Sevastopol in Noncompliance at Old Landfill

The Town of Sevastopol was just trying to do the right thing when it applied for an exemption for the requirement of an environmental engineer to sign off on paperwork to create a parking lot on an old landfill off Haberli Road.

The parking lot was needed to satisfy a public access requirement for awarding grants to move forward with dredging at Dunes Lake, which is reached by Geisel Creek off Haberli Road. The town had already earmarked $1,000 for the parking lot work.

Along with the paperwork, the town sent some photos of the old landfill site, which has been closed for almost four decades.

“The dump has been closed for 39 years and was totally forgotten,” said town Supervisor Chuck Tice, who has been working on the project. “Nature took over. It’s covered with trees and brush.”

Once the DNR had the photos, they notified the town that the landfill was not in compliance and that the town would have to remove five acres of woody vegetation within 45 days of notification, which, in this case, gives the town until Dec. 10 to clear the land.

Sevastopol Supervisor Chuck Tice has been in charge of dealing with the landfill. After filling in the other board members of the situation, he said he has gone over Chapter NR 506, the DNR’s rules on landfill operations, “with a fine-tooth comb” and could find nothing on woody vegetation near a closed landfill. When he asked a DNR representative about it, he was told that it’s a regulation.

“Do we hire an attorney? How far do you want to go?” Tice asked his fellow board members.

Supervisor Dan Woelfel suggested the town have a local legislator do some pushback against the DNR.

Tice added that he had requested an extension from the DNR until July 31, 2017, but hasn’t gotten any response, so is assuming that the clock is ticking on the Dec. 10 deadline.

Tice said the first estimate he got to remove the several hundred trees from the roughly five-acre plot was more than $10,000. So he invited three other local companies to bid, only two of whom submitted bids by the deadline – Andrew Hartman of Acorn Tree Service and Nick Uecker of OnSite Logging of Forestville. Hartman bid $9,925 and Uecker bid $8,000. Uecker was awarded the contract.

In another matter, the board considered a letter from Mike Brennenstuhl, owner of Door Artisan Cheese, a new business being built across from Wood Orchard Market on Hwy. 42 just north of the Village of Egg Harbor (but actually in the Town of Egg Harbor), requesting the transfer of a reserve liquor license the town has had since 1973.

Town Clerk Amy Flok explained that it would actually be a one-time transfer of the license from Sevastopol to the Town of Egg Harbor, who in turn would sell it to Brennenstuhl for his business. She added that there is a $10,000 minimum for such a license and no maximum.

In a letter to the board, Brennenstuhl said while he realizes the town has no obligation to honor his request, the liquor license is critical to the success of his business.

“Why did the town not come to us and request the transfer? Why allow the property owner to do so?” Supervisor Tice asked. “It’s like the town is disinterested.”

Tice then wondered why the building and process was approved when the owner knew there was no liquor license available from the Town of Egg Harbor.

Supervisor Tony Haen pointed out that the license has been sitting around since 1973 and no one else has asked for it, so why not “see what we can get for it.” He suggested a price of $50,000 and then wondered aloud if that was greedy.

“What number do you tell them?” asked Supervisor Woelfel. “When I first looked at it, and now seeing this, I wouldn’t let it go for less than 75 grand. Maybe that’s too low. Is that too low?”

“I feel for the guy,” Woelfel continued, “but how do you do a business plan when a key component of it isn’t there. He could have built in our town. I don’t think we should give it away. I like the idea of getting $75,000 or $100,000, but I don’t think we should sell it.”

Board Chair Leo Zipperer pointed out that no action was needed immediately.

“If we need to get more answers, it will be coming back at the Nov. 28 meeting. Give you a couple weeks to think about it,” Zipperer said.

“I want to know how much money we can get,” Woelfel said. “Talk to him about how much money is on the table. We don’t want to come back on Nov. 28 without a determination on any numbers.”

“On Nov. 28 we’ll come forward with a price and it’s either do or don’t,” Zipperer said. “Very simple. It will be a price we all agree on, or a majority agree on.”

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