Franklin Strauss slaughterhouse appears dead, land for sale, company says

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A controversial meat processing plant proposed for Franklin appears to no longer exist. The company willing to spend $70 million on the project says it is now looking to sell the land on the southwest side of town.

The back and forth on this proposal lasted for years. The city first denied Strauss Brands a special use permit for the land in October 2020, then approved it weeks later, prompting legal action from a group of concerned citizens.

In response, a Milwaukee County judge ordered a hearing Thursday evening, February 17. Dozens of people have spoken out, fearing that the construction of this factory will ruin their quality of life.

Even before Thursday’s meeting began, the Franklin Community Advocates continued two years of protests. Their placards and chants begged Franklin to refuse the slaughterhouse project.

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“Who wants to live next to a slaughterhouse? I mean, really, it’s just common sense,” Danelle Kenney said. “I feel like if you ask most people, they don’t want to live there.”

Franklin Strauss Slaughterhouse (Courtesy ESI Group USA)

Franklin Strauss Slaughterhouse (Courtesy ESI Group USA)

The 150,000 square foot facility to process up to 500 cattle per day has been proposed on 30 acres of land off Loomis Road near Monarch Drive. Just to the north, construction is underway on new homes. Neighbors like Kenney, who works as a real estate agent, fear the project will have unintended environmental and financial consequences.

“I strongly believe that this facility next to residences is going to affect the value of our properties up to three miles from the plant,” Kenney said.

As the item appeared on the Plan Commission’s agenda, city staff read a statement from Strauss Brands: “We have heard the voices of our fellow citizens in the Franklin community. Strauss is currently evaluating alternative ways to increase our production capacity.

Franklin Strauss Slaughterhouse (Courtesy ESI Group USA)

Franklin Strauss Slaughterhouse (Courtesy ESI Group USA)

The company says it is looking to sell the land, drawing praise from those in attendance who promised to pay more attention to the future of city government.

“We want elected officials to do the right thing,” Kenney said.

For more than two hours after Strauss’ statement was read, the Planning Commission debated Strauss’ application for a special use permit. They then endorsed it 4-1. The commission also approved a motion for their site plan by the same vote. This still has to pass before the Common Council, which will take place on March 1st.

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