WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - A new use for an old Wausau industrial property had the City Council split over what the property is vs. what they think it should become in the future. On the agenda: Should the city allow a conditional use permit so Schulz’s Recycling of Merrill could collect metals and car bodies outside of the building but within the security fence.
Schulz's recently leased part of the former Fed Ex building, which is zoned M2 manufacturing but is also at the north entrance of the Wausau Curling Club and future Holtz-Krause soccer development.
Romey Wagner is the alderman representing the neighborhood by the affected property, and supports the plan after taking a tour of the site. “It looked as good or better than the tennis building next door. He had committed to keep it clean. He wasn’t going to pile up junk (so) it wasn’t going to become a junk yard, and recycling, everyone needs to do that. We don’t do that enough in this world, and this gives everyone an opportunity in the center of the spoke of Wausau to bring small amounts in there.”
Council President Lisa Rasmussen says she’s all for the business, but thinks this is just the wrong location. “If we are trying to articulate a vision for an area and redevelop an area with a development plan, these type of uses in the area which are very difficult if not impossible to revoke or repurpose detract from that plan and make the visioning for that area more difficult.”
Mayor Jim Tipple is pleased the Council passed the conditional use permit. “It was a tough vote, you know, I think people struggled. I was trying to keep track of how they would vote but in the end, I think they got it right. It is an industrial area, but I think he’s going to be respectful for the neighbors.”
Cal Tillisch represented four opposition groups, including the Wausau Curling Club. “I just don’t think in a good planning situation you’d ever say, let’s put a scrap yard next to a 90-acre park-slash-recreational area. In addition, you have a historic cemetery, which is a park like cemetery right there as well.”
Jeff Isroff is from Schulz’s Recycling. He addressed the concerns of the neighbors about noise and unsightly piles of scrap material. “We are not going to be processing scrap. We’re not going to have piles of loose scrap out there. This is a collection and feeder operation. We’ll purchase metal from the public at competitive prices. We’ll collect it and send it up to Merrill for processing.”
The permit allowing outside collection of up to 12 automobiles at a time and the roll-off containers for scrap metal narrowly passed on a 6-5 vote.