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Brookfield residents outraged over seven-year quarry project

June 24, 2013

A proposed seven-year project that may include the Wisconsin Department of Transportation dumping clean fill on the quarry lands at Burleigh and Lilly roads has many Brookfield residents upset, and others signing a petition against it.

Super Excavators, a tunneling company based in Menomonee Falls, proposes to buy the 85-acre property from The Quarry Group Joint Venture.

The company told the city it would dump as much as 1.8 million cubic yards of WisDOT-approved soil and clean fill from the Zoo Interchange project and other projects on top of shallow areas of the body of water on the property and surrounding land for up to seven years.

After that time, the company would prepare the land for park improvements by grading it and adding top soil, then dedicate some of the land for use as a city park. The remainder would be used for multifamily housing.

The city would own about 75 acres of the land, including the body of water and wetlands, after the dedication is complete.

Property value worries

Although a contract between the DOT and Super Excavators hasn't been finalized, city officials and representatives from Super Excavators met with residents last week to answer questions and take feedback about the proposed plans.

Jay Leskosek has lived in the city for 28 years and isn't happy that the quarry he can see from his home may be turned into a clean-fill dump site.

"I'm worried about the groundwater effect and water issues," he said. "Water will be flowing south, right toward my home."

Leskosek and other neighbors also were concerned about the impact that the trucks that would be coming and going from the site would have if they try to sell their home.

"I have resale concerns," Leskosek said. "I'm upset. I have to figure out what I will end up losing in all of this."

Trucks would enter the area between 7 a.m and 7 p.m. via an exclusive entrance on Burleigh Road, and drivers would be prohibited from banging truck gates, engine braking or creating any noise that exceeds 60 decibels, project representatives said.

John Christiansen of Super Excavators said the company has conducted noise tests in order to curb potential nuisances.

"Truck noise is a different than highway noise, for example," Christiansen said. "The project won't be as bad as anticipated."

DNR involvement

Cindy Olski, another lifelong city resident, said the promise of a city park doesn't make the proposal any more palatable.

"I have concerns about the dust and noise that will come with the trucks," she said. "And what about the wildlife and wetlands?"

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials said the department has been in contact with the city regarding plans for the quarry.

"Our initial screening shows no rare or threatened plants and wildlife would be affected," Mike Thompson, supervisor of the DNR's department of business support and sustainability, said. "More conversations are needed, but the department will examine its regulatory roles, if necessary."

Petition being circulated

Regal Crest Village Apartments, located at 13275 Burleigh Road, right next to the quarry, has started a petition called "Brookfield Residents Against Dumping."

A flier about the petition states signatures in opposition to the project will be accepted through Friday.

"We've retained an attorney and, at the attorney's advice, we can't speak on the issue any further," said Mark Regal of Regal Crest Village Apartments.

Mayor Steve Ponto attended the public information meeting and said the city is working with the company to develop the best plan for the project.

"City government has no control, so we're doing out best to collaborate with the company," Ponto said. "Our job is to make this as amenable as possible."

A public hearing will be scheduled during an upcoming Plan Commission meeting, Ponto said, allowing residents to learn more and give more feedback about the plan before it goes to Common Council.

The city would establish an operational agreement between the city and Super Excavators that outlines parameters for the fill operation.

"We're a good company, and we hope to give Brookfield residents something nice and something they can enjoy," Christiansen said.

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