MENOMONEE FALLS (WITI) -- On Monday, March 24th, the public had the chance to voice their concerns to the Village of Menomonee Falls Plan Commission on Chemworks. The Plan Commission has the final say in whether to allow Advanced Waste Services, Chemworks' parent company, to move in to the village.
There was a large crowd at the Ben Franklin Elementary School in Menomonee Falls on Monday night. Many made impassioned statements to the Plan Commission -- the majority of whom are against allowing Chemworks to move in to Menomonee Falls.
Chemworks is a waste water treatment facility that has operated out of the Miller Valley in Milwaukee. The company had numerous odor complaints and environmental fines when they were located there.
Advanced Waste Services officials claim those problems will be a thing of the past.
"I find this to be objectionable," Rachel Bettermann said Monday night.
"I don't trust that Chemworks can be a good neighbor in Menomonee Falls," Lisa Jackson said.
"Do you think the smell is the only thing that residents here in Menomonee Falls are concerned about? Absolutely not. The smell is one of the things that we are concerned about," Bettermann said.
Supporters of the company wore yellow vests to this meeting, and a meeting last week.
At least one speaker on Monday night urged the crowd to give Chemworks a chance.
"I think this is exactly the type of business that we want to come into the Falls. They have a track record of providing high-paying jobs with good benefits and good people," Jeff Hughes said.
Last Thursday, at the same location, the Village of Menomonee Falls Plan Commission and residents heard from Advanced Waste Services officials.
“Tonight is our opportunity to get our story out there, very plainly, very clearly,” Mike Malatesta told FOX6 News on Thursday night.
Malatesta is the president of Advanced Waste Services — the parent company of Chemworks.
The company, which has a controversial past, plans to move from the Miller Valley in Milwaukee to the Village of Menomonee Falls.
The company has a history of environmental fines and odor issues. It’s a past that has caught the attention of those in Menomonee Falls.
On Thursday, company officials worked to make a case that those past issues will not follow it to its new home.
“We have controls in place for everything that could be a risk. We care about what we’re doing,” Malatesta said.
Coming to the company’s defense are people like Richard Fulk, whose civil chemical and engineering company has audited Advanced Waste Services for 10 years.
“They are a company that is in substantial compliance with their waste water and solid waste permits. I’m not worried about all the odors,” Fulk said.
Supporters of the company arrived in numbers Thursday evening — dressing in yellow vests.
On the other side of the room stood Menomonee Falls residents — some of whom remain skeptical.
“You read this and it sounds wonderful, but what if we get the plant and it’s not true?” one resident said.
The Village of Menomonee Falls Plan Commission must determine whether zoning on the land in Menomonee Falls is a match for what Advanced Waste Services/Chemworks wants to use it for.
The Plan Commission will make the final ruling in the case.
Advanced Waste Services has filed a Notice of Claim against the Village of Menomonee Falls asserts, among other things, that the Village of Menomonee Falls’ referral of the AWS occupancy permit to its Plan Commission is illegal, is a violation of the company’s constitutional rights and is not in compliance with Village ordinances.
Among other relief, the claim seeks damages against the Village in excess of $2 million.
Advanced Waste Services has already been issued an occupancy permit for the use of the site, located on Lilly Road. That permit was granted in September of 2013.
The occupancy permit states that, “This building/premises and the proposed use are in conformance with the provisions of the Village of Menomonee Falls zoning ordinance.”