BLACK EARTH, Wis. - Neighbors in Black Earth are upset over issues related to a local butcher shop's rapid growth.
Black Earth Meats has been rapidly expanding, doubling its business each year for the last three years. But because of that growth, neighbors said the butcher shop is causing problems such as foul odors, excess noise, rodent issues and traffic backups.
"Really bringing back the butcher, as a place of prominence, that's really been the key thing that we're doing," said Bartlett Durand, owner of Black Earth Meats. "This has been a butcher shop for 50 to 60 years, and we're just maximizing what it can do right now."
But upset neighbors said that growth has negatively affected their quality of life.
"A lot of people can't get up the streets here because the cattle trucks block the traffic," said neighbor Randall Beatty.
"We're at the edge of the business district in Black Earth and what's happened in the last two to three years is that we have a lot more semis coming through," Durand said.
Village leaders said they've been working on some of the issues neighbors have complained about.
Black Earth Meats said most of the issues, such as smell, rodents and flies, were either taken care of or were never an issue at all.18505022
Last year, Black Earth Meats was accused of discharging blood into the sewer system, but Durant said that's never been proven and is nearly impossible, as their animal waste is removed from the premises daily.
"A lot of it is proximity, that now that we're a thriving business, people see us as a place to push back against," Durand said.
Durand said there was one issue last year involving blood running into the sewer system because Black Earth Meats was a deer drop-off site and got overwhelmed with deer on a particular day. He said because of that and the complaints, Black Earth Meats won't be a deer drop-off site again.
The village said it's now waiting for a plan from Black Earth Meats to see what it needs in terms of its facility and how the village could help the business meet its needs and keep it in Black Earth.
"If we can't make it work here, there are other communities asking for us to come to them. But we are Black Earth Meats and it would be a shame to just toss that out," Durand said.
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