 million. At the time of the proposal, city leaders said this price was “well in excess” of what plots of land typically go for in Irvine, though mayor Farrah Khan said the deal addressed ongoing efforts to improve residents’ quality of life.
Among its plans, according to reports, are to convert much of the land to a nature preserve, while parceling off another 80 acres to sell for a housing development in order to offset its investment costs.
This past week, the factory shut its doors for good and many residents are elated.
Lesley Tan, a plant neighbor and co-founder of the group “Stop Toxic Asphalt Pollutants in Irvine” told the news site that it was “a big relief knowing what we fought hard for years, for the health and safety of our community, has finally concluded.”
Voice of OC added that a class action suit against the factory has also been settled, entitling thousands of residents within a two mile radius to a portion of the $1.25 million payout.