Proposed Walmart Applications Withdrawn from Caledonia

Walmart is no longer considering a supercenter at the corner of 4-Mile and Green Bay Roads.

Opponents of Walmart's proposed supercenter in Caledonia can breathe a heavy sigh of relief: the retail giant is no longer looking for space at 4-Mile and Green Bay Roads.

Attorney Robert Henzel represents the landowner families of the Betchkals and the Luis, and he had letters hand-delivered to Village Hall Tuesday confirming the end of Walmart's interest in their properties.

"Walmart Real Estate Business Trust has terminated the contract for purchase of our property and has no further involvement with our property," the letter reads. "Under the circumstances, we withdraw ... the application for rezoning ... (and) the application for an amendment to the (village's) comprehensive plan."

Because the contract has been terminated, the law firm of Reinhart, Boerner Van Deuren no longer represents the interests of the landowners. According to Village Administrator Mark Janiuk, that means the rezoning and land use amendment applications fall back into the hands of the property owners.

"Walmart pulled out of the contract to purchase the land, so this cancellation puts the decision making back into the hands of the property owner," he explained. "So it is appropriate to withdraw (the requests)."

Katie Tiderman who lives on Green Bay Road was the outspoken leader of an organized residential opposition to the development, and she is relieved at the outcome.

"That site was inappropriate from the beginning," she said, "This has been a long, hard road to get here, but it's the right decision. What the future holds for that site sits in the hands of the village board."

Trustees voted unanimously July 22 to send an office park consideration to a public hearing after a land use work group recommended strictly residential use at that corner, and the village's planning commission recommended a mix of residential and commercial uses.

The letter from the families states they want the Sept. 23 public hearing on the rezoning and land use canceled. They contend that the landowners never asked for - and don't want - an office park use considered.

"We never requested such a change," they write. "We believe that the reason for suggesting the proposed designation was opposition to the Walmart development. Now that Walmart is gone, we believe there is no reason for the proposed change."

Whether or not the public hearing will still move forward is a little up in the air. Patch has a message into village attorney Elaine Ekes with this question, and we will update this story after we hear from her.
me September 11, 2013 at 03:41 PM
you got what you wanted weeds on that intersection instead of taxes
San September 11, 2013 at 03:45 PM
it is incorrect to state that it would have been worth positive taxes to the village as the studies show that big box stores cost more in services they require than the taxes they pay. so actually from a financial basis weeds are a better investment than walmart for the village budget. if you earn $10.00 but it costs you $20 gas, you are $10 in the hole. that is what happens with big box stores! they are NEGATIVE income not positive income.
me September 11, 2013 at 03:48 PM
you are correct in your gas comparison we will be using more gas now to drive farther to get our goods
San September 11, 2013 at 03:57 PM
not actually true. most Caledonians work outside the village and drive past enormous choices of stores virtually daily for their shopping. also the target shopper at walmart has a median income far below that of Caledonia, so the number of Caledonia residents who would use walmart as a primary shopping destination are probably relatively small. there is shopping in every direction so wherever most residents work or recreate themselves, they have lots of shopping. a study done at the time of the original land use plan actually found that big box stores were over-saturated in this area! so the point is, why should the taxpayers have to subsidize walmart because they will cost the village a lot more than the tax money they bring in, so that a few people who want to shop there as their primary shopping can save a couple bucks once a week, when their property tax increase will EXCEED that? unfortunately short-sighted views tend to get budgets in trouble, and if you only look on the income side of the ledger and don't look at the cost side of the ledger, bad decisions are sometimes made. that is why many communities have learned and are turning down big box. Mt. Pleasant has tons of big box stores but their tax rate is higher, their unemployment is higher, their budget deficit is higher, and their crime and congestion and pollution is higher....
Frances Martin September 11, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Melissa--Walmart because of its wage structure costs taxpayers about ! million in subsidies per superstore,for their uninsured, foodstamp needing employees according to a recent congressional study. I'm not in favor of siphoning taxpayers' money to Walmart execs and shareholders ,in Caledonia or anywhere. It's a benefit to itself only as far as I can tell
CowDung September 11, 2013 at 04:56 PM
I'm sure that not having the jobs that Walmart would have provided will really get those people on health insurance and off of food stamps...
San September 11, 2013 at 06:02 PM
what you are missing is that walmart tends to cannibalize jobs from local businesses, so there is very little if any net gain of actual jobs, but they ensure that their employees are stuck with food stamps and Medicaid because of their below poverty scale employment...and in addition, these are jobs primarily for Racine, but the COSTS would be borne by Caledonia in the budget deficits we would run as a village to provide all the extra road maintenance and policing costs. Walmart is not a "benefit" to our community in terms of either jobs, or net tax revenues after costs...if it was so good to have big box stores, Mt. Pleasant would be doing fine--but they have higher unemployment, higher tax rate, higher crime, higher congestion, and higher budget deficit. this has been discussed for 3 years now and we keep hearing the very same arguments that have been debunked by studies and facts and examples from all over the country with nothing new.
CowDung September 11, 2013 at 06:05 PM
What wages are paid by the jobs that would have been 'cannibalized' by a new Walmart store?
c September 13, 2013 at 09:14 AM
San, what you are saying could be used as an arguement against ANY store! Build a new clothes store? "NO you'll take away from Kohls!" What a low IQ simple minded way to look at things. Tell me how a Walmart is any different from say Target? Similar wages, work policies, etc. Except idiots like you don't blindly hate Target.
Tansandy September 13, 2013 at 09:22 AM
C, they use the same old worn out arguments. But like you said, they are afraid to compare Shopko, Target, and especially Piggly Wiggly for wages, etc. The bottom line is what we have heard over and over from some of these people are "we don't need those people in our village". I always wondered if they meant the Danes????
San September 13, 2013 at 09:34 AM
actually, you have apparently either not kept up with the flow of the discussion NOR studied the actual issues. I was responding to someone who was concerned about the "jobs" walmart would add, and I pointed out that since they cannibalize jobs from local businesses, there is historically little or no "net job gain". it is not a matter of competition, it is a matter of whether there are "more jobs" or NOT when someone says it would "add" jobs. Second, Walmart takes most of their profits OUT of the community while local businesses spend most of them in the local area, so that there is a job multiplier effect from the profits that stay local rather than go to Arkansas. Third, Walmart is the biggest "welfare queen" in the State by forcing more employees to rely on food stamps and Medicaid/badgercare to keep body and soul together, so there is a huge COST to the taxpayers for the "Jobs" that are in fact not being "created" but simply cannibalized. Finally, Walmart with its predatory wage policies and size sets the standard that other companies must follow to compete in many instances, so by bringing them here, it actually reduces take home income in a local area as others are forced to cut wages/benefits to compete with the predatory practices of Walmart and some other big box retailers who compete directly with them.
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 09:42 AM
I think the point was that the 'cannibalization' happens when any new business opens that offers products or services similar to what other businesses offer. As far as the 'forcing employees to rely on food stamps' thing, it's really no different a situation than workers employed by any other low level employer. Fact is, part time, minimum wage jobs aren't intended to be life sustaining--no matter if one is working for Walmart, Target, Pick n Save, or McDonalds...
San September 13, 2013 at 09:51 AM
actually it would be better if you too looked at the studies we have referred to time and again that show the particular negative impact on small local businesses of big box, and in particular Walmart, and the negative median wage impacts they cause in the area, as well as the loss of revenue being taken out of the local community. this is not speculation but factual data compiled through many years of studying the impacts.
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 09:57 AM
Compiled through many years of 'Walmart haters' studying the impacts. Yes, it's no secret that big box stores cause problems for the mom and pop shops. So do internet based shopping outlets like Amazon.com. Where's the outrage against all the other chain retailers that impact small, local businesses like Pick n Save, Piggly Wiggly, Target, et al?
San September 13, 2013 at 10:11 AM
instead of throwing "cow dung" at studies you have not even read, it might be useful for you to actual research the facts. the studies referred to were done by respected educational institutions without a bias agenda over a number of years in a number of locales. and frankly, the question is not "walmart" or "no walmart" because all BIG BOX stores have negative tax/cost impacts in general on village budgets and cause similar issues with respect to congestion, noise, pollution, crime, etc. The other issues such as the local employers relates to community businesses who also have a "multiplier" effect spending the profits and revenues from their business locally rather than shipping the money to a big corporate headquarters far away. this is not just "walmart" by the way. we are talking about "big box" versus local business impacts on a COMMUNITY. Of course other retailers like Amazon impact businesses everywhere, but at least they are not bringing congestion, noise, pollution, crime and increased taxpayer subsidies for road maintenance and police services to the local village as a big box store tends to do, based on the facts. if big box were so great for a community why does Mt. Pleasant, with lots of big box stores, have higher tax rates, higher budget deficit, higher unemployment, and more crime, congestion and noise, etc? you would think they would be "paradise" in your view of the world.
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM
If you were paying attention, I didn't disagree with the claim that big box stores have a negative impact on local business. I was addressing the hatred of Walmart and the apparent lack of outrage for stores that aren't Walmart, but have the same negative effects.
San September 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM
i was mystified by your reference to studies done by "walmart haters" as that was clearly inaccurate. In fact, most of the discussion has been about the impact of "big box" without a specific company name in terms of "big box" negative impact on a community, so we obviously at least agree on that point. Coming to the Walmart specific situation, they have been particularly aggressive and predatory, have been also specifically studied due to their extremely aggressive tactics both in terms of their supply chain and their impact on local economies, so they do deserve a certain amount of specific focus as being the "leader of the pack". Finally, i think it is understandable that focus has been paid to Walmart as they are the ones who in fact have spent the last 3 years trying to force their way into our community despite the concerns of the citizens and into a location at 4 mile and green bay that is clearly not suitable. Even "supporters" of Walmart have to a great degree admitted the unsuitability of that location. The local homeowners in that area (I am not one of them) are rightfully upset to have their community and their property values and their lives turned upside down because Walmart decides they want to land somewhere where it is inappropriate for any number of reasons, and which will cost taxpayers more than it brings in.....if there is some heat from some corners, it may be because people feel threatened and are trying to protect their lives, their homes and their community. My statements have been generally broader based dealing with macro-economic issues and general economy impact studies of various forces at work in our society today.
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM
If it weren't for the Walmart haters, those studies likely would never have been done. It is pretty standard practice for groups to commission 'studies' in order to back their position. I've seen some of the studies, and their methodology is often questionable and it's pretty apparent that the studies are designed to back predetermined conclusions. It's kind of like the 'studies' that 'prove' that women earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Walmart gets heat from almost every community where they want to open a store. The city of Chicago even tried to ban Walmart. Not sure that Walmart is 'predatory' when it comes to opening stores in a community. Which came first--Walmart fighting to get into communities, or people fighting to keep Walmart out.
B.F.Cook September 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Hey, listen to this: It's over and done with. Wallymart has pulled their application, so why the continuing bitchin' & moanin'? It's finished. It is what it is. You can speak all the 'eloquent' words you want, but nothing's gonna change. Find something more constructive to do with your time than "CARP"-ing about mal-wart saying buh-bye. Madre de Dios, Get a Life! :-/
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM
I don't think that anyone is under the impression that our comments here are going to bring about policy changes or undue things that are already done. Like most conversations, the discussions here tend to be little more than an exchange of opinions and ideas, rather than a tool to create change...
Tansandy September 13, 2013 at 01:51 PM
10 Companies That Gave the Most Cash in 2012- 1. Wells Fargo & Company- 2. Walmart Stores How much it gave: $311,607,280 (cash)$755,868,381 (products) Share of 2011 pretax profits donated in 2012: 4.5% Of note: The company donated 421 million pounds of food during its latest fiscal year, which ended in February, and it has given away more than one billion pounds since starting a campaign to fight hunger in 2010. Walmart supported 50,000 charities last year, primarily through grants made by local stores. Forecast for 2013: Expects to give more. - See more at: http://philanthropy.com/article/10-Companies-That-Gave-the/140261/#sthash.wMTSCJbw.dpuf These big bad companies! They are bad for the community.
San September 13, 2013 at 04:39 PM
there is no doubt that they do some charitable work for the purpose of trying to "greenwash" their image after they have wreaked havoc on local communities' budgets and the taxpayers; but it is also true that they are using some "tricks" to make it seem that they are really more charitable than they are, and then using these things to cut their tax bills, so that their net "investment" in charity turns out to be very low and written off as a marketing budget. For instance, food that is getting outdated and is clearly not going to be sold in time gets donated for a full price donation to a shelter. instead of taking the loss on the unsaleable food, they get a tax write off for the donation and a "positive" press release. similarly at the holidays they oftentimes put up "donation' barrels for people to throw money into. They then get the tax write off for the charitable feelings of shoppers who have thrown the cash in without getting the charitable write off. they are spending other peoples money, and then getting a tax break, when they do that. Certainly nothing is 100% black or white with them, but people need to understand that just as they misled us in their flyer to the community a few months ago, not everything they claim is 100% factual the way they claim it. A few years ago they said their parking lot runoff was so clean that you could drink it. The EPA fines tell a different story..... I have no problem with people who want to shop there shopping there; but when they want to come into the community in a bad location, add to our tax burdens with the costs we have to bear once they are located, and deal with the negative quality of life issues, I think "enough is enough". We frequently hear people say "if you want quiet, or low development move up north". We want to stay right here where it is that way now, and keep it that way. If you like them so much, you can always move to Mt. Pleasant!
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 04:51 PM
" They then get the tax write off for the charitable feelings of shoppers who have thrown the cash in without getting the charitable write off. they are spending other peoples money, and then getting a tax break, when they do that." Are you claiming that Walmart is collecting cash donations from people and then claiming those donations as their own on their taxes? Do you have any proof to back up that accusation?
CowDung September 13, 2013 at 05:18 PM
...and really, no matter how much negative spin you put on it, many charities and organizations do indeed benefit greatly from the donations of cash and merchandise that Walmart makes. It cannot be denied that Walmart is making a positive impact on those organizations.
Lyle Ruble September 14, 2013 at 08:52 AM
@CowDung....Would you welcome a 'big-box' to your community of Shorewood?
CowDung September 16, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Where would it go? There isn't much open space available in the village. Besides, Office Depot, Home Depot and Walmart aren't very far away from Shorewood. In the village itself, we already have the drugstore giant Walgreens competing with Hayek and Thompsons. Should we be working to push them out? Should we push Pick n Save out so that Sendicks can prosper? Those 'big business' stores I mentioned compete directly with local 'mom and pop' shops and pull money out of the community (just like Walmart). Where do we draw the line, Lyle?
Lyle Ruble September 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM
@CowDung.....You didn't answer my question. Given the nature and culture of our small village, even if we had land space available, I am sure that the proposal of a 'big box' coming to our community would be vehemently opposed. As far as I know, the only national chain present in the village is Walgreens. Even Pick-N-Save is more or less locally owned and operated. As far as Sendeks is concerned, I would support them if they weren't owned and operated by the Nehrings. I drive to Sendeks in WFB rather than support Nehrings. As far as supporting Walmart or Sam's Club, Home Depot, etc; I think I have been in the Walmart on Capital maybe five times since they moved in. I prefer to shop at Ace in WFB rather than go to Home Depot. My opinion is my own, but I strongly believe that local residents should have the right to decide and in the case of Caledonia, there will prevailed.
CowDung September 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Does it really matter that Pick n Save isn't national yet? It wasn't that long ago that Kohl's was just as "local". Culver's is another business that is transitioning from "local" to national, as they have locations in several states now. Are we supposed to stop patronizing a business when a business gets redifined to be 'non-local'? Even the Ace hardware store isn't really local--Ace is a national company that is not HQ'd in Milwaukee (or even Wisconsin). It seems hypocritical to oppose Walmart for being 'non-local', while no objections are raised against all the other non-local businesses in the area.
Lyle Ruble September 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM
@CowDung.....The businesses like Ace are locally owned franchises. It is impossible to not support larger retailers, but I attempt to shop local first, even if it does cost a little more to do so. Walmart represents the worst of the worst of retailers who use us to subsidize their business model, costing taxpayers at every turn.
CowDung September 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Lyle: As with all franchises, the franchise is indeed locally owned, but most of the money ends up back at corporate--only a small percentage of it stays local. There's a difference between choosing to support local stores over larger chains, and taking action to block stores from opening a new location--especially in areas where other non-local stores are welcomed. As far as your 'subsidize their business model' claim, how are they any different than every other business that provides minimum wage jobs? The only difference is that the propagandists target Walmart, and seem to give a pass to others.


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