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Salvage, recycling yard restrictions set

Sept. 3, 2009

Salvage yards, recycling centers, waste transfer stations and similar businesses will not be permitted within 500 feet of a residential property under a new city ordinance passed this week.

The issue arose after a salvage yard wanted to move into an area near 68th Street and National Avenue. That's when city officials realized there were no rules addressing how close junkyards can be to homes, Development Director John Stibal said.

The new ordinance also dictates that containers, materials and business-owned vehicles be stored indoors, that only customer and employee parking is allowed outside and that outdoor storage is prohibited.

Stibal and West Allis aldermen said the law was created to protect residents and their properties. But the owner of West Allis Salvage, 1911 S. 80th St., said the new rules unfairly punish his business.

As an existing business, West Allis Salvage will be grandfathered in. But owner Phil Rehberg said he had plans for expansion that can no longer happen because of the 500-foot rule.

The ordinance wrongly casts his business in a negative light, he said. West Allis Salvage opened in 1938 and since that time has been a good neighbor.

"We think we're an asset to the community," Rehberg said, adding the law "cripples our future with the city."

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