UPDATE: The Village Board approved the conditional use permit for the building on Feb. 7, 2012. Curt Adel, ownder of Lee's Flowers, said they'll likely be moving in soon, but he didn't have an exact date. The building still needs to be inspected and Adel needs to buy new coolers.
ORIGINAL STORY: A prominent Racine flower shop might be calling Caledonia home if the owner of the building receives the proper permits from .
Lee’s Flowers, 1665 North Main Street in Racine, is considering moving into a building located at 6535 Highway 31. They have been at their current location for 55 years.
The building, which is owned by Tony DeRango, was zoned residential. He originally asked for the building to be zoned B-2. But a number of residents living near the building opposed the zoning change and DeRango changed his request to B-1, a more restrictive use than B-2. The Plan Commission voted 4 to 2 in favor of the B-1 zoning change. Elaine Radwanski, and Jon Schattner voted against it while Tom Knitter abstained from voting.
Curt Adel, the owner of Lee’s Flowers, said he’s considering the move because his rent is too high at his current location and the rent for DeRango’s place is about one-third of the cost.
“It’s a possibility,” Adel said. “I am considering that building. Due to the economy, I can’t afford this place anymore… This building is too big for me and I hardly use all of the space I have. The other building is about one-third of the size and the rent is cheaper.”
Bill Folk, a Plan Commission member that voted for the zoning change, said at first, he was “sitting on the fence” in making the decision.
“The ace in the hole for me was that Tony said he would be open to having a conditional use. Then he explained that Lee’s Flowers, a business with a 55-year reputation, was interesting in coming to Caledonia,” Folk said.
A number of residents told the Plan Commission that they opposed the B-2 zoning change because it allowed greater latitude for other business uses.
“The property owners have a legitimate concern,” Folk said. “They weren’t opposed to seeing a flower shop go in, but they were concerned that if the business failed, then he (DeRango) can put whatever he wants.”
Folk explained that DeRango had no qualms about changing the zoning to B-1.
While the Commission gave the approval for the zoning, DeRango still has to provide more information for them to consider a conditional use plan. DeRango is expected to come back to the Plan Commission on Jan. 25.
The permits would also need final approvals from the Village Board.