County Judge Bob Clinard says the company failed to apply for a large scale development permit at the new location, so the planners issued a cease and desist order Tuesday.
"You need to go through the proper channels to open a business, wherever it is in Benton County," he says. "That's troubling to me. You would never go into any city and say I'm going to build a building here, or there and not go to the building department and say 'What do I need to do?'"
The company moved its Siloam Springs metal shredding operation to 13670 Old Highway 59 after the city's planning commission denied a conditional use permit. The city says neighbors complaints about noise and air pollution factored into the decision.
Owner Tom Smith met with the Benton County Planning Department Wednesday to discuss the order. Smith told Planning and Environmental Director Christopher Ryan he thought the operation was grandfathered in, along with other prior uses of the property.
"None of those activities was metal recycling or shredding," Ryan says. "Therefore our conclusion was that it was indeed a violation."
Smith agreed to stop operations at the plant, and to pursue the proper permits, but neighbors hope the plant is shut down for good.
"It sounded like a train wreck," says Jim Jensen, who lives across the street. "USA Metal does not have a friendly reputation with the neighbors. The scales were built about two weeks ago, and I was afraid of what was happening when I saw that."
Jensen plans to voice his opposition, when the company applies for the permits.
"It's time for somebody in Benton County to stand up and be heard on this," he says. "It's been a problem everywhere (USA Metal has) been, and I don't feel like our neighborhood should be the final resting place for it."