CALEDONIA — Construction of a much-debated biosolids storage facility will go forward in Caledonia, following a favorable vote by the Village Board on Monday.
Board members voted 6-1 to support rezoning and 5-2 on a conditional-use permit that would allow developer Dan Hintz to construct a facility and store treated sewage at his 3047 Highway 41 location, adjacent to the South Hills Country Club and golf course.
The storage facility has been the center of ongoing debate, as residents disputed the village’s notification process, the potential for damage from trucks to nearby Golf Road, and concerns about odor and leakage from the facility’s stored, treated waste, designed to be spread as fertilizer on farm fields.
Although about 40 residents attended the meeting, debate did not continue Monday. As Village President Bob Bradley explained, “This is not a public hearing.”
“We’ve listened to a lot of comments,” Bradley said. “... We’ve heard them and we’re going to move on.”
But that didn’t stop residents in attendance from expressing their views following the vote.
“I’m not happy with it,” said retiree Cathy Jacyna.
Jacyna, a Golf Road resident, was one of more than 20 who left the meeting immediately following trustees’ vote, clustering outside the 6156 Douglas Ave. East Side Community Center after the meeting.
Aside from concerns about the notification process, Jacyna said she was displeased with the prospect of increased truck traffic on Golf Road.
Trustee Kathy Trentadue shared Jacyna’s trucking concerns; she cast the vote against the conditional-use permit for that reason, saying the Class B road couldn’t sustain the trucks’ weight.
Fellow dissenting Trustee Jim Dobbs voted against both the facility’s conditional-use permit and rezoning request on the grounds that the intended site was supposed to be prime property worth a great deal once the village pipes in sewer and electricity in the future. Putting the treated waste there now is a waste of that land, in Dobbs’ opinion. He argued that it would bring heavy truck traffic that Golf Road could not sustain, coupled with very low tax benefits to the village.
“I don’t object to it being in Caledonia, just not there,” he summed up.
Trustee Lee Wishau made the motion in favor of both votes, disputing claims against the facility, including those regarding traffic issues and potential odors.
Wishau said he even toured the area’s current wastewater treatment plant.
“There were no obnoxious smells,” he reported.
On the subject of traffic, Hintz discussed the possibility of using the nearby frontage road for truck access instead of Golf Road.
The frontage road entrance is located in the Village of Mount Pleasant. Hintz said he has submitted a permit request for its use, but has yet to hear back from Mount Pleasant’s village engineer.
Editor's note: The vote totals originally reported in this story were incorrect. They have been corrected.