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Butler opposes Chemworks plant

March 11, 2014

Village of Butler – Members of the Butler Village Board spent the bulk of their most recent regular meeting discussing a proposed development that is not even within their municipal border.

Since it is several blocks from Butler, village officials went on record opposing the Chemworks industrial waste plant eyed for a 21.6-acre parcel of land at N5998 Lilly Road in Menomonee Falls. The Butler board unanimously passed a resolution March 4 solidifying their position.

"While I'm unsure if this affects the Village (of Butler) at all, there are concerns about smells that could be an issue," Village President Richard Ensslin said.

Ensslin was speaking of documented odor complaints linked to an existing Chemworks facility on Milwaukee's west side. Residents living near the facility complained to Milwaukee officials about odors that allegedly caused illness.

Advanced Waste Systems, parent company of Chemworks, has paid $11,475 in fines to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District for 24 separate violations, stemming from incidents that took place between 2007 and 2012.

After discussing the proposal and reviewing the recent course of events, Kayla Chadwick, Butler's administrator-clerk, said she would write a letter to Menomonee Falls officials.

"I'd like to send a message, saying we're opposing this, since we are a neighbor to the facility," Chadwick said.

The Menomonee Falls Plan Commission is in the process of reviewing and deliberating on the Chemworks development. Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 20 and March 24 at Ben Franklin Elementary School, W14701 Franklin Drive.

Commissioners will be taking comments from the public at the March 24 meeting.

The Menomonee Falls board in August granted AWS an occupancy permit for a former concrete block manufacturing plant.

But as word got out about Chemworks' prior violations, Falls residents living near the site implored Village officials not to allow the plans to move forward.

In recent weeks, Chemworks officials have informed Falls officials it could be filing a $2 million lawsuit against the Village for money the company already has sunk into renovating the property if the company's operations plan is not approved.

"We take our corporate responsibility very seriously," Malatesta said in the statement. "To be told now that the Village can effectively put us through a 'do-over' process is not right."

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