FRANKLIN, Wis. - Some Franklin residents Tuesday, Oct. 20 voice opposition to a proposed Strauss Brands LLC. slaughterhouse expansion, as the Franklin Common Council met to vote.
Strauss has been in Franklin for 50 years. The meat-processing company is looking to expand close to four times its current size.
Opposition from Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey and protests from neighbors led Strauss to withdraw a proposal to move to Milwaukee's Century City last October.
A news release Tuesday from "Franklin Advocates" said more than 1,000 Franklin residents have signed a petition opposing the meatpacking facility in Franklin. The release noted the company, recently acquired by Texas investment firm Insight Equity Holdings, applied for a special use permit for a 152,000-square-foot slaughterhouse capable of processing up to 500 calves, lamb and cows per day, with the option of a Phase 2 expansion.
It would allow Strauss to expand and move from its current Franklin plant into a new facility in the city's new industrial park near Loomis Road and Ryan Road.
According to the release, Franklin Mayor Steve Olson "is a major supporter of the project, claiming it will bring more jobs to Franklin."
Dozens told the council Tuesday night they believe the expansion will lower property values, and reduce water and air quality. Just three people spoke in support of the plant. They say the company's state-of-the-art technology will eliminate odor, and the expansion will add up to 160 jobs.
On Oct. 8, "roughly 150" citizens protested at a public hearing, but the release said there were not any representatives from the Texas investment firm at that hearing, and they've had challenges trying to get in touch with the equity firm's owner.
Residents say they want to see what the facility looks like, saying in the release the mayor and president of Strauss were initially open to a tour, but then changed their mind.
The release also noted COVID-19 concerns, stating, "Strauss has had employees confirm an outbreak but Strauss and the Franklin Health Department have been reluctant to share data on infection numbers from or related to the current facility."