The item up for discussion, which brought most attendees, was, "Ordinance O2015-03-04, an ordinance to amend multiple parcels on the Village's Official Zoning Map from M-5, Mineral Extraction District to Rs-1, Country Estate District and Rs-1R, Country Estate/Remnant Parcel District".
President Jeffords asked the board to move item 8b to 5a under Public Comments. Once that was done 6 people spoke at the podium. The first two residents focused their comments on wanting details regarding the number of trucks/day, why have a commercial enterprise in a residential area, they will see, hear, and smell trucks, and concern over the water at Amy Bell School.
Danah was the third speaker. A main actor in the meeting. She acknowledged the concern over water but said, "The DNR says water is not an issue". She noted the term landfill does not apply to this operation and they are not filing a law suit as noted in the media just exercising their rights. When she began to read a letter from the current property owners, the attending residents were unhappy making comments such as, "They should be here, or that is hearsay."
Danah continued to read the letter and when she read a concern about the tunnel under Scenic Road, oohhs and aahhs were heard from the audience. Her time to speak was up but she continued. The crowd wanted her to follow timing guidelines and she ended noting she is a combat veteran and cares about her country. Her displeasure was apparent.
Gil Frank, a supporting actor, spoke and wants the ground water quality monitored, and asked that the zoning not be changed. He thinks changing the zoning is not good for the village.
Two more residents spoke and their concerns were about road traffic and water safety. One noted putting one family's financial interests above the whole community's health and safety is not fair. One person asked Sandy Voss and Rock Brandner, "How far will you take this issue, to the mat?' (Note: Ultimately Sandy made the motion to approve the zoning change and Rock seconded.)
The residents clapped after each speaker except Danah and Gil. It was easy to see which side of the issue they supported.
Jim Healey noted Village Board and Plan commission have been working since late last year to change the 20 year land use map to show this property as residential and rezone the property. 39 acres are available for residential lots plus other private property around this area will be rezoned as well.
Jim continued noting Zoulkes are working the WI Dept. of Administration to obtain a solid waste facility which under state statutes is a landfill. Landfills are not and have never been a permitted use in M5 district, only allowed as conditional use in M3 and M4. Jim said it is not permissible to have a land fill in this area.
Atty. John Macy clarified the question as to why there are no details on this project. Since there is no application before the village, no details are available. Nothing is being held back by the village.
President Jeffords noted he reached his decision "after carefully considering the rights of the individual property owners affected by the zoning change but with the global principal of what is proper for the good of our community. Filling the pit, now 50 years later, with off premise material will potentially put our shallow aquifer at risk of becoming polluted. Not to mention the ancillary issues to bring the material to the site. I will be in favor of changing the zoning. "
John continued, "Uses under residential zoning are much more restrictive and will greatly reduce the potential risk of contaminating our water supply. " He turned the discussion over to the board. A motion was made and seconded to approve the zoning change.
During discussion, Trustee Dan Neu noted if this had been an active mining operation today and had to follow the law on remediation I could see they would have to fill and change the slopes. All of you have moved here since that mine stopped and invested money in your properties and I cannot see how we can let this happen. (Residents clapped.)
Bill Collins thanked all for attending. He again noted the 2004 20 year map had this property as residential. This was an oversight that the property got this M4 designation. He noted comments from residents years ago and that they wanted the village to keep things the way they are. He apologized for this clerical error occurred which caused this to happen. He will take it to the mat, he has no problem with that. (Residents clapped.)
After this discussion, a vote was taken and the motion passed.
The last act of this meeting, pertaining to this issue, was Danah Zoulek and Gil Frank, alone, talking near the outside door. You, as a reader, will have to determine if as a candidate for Village Trustee Danah has any connections with the former Richfield Citizens for Responsible Government.