Civil rights complaint filed against Kalamazoo for paper mill stench

The complaint alleges the city zoned minority neighborhoods to allow for foul-odored industrial facility.

A former Kalamazoo resident has filed a complaint against the City of Kalamazoo with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. The complaint alleges that city leaders intentionally zoned a paper mill near a predominantly Black neighborhood to keep it, and its foul odors, away from more affluent, and white, neighborhoods.

The paper mill belongs to Graphic Packaging International and has come under fire for unpleasant smells that emanate from its factory on Pitcher St. in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood.

Brandi Crawford-Johnson has tried several different avenues to force the company and the city to address the issues, including filing a class action lawsuit against Graphic Packaging.

The latest effort, filed late last year, alleges the city “purposefully did not rezone our neighborhood due to the racial makeup of the community which is primarily African American,” according to the complaint.

The Department of Civil Rights said it is in the process of investigating the complaints and will either dismiss it for lack of evidence or decide to file formal charges.

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