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Trustees move to close down Scrappy's

Village of Roberts trustees appear to finally and officially have had enough of Ralph May's private metal recycling business run out of his residence on Maple Street.

After years of issuing letters and citations to Scrappy's scrap metal recycling operation, it took May's neighbor selling his home and casting doubt about the village's reputation as a "good neighbor" community to prompt trustees into taking legal action to shut May down.

After three years of trying to reason with May, then settling into an uncomfortable coexistence, neighbor Nicholas Hron put his house up for sale believing moving away was the only solution left. While attempting to show the house recently to a prospective buyer, May planted a sign on the property's shared driveway proclaiming the same, driving away the prospective buyer who was left to exclaim, "Nobody wants to live next to that neighbor, let alone have to share a driveway with him. What a bummer. Good luck in the future."

Assorted piles of junk scrap metal, along with tires, vehicles, a fuel depot and trailers litter the premises bringing into question just how hazardous the property has become and forcing the abuse of an easement agreement written in 1984 which predated May's occupancy of the property.

"Living there for two and a half years is just very uncomfortable. You just don't feel a sense of security even living in your own house. It's to the point where it has literally driven us out of the town because we don't want to live next to that any more. We haven't seen a single bit of respect from that side. To us, it's kind of a ridiculous thing whenever we hear or see the good neighbor community," said Hron.

"Certainly that doesn't make any of us feel very good. I don't think there is a board member sitting up here who has any sympathy for the way he is acting and treating his neighbors as well the property. It's been an ongoing issue and it's not getting better. When it starts driving good people away it's past time to get this over with," said Board President Willard Moeri.

Trustees agreed to contact the village attorney Tuesday with the intention of finding whatever appropriate ordinance violations pertain to May's abuse of the property and using those to shut down the business permanently and remove all scrap from the premises as soon as legally possible.

Public Works Director John Bond told trustees that changes to various aspects of the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program by the WDNR will force some changes at the village's treatment plant. Those changes include mandatory installation of a flow meter on the plant's output, a new copper limit that will need to be measured daily rather than monthly, and the application of the summer ammonia limit year round. Also, if a mechanical process is underway as the solution to meeting the new phosphorus limit, the compliance date can be extended to 2021. If another solution such as trading or dredging is elected, the original compliance date of Jan. 1, 2019 remains in effect.

Other business

• Trustees approved a bid of $7,001 from Anderson Heating to replace the condenser in one of the air conditioning units at the park building and install a new furnace at the same time.

• Trustees approval payment of a $600 invoice to Municipal Judge Ben Wopat for 32 hours of work on a case initially slated to be heard in Roberts Municipal Court.

• Trustees commissioned Ayres Associates Engineer Angi Goodwin to cost out the construction of a new sidewalk along South Division Street and research the availability to fund such a project using a Safe Routes to School grant.

• Trustees tabled a decision to rename a part of North Boulevard exiting off Highway 65, Main Street, until the fire department can weigh in on the decision.