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Residents Oppose Trucking Terminal

Questions raised about the storage of product.

A room full of residents filled a Plan Commission meeting Wednesday to oppose a trucking terminal company that wants to move to Caledonia.

Plans presented by George Buchmeier, a developer representing Time Transport, include building a 12,000 square foot building at 5231 Highway 41.

The trucking company owns 40 semi-tractors and 160 dry van trailers, which would haul freight of all kinds, according to planning documents.

To move forward, the project would requires changing the land use plan so the zoning of the property could be changed from A-2 general farming II to residential district II to B-5 Highway District.

Julie Anderson, zoning administrator for the Village, said the proposed use is consistent with the land use plan. But the Plan Commission would need to recommend the land use plan be changed before a zoning change could be made on the property.

If the Plan Commission recommends the proposed change to the Village Board, they would have the final say on making the zoning change.

However, a resident of the village brought up the issue of the storage of products on the property, said Ron Coutts, the Village President.

Members of the Plan Commission asked staff to do further research on the issue and bring the information back to the next meeting.

Coutts said a joint meeting of the Plan Commission and the Village Board will be held, possibly on June 7.

The next meeting would allow the two groups to discuss the issue, but public comments would not be allowed, Coutts said.

Amy Fortier May 29, 2011 at 09:35 PM
First, did residents actually oppose it or they just had questions about it? And secondly, if we (in Caledonia) keep "opposing" every business that wants to move here we'll sure be in a sad state for jobs. People might like the "rural feel" but where are they going to work? They're going to take their tax dollars and move elsewhere. I hope we can look at new ideas with an open mind and not just jump to opposing everything without really considering the benefits it might bring.
JW May 30, 2011 at 12:57 AM
There is PLENTY of room to retain rural feel AND be pro-business even along the precious HWY 31 corridor that is so sacred to ponies and those who love them so much (I have nothing against ponies, I wish them well, I just don't want the future of Caledonia decided by what is best for ponies). Some of those who oppose development on Hwy 31 talk about needing the money to get sewer and water to the I-94 area and that the I-94 area is where they want expansion. Then, when expansion there is proposed many of them I am sure fight expansion there. Most in these groups seem too green oriented, but I think it is more about protecting their own interests than anything. It is well past the time for the majority of Caledonia citizens to listen up and stand up and be sure the voices of those who want to retain their own rural preservation preferences are not the only ones that are guiding Caledonia into the future. The more expansion that goes on at I-94, the more that WILL go on there and so forth. The growth would eventually pay for or finance the needed amenities there. Really the I-94 area is the perfect place for industrial business... and Caledonia should be encouraging that. Just as Hwy 32 AND Hwy 31 are both places where retail expansion should be encouraged rather than fought. Those who want the rural life should be encouraged to NOT live directly on a State Highway... it is common sense... though, clearly that is lacking in much of the green ribbon crowd.
JW May 30, 2011 at 01:12 AM
The anti-development crowd is more motivated and mobilized than the other side is. That is why their voice is heard so much. Really, it is hard to rally normal citizens to go to a meeting in large numbers to show support for development even among those who are eager for it. On the other side, most of those who want Caledonia to stay rural are driven by fear. Fear is a strong motivator for action. The big fear is that growth will destroy Caledonia or, since some houses will give way to some developments, that eventually everyone's house will be in jeopardy due to growth. Most of that fear is completely unfounded. I just hope the village board are aware that there is far more support for development in the community than they get to see. I hope they are not simply swayed by even several hundred people who show up to fight whatever opportunity for growth is currently being proposed. Going deeper into the future, it is unrealistic to expect Caledonia to stay anywhere near as rural as it has been given its position between Milwaukee and Racine. I do not think there is a more prime location for growth that has such a nice commute into Milwaukee at the same distance from downtown. Those who live here position themselves well for being able to work anywhere in Milwaukee and even the on the very northern suburbs of Chicago. I chose Caledonia for its location and its room to grow. I agree with some rural preservation, just not at the expense of reasonable development.
San May 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM
it is the process of zoning that local neighbors of any proposed development are given the right and the opportunity to make their concerns known and to oppose development they feel would harm their own interests, quality of life and property values. That is the American way so that in a community everyone's value of life and property can be protected. Thus, the people who live along Highway 31 are doing the right thing to make it known if and when they have concerns. There is nothing wrong with that, and that is how the system is set up. They have legitimate concerns that big box development will lower their property values and bring with it noise, pollution, congestion, crime, and they are in fact correct both as to their own specific interests, and the studies that have shown that such development does in fact cost communities in general more than they bring in due to the added police and road maintenance costs, and lowered property values also harm the community and make it less attractive to the kind of development that enhances the community such as low and moderate density residential, for which the Highway 31 corridor is currently slated under the land use plan. No one appears to be against "any" development, just the wrong kind of development that neither benefits the community NOR the local residents.
San May 30, 2011 at 11:52 AM
i would like to remind those who want to run roughshod over the interests of neighboring residents for the "alleged good of the community" (whether that is true or not is another matter), that in the USA we value individual property rights and protect the value of each landowner's enjoyment of their property rights. This is not a communist state where the value to the "state" overrides the values of individual residents and they can put anything they want anywhere they want, regardless of impact on individuals who live nearby. Zoning is the process by which communities manage the interface between various uses and protect from non-conforming uses that can harm the private property value of others. Once we go down the road of imposing non-conforming uses on any neighborhood, we strike at the heart of the American system and begin to take the road to pure socialism where the individuals don't matter and the value to the "community" becomes primary. In our system, a community develops zoning through the review and agreement of the community. This was done here most recently through the land use plan adoption. No one is "entitled" to a zoning change. Thereafter zoning changes take place through review with primary interest of the affected neighbors being a major legitimate concern to protect their rights rather than impose harm to them in order to benefit someone else. I do not understand why some are choosing to try to force unwanted development on people.
San May 30, 2011 at 12:02 PM
it must be asked "why?" "Development" should be done with a legitimate benefit and purpose to the community and its residents. The argument of "increasing the tax base" is not always true, if it costs more (as do big box and fast food) in ongoing costs to the Village than it brings in; and which can cost a community quality of life and property values and attractiveness to positive development that actually fits the community. There are also communities which have willingly chosen NOT to develop that are doing just fine, which have MUCH LOWER tax rates than communities that have chosen to develop, so it is not about "lower taxes". Bedroom communities like Caledonia have much lower unemployment rates than "developed" communities, so it is not about "jobs". (In fact Caledonia has the best unemployment rate in the State). We should not be in such a rush to do things without due consideration of both the long-term impact and benefits, and the impact on the community and the local neighbors. No one wants, nor should they have to accept, dramatic and radical changes in their neightborhoods just because someone wants to make a buck at development or has some other potentially hidden agenda behind their "pro development" arguments. And not all development is "positive" so to be blindly "pro development" is both short sighted and counter productive.
Heather in Caledonia May 30, 2011 at 12:27 PM
I happened to be at a meeting a few weeks ago where I thought the commission had already decided to recommend changing it from farming to business. I understand the desire for the people who built houses so close to the interstate to keep farm fields around their properties, however, they are already VERY close to a major interstate highway where I thought the neighborhood plan included development. Oh, I'm starting to ramble this morning... can someone answer these questions for me: 1) What exactly does the land use plan call for on that property? If the zoning admin. says it's consistent with the plan, what exactly is the problem? 2) Is there a mock-up of the business yet? What's the plan for how it would look? I remember them saying there may be more businesses leased on the area, too. 3) What exactly are people complaining about? Someone said there would be too much noise. Ummm... hello... they live next to the Interstate. I hear trains outside all day, but I bought a house near a train track. I won't complain if they increase the number of trains running and blowing their whistle all day - that was expected when I purchases this property. One lady at that meeting I attended was there just to find out if the drainage was being addressed so it wouldn't end up in her front yard. That was her only issue with this project.

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