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Land Use Review About Village Future, Not Walmart

The land use work group is supposed to look to the future of Caledonia and what type of development - if any - should be allowed at 4-Mile and Green Bay Roads.

Walmart was the trigger, Caledonia officials acknowledge, but the village must review the land use plan for where the big box wants to build.

The land at 4 Mile and Green Bay roads is zoned for residential and light manufacturing. But the land use overlay plan identifies it for a village center, with a mix of high- and medium-density residential and smaller-scale retail, a leftover from when the KRM commuter rail was expected to stop in the area.

Walmart has submitted a request for the village to rezone the land to commercial, and has applied for a land use amendment to clear the way for a 182,000-square-foot supercenter.

The discrepancy between the land use plan and zoning has Walmart’s applications on hold, and forced the village to address the problem.

“We have to separate Walmart from opening up the land use plan,” said Plan Commission member Bill Folk. “Yes, they brought up the conflict, but there is a conflict, and it needs to be addressed.

But that’s where residents opposed to putting a big box store on the site question the process.

“To say we are meeting now in the interest of the community; that Walmart triggered the need. Well, foresight, time and change should have been the trigger,” wrote Katie Tiderman, a vocal Walmart opponent, in an email to Patch. “This is all about Walmart.”

Looking at the discrepancy is a land use plan work group made up largely of the same people who developed the existing plan. The group includes residents, business owners, past and present Plan Commission members and an attorney who represents Walmart. The group was put together March 13 and is slated to start work April 3.

Village Administrator Mark Janiuk wants the group to focus on the best use of the land, because what was planned—the village center—isn’t the reality any longer.

“KRM is not coming, the condo market has collapsed, and there are new facts on the ground people have to consider when planning for the future,” he said.

The group has a lot of control over developing a new vision. Members could recommend rezoning to commercial, but not for a big box, Janiuk said, and then Walmart would not get permission to build.

“The question becomes, is a 7-11 at that corner a better asset than Walmart?” Janiuk said. “Residents have to come to grips with these questions.”

He also said property owners have the right to sell to a developer as a benefit to themselves and the village.

“The land owner should have the opportunity to develop and not have their property stay a vacant field forever,” he said.

Tiderman gets it, she said, but wondered what then would prevent a landowner from selling to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections so it could build a prison next to a school.

“I know that’s extreme, but it’s in the same idea,” she said. “Communities, residents, really, should have the right to say what kind of development they want in their neighborhood.”

Tiderman said she isn’t against all development in the area, just the nature of big box stores at that particular location. She said she could support an expansion of CalStar, a manufacturing facility that sits east of where Walmart wants to build.

“CalStar expanding makes sense because they do all their business inside the building and have definite hours of operation,” she stated. “They’re good neighbors. I’d be fine if they wanted to expand.” 

Wirenut March 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Once again, A bunch of whiny Caledonia residents standing in the way of progress. Green Space, Green Space, Green Space. GIVE IT UP and move up north if you want green space! I welcome Walmart with open arms. (And yes, I live about 3/4 mile away from the proposed site) I wish I lived on Green Bay road, as I would be the only one with a sign in the front yard Welcoming Business to a hurting economy. RACINE IS # 1 IN UNEMPLOYMENT! Bring in something else other than a bank, a gas station, or a check-into-cash loan store.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON March 20, 2013 at 11:05 PM
And Caledonia is #1 in lowest unemployment. Put the store where the jobs are needed, where the infrastructure is present and where potential growth is feasible. Service the north side of Racine and the population there that needs jobs. How about the Pick N Save location on Rapids drive? An accessible location with current roads to handle the traffic. On a bus route. Near people's homes, schools, daycares. And beneficial for Caledonia residents to have the option of a Wal-Mart to shop at if they choose even closer than the close proximity to the other 2 locations. The village is making an investment in water out at the I-94 village center locations which offer the potential and space for revenue-generating development and hopefully high-value tax revenue development which could attract people into the community to shop or live while minimizing the impact on established retail and highly developed residential areas.
Brian Dey March 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM
There is no proof in Southeastern Wisconsin that Wal Mart would be a detriment to existing businesses, at least not according to what we know has happened in Sturtevant and Mt. Pleasant. Pick 'n' Save just built a new multi-million dollar store just a few blocks away and the parking lot is full during regular business hours. Again at the Franklin location, Pick 'n' Save has coexisted just fine. Same could be said of the Hwy. 31 K Mart, and the addition of Wal Mart to our area could help with traffic for our ailing K Mart. Decisions on where to place businesses is based on potential growth for the company. It is a decision based on multiple factors, but the main factor is will it be profitable. In the area you describe, first of all, is it for sale? And if so, why? What do you do with the leases? What are the chances of retail theft with a 2,000+ student high school across the street? With regards to Cal Star, do they have a desire to expand? Are they even interested in the property? Residents don't make those decisions. CEO's and board of directors do. Your LLC is a voice at the table, but not the only voice. There are 24,000 residents of Caledonia. Many would love to seesomething like Wal Mart close to where they live. the board may appear to be reactionary, at least befor they make any decision, they are doing the right thing. You can't wish it were done before; you have to deal with the reality and I believe the board is doing just that.
Palesandy March 21, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Hey brian, when you make a statement like "there are 24,000 residents of caledonia. Many would love to see something like Walmart close to where they live." On what do you base these assumptions?? That statement is the most absurd thing I have ever heard... I would rather they put a prison there, at least then all the riff-raff would be contained.....
Brian Dey March 21, 2013 at 03:27 PM
That is a prettty racist statement. What do base your opinions on?
KEEP ON KEEPING ON March 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM
I would have to say that regarding the WM in Sturtevant; they are sustained by a larger population. Also, in comparing the new Pick n Save to the old, it really seems that they have built a new store very distinct from the previous model and offers a unique shopping experience quite different from WM. Probably a very smart business move. As far as the Rapids location-just a thought, may not even be possible. Calstar expansion-let me clarify my statement. I would understand additional light manufacturing purchasing that lot and can see that type of business being appropriate there considering the nature of M-1 zoning. Calstar is a great neighbor. I had no discussion of Calstar itself expanding. Finally, if we look at the Wal-mart location in Sturtevant, one of the major supports for it and the surrounding stores is that it's a large commercial hub. People come to the area specifically to shop. Almost always, you see a WM near a Home Depot, or an Aldis, or a gas station, Petco, etc. Large traffic corridors to accomodate the traffic smoothly. People can come and shop at multiple stores. True, as you stated, they can enhance each other. Like we see on hwy 31, S. 27th St., etc. I would suggest you read the Hunter College January 2010 study "Walmart's Economic Footprint" 8 yrs of study over all 50 states. The Sturtevant WM is not the only barometer.
Busted Knuckles March 21, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Sure....build a prison. They generate a huge tax base( sarcasm). I live in Caledonia and I welcome Walmart with open arms. If They build it, I will shop there!!!!!!!!!
Palesandy March 22, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Racist statement?? riff-raff is not tied to a race... Or is it for you??? Who's the racist now?? Hmmmm
Caledonia Confused March 22, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Will the SEWRPC representative who was involved in the KRM be invited to speak at one of the meetings? Were there any changes made to the area to increase the "head counts" and "surrounding commercial development" to justify the train station? A complete history of plan revisions from SEWRPC would be nice to see!
Urban Pioneer April 10, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Run a 4 lane Freeway expansion of 794 down the KRM / Rail corridor improving access to both Racine and Caledonia residents into Milwaukee and eventually south to Kenosha and Chicago. This would be located right next to CalStar , the new Wal-Mart and easy access to KMart, Pic N Save, Milaegers etc. The entire thing would raise the values of the properties of all of Racine and Caledonia.

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