Franklin reverses course, approves Strauss Brands project

Mayor casts tiebreaking vote to approve special use permit

Rendering: ESI Design Services
A rendering of the 152,000-square-foot meat processing facility Strauss Brands planned to build in Franklin. The company is now exploring the sale of the land instead. Rendering: ESI Design Services

Last updated on November 3rd, 2020 at 10:14 pm

The city of Franklin’s Common Council reversed course and has now approved a special use permit needed for Strauss Brands LLC to move forward with its plans for a new meat processing plant in the community.

Strauss now has the local approvals needed to build its 152,000-square-foot facility on 30.2 acres southwest of West Loomis Road and the new Monarch Drive. The project would allow the company to expand its operations: It plans to process up to 500 head of cattle per day and employ more than 270 people there.

Franklin Common Council members reconsidered the project about two weeks after aldermen voted against it.

After being defeated on a 4-2 vote, the project was approved with a 3-3 tie Monday evening. Mayor Steve Olson cast the tiebreaking vote to grant the special use. The permit allows the facility to be used for meat processing operations.

Strauss and others in recent weeks urged city leaders to reconsider their denial.

“Strauss has been located within the City of Franklin for over (50) years, and hopes to strengthen its role as a pillar in the community by developing a new processing facility that will add good paying jobs, expand the city’s tax base, and spur economic growth beyond this project,” Strauss president Jerald Bussen wrote in a letter to the city.

The Strauss project faced stiff resistance from groups who alleged it would create “serious public health (and) environmental pollution issues.”

Last year Strauss put forward plans to build its new facility in the Century City business park in Milwaukee, but ran into opposition there as well and withdrew its plans after local alderman Khalif Rainey withdrew his support for the project.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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