Menomonee Falls rejects proposed Chemworks move

CREATED Apr 9, 2014

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MENOMONEE FALLS - City leaders have rejected a plan that would have allowed a Chemworks plant to move in.

More than 200 turned out Wednesday night for a meeting that took a lot of twists and turns around legal terms and definitions of land use.
 
But in the end it came down to a simple yes or no – and the village said no to a controversial waste treatment business.
 
There was a standing ovation for village leaders who voted to kill the waste treatment plant in Menomonee Falls. Opponents of the project were thrilled.
 
"Quality of life will be affected; our property taxes will be affected, so I think this was the right thing the village decided to do," said Laura Carlos.
 
The decision came after hours of debate – weeks of meetings and months of back and forth between residents and company officials about the merits of Chemworks' plan.
 
About 50 supporters of the plant wore bright yellow vests to the meeting as the company’s president made one final appeal for approval.
 
"Our goal has always been to demonstrate to the community that we are strong environmental stewards and that we will be a good neighbor," said Mike Malatesta, President of Advanced Waste.
 
But homeowners were worried about smell from the facility and pointed to past odor problem at the company’s Milwaukee plant.
 
The village plan commission agreed and said the use of that property in Menomonee Falls was objectionable for a number of reasons.
 
"I believe it’s a nuisance to the surrounding area – I am concerned about the smells to the surrounding area," said Village President
Randy Newman.
 
The company said it was disappointed with tonight’s vote but would not say what’s next. It has put the city on noticed it is prepared to sue for $2 million, which is what the company has invested in the project so far.
 
Advanced Waste Services released the following statement Wednesday night:
 
We are obviously disappointed and disagree with this decision. In an I-2 heavy industrial park, the Lilly Road property is zoned for heavy industrial usage and for companies like Advanced Waste. There are, in fact, several companies like ours who not only handle and treat waste, but hazardous wastes that are potentially far more harmful than ours.

In addition, the specified usage was clear at the time we filed and were granted the occupancy permit by the Village. We went ahead and purchased this property only after these approvals were received. We relied on these approvals in making our purchase. We’ve since received building and construction permits that we relied on to begin making renovations to the property. These represent significant investments for a small company like ours.

We will need to digest this decision and determine what actions the Village is going to take prior to determining our next steps.