Caledonia residents opposed to Walmart's proposal to build a supercenter at 4-Mile and Green Bay roads breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday.
After almost 90 minutes of sometimes raucous discussion Wednesday, a panel looking at the best use of the land just west of CalStar Products — where Walmart wants to build — recommended that the parcels be designated as residential.
Comprised of past and present elected and appointed officials, as well as the original neighborhood planning group, the new land use work group was created to address the land use designation of the area where Walmart wants to build a 182,000-square-foot supercenter.
Before discussion got under way Wednesday, Julie Anderson from the county Planning Department explained two options that were presented to the group:
- Option 1 identifies the CalStar property as industrial and the parcels at the corner and on the north side of 4-Mile Road as medium-density residential, which would preclude a Walmart from being built there.
- Option 2 also designates CalStar as industrial, but changes the parcels at the corner to commercial while also changing a swath of land on the north side of 4-Mile Road to commercial backed by medium-density residential. Under that plan, a Walmart could go up in the area — if it received subsequent approval from the Planning Commission and Village Board.
After a heated discussion, the group voted 7-3 to support the first option.
Group member and resident Ted Roeder said it was morally wrong for the village to consider Walmart's request and that the promised jobs won't go to Caledonia residents.
"That shiny brochure from Walmart makes it seem like 250 to 300 jobs will be from Caledonia, but really they'll be from north Racine, so put the Walmart in north Racine," he said to applause and shouts of approval from the audience.
See Caledonia Patch's complete coverage of the Walmart debate
But Dale Miller, another resident and group member, was having none of it.
"I'm tired of this not-in-my-back-yard nonsense," he said. "But my point is that any development brings with it a need for increased services, and residential is the most of all."
Residents who attended the meeting were shushed more than once, and Village President Bob Bradley finally had to threaten to clear the room if there wasn't more order so the work group could get down to business.
Miller proposed combining the two options by designating CalStar as industrial but designating the parcels in question as mixed use. Members voted 7-3 to reject that idea before voting just a few minutes later to approve the first option as proposed.
Planning Commission members did not participate in the vote since they will take up the matter in June.
After the commission makes its recommendation, the matter will move to the full Village Board, which will schedule a public hearing no sooner than early August. The board would make a final decision sometime after that hearing.