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City Rejects Business' Composting Plans

Mayor Steve Scaffidi broke a 3-3 tie to prevent Green Man from beginning composting operations at its facility on Nicholson Road.

After criticism from residents and some aldermen, Mayor Steve Scaffidi cast a tie-breaking vote to reject Green Man Wood Services' plans to operate a state-licensed composting facility.

Green Man, 9000 S. Nicholson Road, has been the topic of much debate among its neighbors in the last year after owner Dan Gustin first tried starting composting operations back in November of 2011.

The Common Council delayed action to allow Gustin to sort out issues brought up by neighbors. Much of the residents' concerns stemmed from how composting, specifically the smell from the materials brought in, would negatively affect the neighborhood.

Those concerns have not died down. Residents complained Tuesday about foul odors in the area they believe came from Green Man, which last year brought in shipments of animal waste from the Milwaukee County Zoo for composting — without the proper permits — and proposed to do it again. Others feared the composting site would be an eyesore.

"The odor is unbelievable," said Tim Sommers, a neighbor of the facility. "I've been there 22 years and never put up with anything like this."

Gustin argued that when done properly, there is no odor at all. Many of the previous complaints were unfounded, he said.

He invited aldermen and residents to stop by and watch the process done so that they could feel more at ease.

Green Man, whose services include lawn maintenance, landscaping, tree removal and the recycling of wood products, got approval in 2007 to operate a lumberyard and contractor’s office, with outdoor storage included.

Under the proposal, Green Man would have received one daily shipment from the Milwaukee County Zoo to add to the compost pile. Gustin said odors from that could be removed by adding woodchips to the pile.

Some aldermen and Scaffidi said with many homes nearby, Green Man was not a good place for that type of operation.

Other aldermen said they could approve composting but limit what could be brought in — namely, prohibiting animal waste from the zoo.

After a 3-3 tie, Scaffidi cast the deciding vote to deny the composting operation.

"As much as I am pro-business, in this case I think this is too much of a big issue and we have to be concerned with what the residents think," Scaffidi said. "You obviously run a good business, but this part of it is causing too much consternation."

vocal local 1 November 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Steve why weren't you at the meetings? Then you might know what your ranting about. Ever heard of zoonosis? Your not going to get that from Mark's farm. You are correct in that Cheryl and Mark's mother both died of brain cancer. Both worked at Delphi and the cancer was associated with the work place. You and most of the neighbors moved next to a working farm that was here before the city became a city. Lung Cancer from a farm when we live under the 6th largest coal plant in the USA? Greenman's original application cited 80% of his work would be conducted off site. He had numerous violations. The license from the DNR allowed 5000 cubic yards and it could have become a reality. A mountain of garbage on your street. Could you please identify how Greenman and Growing Power are assets to the city?
TIM S. November 29, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Let's put things in the real perspective here. Years ago sewer sludge was permitted to be injected into soil in many community farm lands. Oak Creek was not one of them. So if you are accusing someone in the neighborhood ( which I believe you don't live in) of wrong doing where were you to blow the whistle on this community injustice? And then to suggest that Cheryle Melendez's death and others may be caused by a pig farmer spreading raw HUMAN FECES in his fields and you knew about it and said nothing suggests you are the gutless coward for not coming forward.
TIM S. November 29, 2012 at 05:41 AM
@ Steve... Real MEN get their facts straight before spouting off on things they don't know about. Neighbors met with the Gustin's and saw what the carnage was about. Obviously you did not get the full tour. So unless you live close by you have NO SAY on this. So keep your name calling and inane comments to yourself. If you post again GET SOME FACTS FIRST.
Mark Schaaf November 29, 2012 at 04:00 PM
had to delete a comment on this thread....gotta stick to the issues regarding Green Man and not personal attacks against others. Name calling, personal attacks, etc not allowed.
Mike in OC November 29, 2012 at 05:22 PM
@doing the right thing.... Thanks for the compliment! Would you vote for me if i run? Should you have any specific questions that you need answered.... really about anything as I'm pretty well rounded, just hit me up in my inbox. I would be more than happy to help out a fellow OC'er.

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