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GAF Shingle Plant Ends Negotiations With West Dallas To Pursue Exit on Its Own Terms

Negotiations have apparently broken down between GAF and the West Dallas community members that live next to its shingle factory. The company says it will now pursue its own timeline to wind down operations.
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Courtesy Singleton United/Unidos

The company that has operated the GAF shingle factory in West Dallas for decades insists it will exit the neighborhood, but will no longer directly negotiate with the residents.

Community members began demanding its exit earlier this year, saying that the emissions from the factory have caused a variety of health problems and was unfit to operate near homes.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, GAF said it still intends to voluntarily leave West Dallas, and called its plan a “clear demonstration of its commitment to work with the city and the community of West Dallas.” The company has applied to rezone the property from its current use as Industrial Research to what is known as a Planned Development District, which would no longer allow industrial uses. The company says its application includes a plan to wind down operations and “ensure future use of the property is consistent with the city’s and community’s vision for West Dallas.” It would require a special use permit to be allowed to operate for a finite period of time should the city approve its zoning request.

“As part of the ‘sunset provision,’ GAF will commit to a significant reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) emissions by the end of 2022,” the statement said. “GAF will also commit to transitioning production to another site beginning in 2027 and ending by 2029.”

According to an emissions inventory report by Paul Quinn College, the GAF factory became the second largest source of PM (particulate matter) 2.5 pollution in Dallas in 2020, an increase of almost six tons per year since 2019. Particulate matter pollution comes in different sizes, with PM 2.5 being some of the smallest. Exposure is linked to a higher risk of respiratory diseases.

In May, the neighborhood group Singleton United/Unidos released a report called the “Case for City Amortization of GAF,” arguing that the 76-year-old shingle factory should vacate the neighborhood because it adversely impacts the quality of life and health of nearby residents. 

In July, company representatives sat down with community members for the first time to discuss an exit strategy. After the meeting, the company issued a statement, saying that it came to “share a responsible and considered plan to pursue a legally-binding winding down of operations in West Dallas over the next 7 years.” The statement added that GAF hoped to continue down a “collaborative path” with the city and the plant’s neighbors.

In a press conference the next day, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Omar Narvaez, the councilman who represents West Dallas, said that GAF came forward “willingly” to work on plans for its exit. Narvaez said it was “what I would call self-amortization.” Amortization is a mechanism by which the city can qualify a business as a “non-conforming use” and begin the process to evict it from a community. 

“What GAF said is that they have heard the community loud and clear and that they recognize that as West Dallas is changing and becoming more residential, that this industrial use just no longer fits in West Dallas,” said Narvaez, who reported no timeline for the exit.

Later that month, the company met with representatives of the community again to answer questions. At least two people with knowledge of that meeting say that the community is pushing the company to explain the financial reason that it will take seven years to vacate. Those neighbors asked GAF to come up with a shorter timeline.

Those community members say they have not heard from GAF since that July meeting.

“If negotiations have ended, then we actually never had an opportunity to negotiate,” said Singleton United/Unidos spokesperson Janie Cisneros. “All we have done is listen to them justify their 7-year proposed timeline. Our next meeting was to get into negotiations-an actual dialogue with back and forth discussion.”

We will update this story with more details from the zoning application and response from community members.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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