Lakeshore Recycling Project Overhead

The Village of DeForest Planning and Zoning Commission have given approval for paving and renovation of a recycling center at 4197 Reardon Road.

The request for a conditional use permit and site plan approval, proposed by Lakeshore Recycling Systems, came to the commission in their Jan. 26 virtual meeting. Although the project is an expansion, the center has been established, doing similar work at that location, according to Zoning Administrator Brandi Cooper.

“The recycling center has been there for many, many, many years and they originally recycled construction building materials,” said Cooper in a later interview. “Though they applied to expand from just the construction materials to waste recycling, which would be things like cardboard, aluminum, things like that.”

Illinois-based Lakeshore Recycling Systems acquired the center through a purchase of Royal Container Services in October 2018. Lakeshore has been aggressively expanding in the region and into Wisconsin such as through its acquisition of Royal Container Service and, in the same year, the purchase of Drop Zone Portable Services, a company specializing in portable restroom services. In 2020 Lakeshore purchased Milton-based Badgerland Disposal.

“This is a pretty small-scale operation compared to what we’ve done,” said Lakeshore Recycling Vice President of MRF (materials recovery facility) Operations John Sliwicki, “and it gives us the infrastructure to integrate our operations and not rely on third-parties and gives us an opportunity to take that site and spruce it up with new paving, a new system inside that will help with the processing and the site plans.”

The process of getting the commission on board with the idea was simplified, according to Sliwicki, once it was clarified that Lakeshore would not be “bringing in garbage,” to the site. Although waste materials will be arriving in trucks, all processing happens within the recycling center, so trucks will offload their materials to a processing line for sorting, distribution, and in the case of cardboard, baling, then transported to their final destination.

“They are not a direct consumer recycling center,“ said Cooper, “so you and I couldn’t just drive up and drop off our recycling materials.” She describes the company’s role at the facility as more of a “middle man” between Advanced Disposal Services and the Dane County Landfill.

The trucks coming and going from the site would be “route trucks,” as Sliwicki called them—like those that pick up trash and recycling along residential streets. These would be smaller and cleaner than the larger trucks that have come and gone from the center. Route trucks would also offer evidence, he explained, that the company does not intend to bring in waste from far and wide, it being in the financial interest of the company to keep those trucks close to their appointed routes.

At the Zoning Commission’s meeting, a resident from Cortland Park Condominiums spoke up when the virtual floor was opened for public comment, inquiring on the impact for the residential neighbors.

“This is not a ‘greenfield’ site and the paving will be going over a gravel surface,” explained Village Planning Consultant Mark Roffers, who also pointed out that in the proposal the total number of vehicle trips per day was rounded up to 100, giving Lakeshore Recycling room for possible expansion beyond their expected 30 trucks and 60 trips per day.

Trustee Jane Cahill Wolfgram highlighted that although in the project at hand they were talking about an expansion of an established business in a current industrial property, the area at large has also included a great deal of residential development.

“I would think irrespective of what came first—the business or the homes,” said Cahill Wolfgram, “they’re going to all be there going forward, so finding a way for them to coexist in a compatible way is probably healthy and having a limit on the trips helps that—it is worth consideration from my point.”

Cooper later commented on the contrast of neighboring properties: “Those industrial businesses have been there for many, many years and the residential development has built up around it. So that is a concern for the village, that we want to honor the longevity of the businesses that are there, but we also want to ensure that the businesses are good neighbors for the residential side of things.”

Before the project can fully move forward, Lakeshore Recycling is still waiting for stormwater analysis results from village contractor, engineering firm Vierbicher, along with warmer weather to allow for outdoor renovation.

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