Greendale hesitates over permit for The Rock

Published on: 11/6/2013

Greendale — While being a good neighbor is a sign of goodwill, it's not required by law. It's a fact trustees resigned themselves to Tuesday.

Prior to approving a special-use application for recreational activities — biking and winter sports — at The Rock Sports Complex, trustees and residents lamented the imposing effects of having such a facility nearby: namely, lighting and noise.

The complex, 7900 W. Crystal Ridge Drive, is largely situated in Franklin, but a small portion is in the Village of Greendale. Residents argued that the newly planted trees did nothing to hide light pollution and noise that carries into Greendale.

"What they're asking for is for the lights to get turned off earlier," Trustee Sally Chadwick said. "They're asking for the noise to be turned down. All we're asking is for them to take care of certain things."

In a trembling voice, Chadwick expressed disgust when it came to pro-Rock supporters, who believed Greendale to be anti-development.

"If I hear one more thing about our citizens wanting (The Rock) to stop economic (development)," Chadwick said, hitting the table with her hand, "I swear I'm going to throw up on that person."

Village President John Hermes empathized with public reaction, calling the situation regrettable — but entirely legal.

Greendale wanted to be included in The Rock's early development, but had been cut out since the original plans, Hermes said.

"(The Rock owners) have no legal obligation to ask us (for approval), but you'd think they would out of be good neighbors," he said. "...But we can't do much about it, regardless of whether they're a good neighbor or not. You can't withhold a permit over here and insist they do something in their own city.

"The village has done everything it can, folks."

The Rock is a matter between Milwaukee County and Franklin, Hermes said.

"Where is our county supervisor?" Trustee Carl Genz asked, referring to District 17 Supervisor Anthony Staskunas. "He does represent Greendale, and he should be listening. He should have offered some remedy to this. It's very disappointing, all around."

The board reluctantly passed the special-use application that will allow the sports complex to host skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and gravity biking for the season. The board also passed an amendment that did not grant permit approval for other public events, such as concerts in the park, Family Movie Night and Halloween event The Hill Has Eyes.

"I think (The Rock owners) are waking up," Hermes said. "Our latest meetings with The Rock owners indicate that they intend to be better neighbors. We'll have to wait another season to see."