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Good business, bad location

Board stops hazardous recycling, storage company from moving to business park

Sept. 21, 2010

Germantown — Plans to locate a business specializing in the storage and recycling of hazardous and nonhazardous flammable liquids was shot down in a narrow 5-4 vote by the Village Board on Monday.

Enviro-Safe Consulting proposed building a nearly 14,000-square-foot office and industrial warehouse at the northwest corner of Washington and Ellsworth drives in the Germantown Business Park. Plans included four above-ground storage tanks that would have held materials including latex paints, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, glues and adhesives.

Reaction to the proposal from the Brookfield-based company was mixed. With regulations being ramped up from such agencies as the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency, Enviro-Safe President Jeff Villione said his company serves a vital service.

Residents, nearby business tenants and elected officials agreed the business is important, but dissenters questioned why the business was being proposed in a high-density, high profile area.

Ryan Petersen, president of Krenz & Co., said his manufacturing plant is next to the proposed development. He expressed a variety of concerns, ranging from possible odors that could emanate throughout the area to the possibility of a hazardous spill.

"It's not that this is a bad business," Petersen said. "But I don't think this is the right spot for it."

It's all about safety

Villione, however, said safety precautions were a high priority for his company.

"We take this very seriously," Villione said. "Our reputation is on the line. If we are out of compliance, it will have a catastrophic impact on my business."

Resident Brad Van Dam lives near the business park and said he favored having Enviro-Safe build at the proposed site. Van Dam said he was comfortable with the reputation of Enviro-Safe, a company that has been in business for more than eight years, and its track record.

"This type of business is something we need to see in industrial parks and business parks," said Van Dam, who serves on the village's Economic Development Committee. "While there are no guarantees, I think they've done a good job so far and have well laid-out plans."

Villione said he examined other office parks, including ones in Germantown, but made a bid for the Germantown Business Park because of its location and village amenities - including water and sewer - that are available.

"We see an opportunity here and would like to pursue it," Villione said.

Commission backed proposal

The proposal went before the Village Plan Commission with a favorable recommendation. But when ultimate authority went to the board, reaction was mixed.

Trustee Terri Kaminski said she had reservations, in part because the Germantown Business Park is not yet fully occupied.

"(Enviro-Safe) would help fill the business park," Kaminski said. "But who is going to fill the rest of it? I'm having a difficult time with this."

Village President Dean Wolter, who voted in favor of the plans, noted Enviro-Safe has been scrutinized since the company made its bid to locate in the business park several months ago. Throughout the review, Wolter said Villione was responsive to questions and appears to have a handle on the business of recycling hazardous and nonhazardous liquids.

"He sells compliance," Wolter said of Villione. "That's what he does."

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