Menomonee Falls — The Plan Commission earned a standing ovation from those in attendance Wednesday, April 9, after voting down the controversial ChemWorks waste water treatment plant proposal.
"I'm so excited, I'm just shaking," resident Barb Vermey said immediately following the vote.
The action comes after months of discussion and opposition from nearby residential property owners, who have pleaded with village officials not to let the project proceed.
Discussion by commissioners focused primarily on the proposed use of the land, which they ultimately declared objectionable after 21/2 hours of debate. Another option would have been to put in place a lengthy list of limitations and restrictions, which Commissioner Tim Newman said would be difficult to enforce.
"If it comes down to self-monitoring, I don't have that confidence," he said of Advanced Waste Services, parent company of ChemWorks. The company was granted an occupancy permit by the village in August, 2013, which allowed renovations to begin on a former concrete block manufacturing plant on a 21.6-acre parcel at N5998 Lilly Road.
The vote on the proposal followed presentations by AWS, as well as various village officials who were charged with answering questions posed by residents at a forum in March.
Many opponents have pointed to reports about odor complaints at ChemWorks' existing facility on Milwaukee's west side, in addition to concerns about noise, air quality and the possibility the facility would cause a decrease in property values.
"We believe our proposed uses remain steadfastly consistent," said AWS President Mike Malatesta, in response to previously stated concerns of residents. "They have not evolved. We recognize what we do is confusing, and even scary, to those unfamiliar with it."
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