Dec 1, 2020
Challenge of validity of Special Use Permit
December 3rd, 2020, Franklin, WI– A legal challenge (Case 2020CV007031) has been filed on December 1, 2020 with Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Court by a group of Franklin residents opposing Strauss Brands’ special use application approval.
Citizens that demanded the slaughterhouse’s special use not be approved and worked to inform fellow neighbors about the proposal have come together to form an official community group, Franklin Community Advocates (FCA). Marcelino Rivera, Executive Director of FCA created the online petition which now has over 5000 signatures opposing the Strauss proposal in Franklin. The official summons and complaint list five points of contention with the application and approval; Lack of substantial evidence, Interference with adjacent developments, Contrary to applicable zoning, Inconsistent with Comprehensive Plan (Violation of Wis. Stats. 66.1001), and Violation of Due Process – Risk of Bias.
Strauss’ Special Use application was initially rejected with a vote of 4-2 by the Common Council on October 20, 2020. On November 2nd, Ald. Shari Hanneman, brought the motion back for reconsideration where the council voted 3-3 with Mayor Steve Olson breaking the tie to approve the special use.
The new facility as approved would initially be 152,035 square feet. Strauss also intends to seek an expansion of the new facility in the relatively near future so as to add an additional 112,000 square feet of operational space and an additional 47,000 square foot truck maintenance facility. This is a total of 311,035 square feet, which is in excess of 7 acres of buildings.
FCA and other citizens including the individual plaintiffs organized and began to further investigate the proposal. As part of that it was learned that many required federal and state permits from EPA, WDNR, and MMSD had not been applied for and upon belief have still not been applied for by Strauss.
However, neither the documentary support nor the oral statements made by Strauss provided actual credible and substantial evidence that the proposed meat processing facility would satisfy the requirements of City Ord. § 15-3.0701, including that the development and operation of the proposed meat processing facility would:
“... be in harmony with the purposes of the Unified Development Ordinance and the Comprehensive Master Plan; that it will not have an undue adverse impact upon adjoining property; that it will not interfere with the development of neighboring property; that it will be served adequately by essential public facilities and services; that it will not cause undue traffic congestion; and that it will not result in damage to property of significant importance to nature, history or the like;
Marcelino Rivera provided a statement saying “FCA is taking action with urgency, in order to raise funds for this legal challenge. More information can be found, and donations can be made at franklincommunityadvocates.org.“