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The battle over a West Dallas shingle factory may not be over — despite a proposal to shut it down

GAF asphalt shingle factory
Azul Sordo
/
KERA News
GAF is a roofing materials company headquartered in New Jersey. It operates a facility in West Dallas at 2600 Singleton Blvd., near a library branch, homes and the Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center.

West Dallas residents say the fight to close an asphalt factory that pollutes their air is far from over, even though GAF has already promised to leave the community.

The residents learned more about the company’s exit plan at a meeting earlier this week. But they were disappointed the plan did not address their health, safety and environmental concerns. They also don’t like the seven-year timeline for withdrawal.

“Seven years is too long. Seven years more of them hurting us is disturbing. It shows they don't care at all about our health,” said Janie Cisneros, leader of the neighborhood group Singleton United/Unidos.

Singleton United/Unidos, GAF representatives, and the City of Dallas met Monday for the second time this month.

GAF, which makes roofing materials like asphalt shingles, told KERA that the virtual meeting was to address questions posed by the community.

When asked what specifically they presented, a GAF spokesperson responded that their timeline “showed reductions in onsite raw material production and reductions in finished goods production.”

Singleton United/Unidos is now considering its next steps. They can continue negotiating with GAF or or try to get the city to initiate a legal process called amortization. Cisneros said she wants to take the amortization route if GAF is unwilling to change its proposed timeline for ramping down operations.

The amortization process would be complicated and lengthy. The City Council or a resident of the community would need to request that the Dallas Board of Adjustment determine whether the facility should be forced to close because of its negative health impacts.

But the company wants to stay with the negotiated exit.

“In recommending the City advance the amortization process, these individuals are effectively seeking to cut off discussions with GAF,” the company said in a statement. “Instead they are advocating for a path with no certainty in the outcome ... that will consume City resources for many years and provide no opportunity for the community to influence future zoning of the GAF property.”

"It’s disappointing that a few individuals are trying to undermine the effort to agree on a legally binding framework,” said GAF spokesperson Shawn Williams.

Council Member Omar Narvaez, who represents the neighborhood, did not want to comment on the issue.

“I don’t make comments about negotiations that are ongoing," Narvaez texted. He said that "things change day-to-day" and it would be "unfair to all involved."

The next meeting has not been scheduled.

It’s unclear if the city’s Environment and Sustainability Committee and the Environmental Commission will talk about this at their next meetings in August.

Got a tip? Email Alejandra Martinez at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.