Oak Tree Dairy, uneasy that a condo development with Engel Burman Group will come to fruition, has increased production and struck a deal with an out-of-state milk distributor, reports Newsday.
The deal calls for an additional 1 million half-pints weekly, this after nearly a year and a half of slowed production levels in anticipation of a sale to Engel Burman.
Oak Tree President Hari Singh told Newsday Thursday, "If this is going to be tied up for years, we might as well get the full return on our investment."
Although it's not clear what percentage Oak Tree has increased overall production, Newsday reports that it has tripled the output on one machine. Oak Tree is also reportedly looking into other long-term contracts.
Engel Burman Director of Business Beth Silverman told Patch Thursday that Oak Tree has not pulled out of the deal. She added that Engel Burman intends to follow the development through to fruition and will be releasing additional traffic studies in the coming weeks.
Related: Oak Tree Dairy: Elwood Has Two Options
Singh told the Town Board in December that increasing Oak Tree's production to full capacity, roughly double the peak production of its recent past, is the only viable alternative to selling to Engel Burman. He warned that a full tilt operation would result in "profoundly more" traffic, noise, and impact on the community.
"[Engel Burman] mitigated a great deal of the externalities. We thought that the government would recognize that this development addresses so many of the potential downsides while removing the dairy," he said. "We thought that it would be a no-brainer."
The 444 age-restricted condos planned for the site have become a contentious issue in Elwood. Opposition members concerned with traffic and community character impacts have formed a group called "Preserve Elwood Now" and attended both the December and January Town Board meetings, most recently accusing Engel Burman of bribery, a charge the company refutes.