Walmart Spurs Village Plan Revamp

The Caledonia Plan Commission and a land use plan work group will tackle the zoning of the tract of land where Walmart is proposing a supercenter.

Residents have until March 8 to submit applications to be part of the work group that will look into whether or not the village should rezone land where Walmart wants to build.

Members of the village's Planning Commission Wednesday unanimously approved the re-creation of the 2006 land use work group that focused on the Village Center concept for that corner. The group and the commission will work together to reconcile the differences in the village's comprehensive plan and the county's overlay plan.

But, the group is only open to those who live and/or own a business within the Village Center area, which runs, roughly, along Douglas Avenue and 4-Mile Road. So, any new members would have to come from within these boundaries.

The work is needed because of discrepancies between a village and county plan for what kind of development should take place at the intersection of 4 Mile and Green Bay roads, where Walmart wants to build. 

Walmart has submitted an application to build a 182,000 square foot supercenter on the southeast corner of that intersection. The store would be similar to the one on Durand Avenue in Mount Pleasant. To make way for construction, however, Caledonia's land use plan and the county's overlay plan should match, and they do not.

The land where Walmart wants to build is currently zoned for urban residential and light industrial or office use, but is located in an area the land use plan designates for high- and medium-density residential land use. Walmart is asking for the land use and zoning to be reconciled, and identified for commercial use.

"We have to balance the rights of property owners in that area and the property owner (represented) by Walmart as well as the rights of the village as a whole and residents as a whole, too," said Village Administrator Mark Janiuk. "We can’t delay a decision, so we tried to develop a plan that would balance all the interests described." 

The plan Janiuk created with Village Attorney Elaine Ekes is to re-create the 2006 group that originally worked on the comprehensive plan for the area and have the group work with commission members to hammer out the best use for the land. 

This plan comes with a timetable and deadlines so, Janiuk said, there's movement without long delays. He suggested meetings begin as early as March 13, but Elaine Radwanski and Bill Folk were concerned about filling vacancies for workgroup members who may be unavailable for whatever reason.

"I was surprised at the idea to reconvene the original group," Radwanski said. "But maybe we ask for two volunteers who are engaged from the neighborhood because residents shouldn’t feel shut out."

Deb Tomcyzk, one of Walmart's attorneys, asked that their representatives also be included in the process. Since there is an option to buy the land where the supercenter would go, company reps act as agents for the seller and can submit an application to be part of the work group.

Ekes suggested the commission immediately begin accepting letters of interest from residents—including area business owners—to join the workgroup so that if an original member from the 2006 group couldn't serve, there wouldn't be much lag time in finding a replacement. Commission members agreed.

The commission also agreed to have the village contact 2006 group members right away and to meet again for a special Planning Commission meeting on March 13 to go through applications and choose the needed replacements.

From there, they will create a schedule so that a recommendation from the new work group, with the Planning Commission, comes back to the commission sometime this spring. The next step would then be to pass a recommendation to the Village Board, and trustees would then schedule a final public hearing before voting the plan up or down.

Caledonia will save some money this time around by not hiring an outside planning consultant as they did in 2006 for $300,000. Instead, the larger work group will rely on Janiuk, Ekes, Julie Anderson from the planning department at Racine County, and other staff members as needed.

Residents who are interested in participating in the work group have until March 8 to get their letter of interest to Village Clerk Kari Torkilsen at Village Hall.

no walmart February 28, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Tansandy February 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM
The claim that Wal-Mart “disregards the concerns of small communities” is also contradicted by the evidence. If Wal-Mart’s stores were not in tune with the concerns of shoppers in small communities, the stores wouldn’t make a profit and would eventually shut down. If Wal-Mart’s stores were not in tune with the concerns of job seekers in those communities, the stores wouldn’t be able to staff their operations. The concerns that Wal-Mart rightly disregards are those of local businesses that would prefer not to have to deal with new competition. The absence of rigorous competition leads to high prices in many small communities. While this may be good for the profit margins of established businesses, it is not necessarily a condition to be preferred over the benefits for the majority of the inhabitants of the community that result from robust competition. Wal-Mart runs the largest corporate cash-giving foundation in America. In 2004 Wal-Mart donated over $170 million. More than 90 percent of these donations went to charities in the communities served by Wal-Mart stores.7 Read more: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/wal-mart-is-good-for-the-economy#ixzz2MEtOjxN8 - See more at: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/wal-mart-is-good-for-the-economy#axzz2MEshUMWN
Jay Warner February 28, 2013 at 11:45 PM
1) The debate _should_ be over whether a big-box store at a given location is suitable for the community's long range plan - what zoning & the Land Use Plan offered residents in terms of their homes & neighborhoods. Whether Walmart, or any other specific retailer, is "good for the economy" or "good for CAledonia," is another question. 2) The Land Use PLan tries to tell residents how their neighborhood & community (probably) will change in the next 20-30 years. So you can buy a house and know something of the expected changes. That Land Use Plan, and the County version, and current zoning, all preclude the presence of big box retail on that site. Will such an installation seriously degrade the neighborhood? Would it be contrary to our vision for Caledonia, ca. 2006, 2009, and today? Will it fly in the face of people who purchased homes, with mortgages, expecting someday to see residential development in what is today a bean field? You want to argue about the proposal, deal with those questions first. The rest will relatively simple.
Jay Warner March 01, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Minimizing 'cost of goods sold' [buying from low wage countries] and 'cost of sales' [using part-time labor to avoid benefits] to keep profit margins reasonable and sale price very low is very beneficial for Wal-Mart's economy, but not necessarily good for the overall economy or the local community economy. When Henry Ford instituted his $5 day in 1914 (raising wages considerably for those who qualified), he actually reduced operating expenses, and got the best mechanics and workers in the bargain. The economy is circular, folks. Wages become purchases become profit become an 'economy.' Some improved productivity (aka, cost reductions) are very beneficial to the company and all of us; some are very detrimental outside the firm. Especially in the longer term - the next annual report. Corporations do _not_ always have the customer's best interest at heart; the large ones can be more dramatic about it. Sometimes, those companies can even get away with it. You have to look closely and understand what you - the customer - really want. And what you will do to get it. When was the last time you calmly but firmly requested a retailer to replace or correct a faulty item? (I said 'calmly.' No flying off the handle here.:)
Django Freeman March 01, 2013 at 03:24 AM
I like Walmart a lot. They sell everything! The only thing I dislike about Walmart is the large crowds. They are an excellent corporate citizen, who are very charitable and treat their employees well. I just don't think 4 Mile and 31 is a good spot for a Walmart and would not be able to accommodate all that traffic Walmart attracts.
scot March 01, 2013 at 12:33 PM
You should`nt worry. You`ll blend in with the rest of lazy walmart shoppers who, can`t take the time to put on Pants - "Pajama People". Ah yes, the people of walmart.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON March 01, 2013 at 01:41 PM
The sad reality is that the Village leaders recognized a need for re-evaluating our land use plan over a year ago. In June, 2011, Coutts created the Land use Plan Management Committee. They met 4 times. The finally created a list of 10 areas to look at in Jan 2012. And nothing was done. Now it seems some urgent necessity to address it. And for whom? For Caledonia? Or for Wal-Mart? Is the impetus a clear, comprehensive look at all areas of our LUP to improve Caledonia as a whole, or target one area to accommodate a development that is incomplete; that the residents and commission have NO supportive impact studies or clear vision of what it will be? What if a fireworks plant wanted to go there? Or an adult toy shop? Do our leaders have ANY authority to say No? Wal-mart has made it abundantly clear that they want influence over this proccess. For their own needs and not for the good of the community. And from what I saw on Tuesday evening, the Village administrator and PC are very concerned with allowing WM a voice and much less concerned with hearing resident input I hope residents step up, apply with a letter of intent to serve on the workshop panel to discuss the Douglas Ave. area. It is not just 2 lots-it's the heart of our village. The area extends from Batten Airport to past 7 mile and Douglas. It is not just 1 business-it's what that whole area will become to service the community. If you live or own a business in the area, PLEASE apply by March 8th!!
Brian Dey March 01, 2013 at 02:02 PM
KOKO- There you again. Why would the village board be working for Wal-Mart and not it's constituents? What do they gain from that? Are you suggesting that Wal-Mart is paying them off? And now you want a look at the entire land use plan? To what end? Only two areas of the village have significantly changed since the last one. That would be the site in questionregarding Wal-Mart and the defunked Twelve Oakes development. Those two need to be addressed first. I would be interested to see the other 8 recommended. Hopefully, one is the I-94 corridor.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON March 01, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Brian, the tone of the meeting Tuesday was that this needs to be expedited as quickly as possible. If the original workshop of 29 people including 14 residents could not participate again, they were not going to replace them, thereby diminishing the voice of the community. That was one of the initial plans recommended by the administrator and attorney. The other scenarios were not even discussed, but thankfully some PC members stated they felt the counts should remain the same and open up applications to get public input. There is a difference between recognizing a change needs to be made and changing to allow for a Wal-Mart on 4 mile and N Green Bay Rd. The need was discussed prior to the WM application, but there was no urgency then to act upon revision for the good of the community. That area is larger than just 2 lots. And the list I dug through the notes on the website for did include hwy K, I-94, 4 mile, hwy 32 , hwy 38, hwy 31. My contention is do we do it fast or do it right? One area of Caledonia affects another. So we address the VC-M without looking at other areas and what could develop there? Water along I-94? Changes to 38? Will we not be in the same position in having to revisit our LUP to address those issues? Were you at the meeting and what was your impression? Most importantly-while the plan for the TOD may be gone, the use of that area HAS NOT CHANGED. It was and is a residential area and change should blend with that use.
Green caledonia March 01, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Someone explain to me why the residents of caledonia need cut their Walmart drive time from 13 minutes down to 5 minutes?? Last time I checked the hwy 11 location is always open.. If you like Walmart, shop at Walmart.. There is a convenient location at 3049 S Oakes Rd... Personally, I'll stick with kortendicks, and pick n save... SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS!!!!
KEEP ON KEEPING ON March 03, 2013 at 03:54 AM
It's called spot zoning and the rush seems to be a big ???? , since the initial recognition of the issue of the land use plan and revision was identified over a year ago. Guess it wasn't important then to look at the good of the village then, but now that Walmart is calling.......
Brian Dey March 03, 2013 at 02:37 PM
KOKO- Keep beating a dead horse...Even when they do what you want them to do, you still criticize. Some people there is no pleasing and you seem to be one of them. Even though I hate the location, it is still worth going through the steps. and just because you don'r like it, doesn't make it wrong. I am glad that the board is taking a serious look at this. Just the Wal-Mart builing itself in Sturtevant brings in $386,000 annually. That is some pretty high density homes to make up that type of revenue. Maybe we should have low income housing to the area. I'm sure you not find that acceptable.


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