Walworth County committee approves controversial shingle recycling permit

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Andrea Anderson
Thursday, July 17, 2014

ELKHORN—An Illinois company will be taking over 58 acres of vacant land in the town of Lafayette for its asphalt shingle recycling business.    

The committee of the Walworth County Zoning Agency approved the controversial conditional-use permit Thursday afternoon, 5-2.

At last month's public hearing, a packed room of county residents spoke out against the proposed company, citing such concerns as air, water and noise pollution as well as traffic and health risks.

The committee voted in June to delay the decision to gather more information on the site and the changes between the Illinois company's future operations and the former shingle recycling company's operations on the site by B.R. Amon & Sons.

The parcel is located at W4186 Potter Road.

Reliable Materials Corporation of Illinois, a property holding company, will purchase the property at W4186 Potter Road, town of Lafayette. It plans to have Southwind RAS of Illinois run its asphalt shingle recycling business on the property.

Southwind RAS has about 20 locations in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri. The amended conditional-use permit allows it to store shingles for up to 18 months. It would take materials such as asphalt and shingles offsite and process up to 10,000 tons of shingles per year.

The company will grind the shingles into asphalt, then sell it locally and in Illinois to serve an expanding market. The company will grind piles of shingles left by B.R. Amon & Sons first and then grind shingles brought to the site.

The original application asked for the company to have the permit for 15 years and have it renewed every 5 years, but some committee members voiced concern over what they considered too long of a time period.

The committee agreed to approve the permit for three years with the stipulation that the company's practices and progress in recycling the existing pile of shingles be examined in two years. In the second year the company may apply for review and renewal for up to five additional years.

Brian Lansu, president of Reliable Materials Corporation of Illinois and attorney for Southwind RAS, said he sees the company as an important part of the community.

“We think we can become a productive member of the community and are willing to take the risk,” of having being given a permit with different time spans than asked for, Lansu said.

Bill and Sharon Acuff, town of Lafayette residents, said they think the committee's decision and modifications to the permit application are fair. The couple lives within a mile of the site.

“Three years is fair and if they're bad then hopefully the committee will say you can't operate,” Sharon said.

B.R. Amon & Sons operated a gravel pit and asphalt plant on the land before going into receivership in April 2013. B.R. Amon & Sons ground shingles and dumped the material into an asphalt plant on site. It could store shingles for up to six months, but according to a recent lawsuit, B.R. Amon & Sons violated that part of its permit.

The lawsuit, filed by town of Lafayette residents, asked that the former permits, which Southwind RAS's permit piggybacks on, be ruled null and void.

The lawsuit does not affect the decision made Thursday, said Michael Cotter, director of the county land use and resource management department. He anticipates a second lawsuit filed by the residents claiming the board's decision was illegal because it was based on previously violated conditional-use permits.

Any lawsuit must be filed within 30 days.

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