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Walmart May Face Stumbling Block With Land Use Plan

Walmart acknowledges differences between village and county planning documents, and an anti-Walmart group says the 182,000-square-foot store doesn't belong on a property meant for smaller retail establishments.

Walmart submitted plans in November for a proposed 182,000-square-foot store that would take up 22 acres on the corner of North Green Bay and 4 Mile roads, but there’s an issue.

Racine County’s comprehensive planning document is inconsistent with the Village’s land use plan. Walmart wants the village to remedy the problem, but a group opposed to Walmart’s building location has repeatedly said it doesn't believe the location is consistent with the land use plan.

Walmart wants Caledonia to rezone the two parcels from light industrial and office/urban residential to commercial, which is consistent with the village's land use plan because the area is designated as a village center. But the county’s comprehensive planning document only reflects a “design concept.”

While Walmart acknowledged the inconsistency between the two documents, they believe the Village’s land use plan and “legislative intent” supports their location choice.

But Katie Tiderman, organizer of Caledonians Advocating Responsible Planning, said a large retailer like Walmart wasn’t what residents had in mind when they told planners they wanted a village center in that area.

The area was slated to be one of the stops for the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee train line and the vision for the area was smaller commercial and retail businesses. But that train stop project never went through.

Tiderman argues that when the plug got pulled on the project the village board should have reassessed the designation for the area, but it didn’t.

“You could get into semantics and say that because the village center allows for a residential urban area and does allow for some commercial/retail, then it could allow for a Walmart,” she said. “But when we knew that train was not happening, our whole land use plan should have been revised.”

Tiderman points to the definition of the village center in the land use plan and to a UWM study.

“It was supposed to be an area for a new village hall, small retail businesses with pedestrian traffic and possibly a café, a bank or dry cleaners… but a large retailer like Walmart was not the intention of that designation, and was not wanted by our community.”

Mark Janiuk, village administrator, said the conflict between the two documents does need to be addressed.

“One interpretation is that the Village’s land use plan is consistent with building a Walmart while others say it does not," he said. "But that has to be determined by the plan commission and the village board."

The project is now at a stand-still. The Village is waiting for Walmart to make the next move and nothing has been presented to the planning commission or the village board.

“I think the idea was to move it forward all at the same time—the comprehensive plan change, the zoning approvals and the site approvals—so that there weren’t multiple meetings or multiple delays,” Janiuk said.

RF January 07, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Why doesn't Walmart look for a location along Douglas Ave? Bulldoze the numerous dumpy bars and crappy storage facility south of Four Mile, which provide minimal tax revenues, and find a place to build it. Or why not widen Douglas Ave up to Six Mile Rd and build it on the Mulligans Driving Range property.
Edward Willing January 07, 2013 at 06:24 PM
This latest bump in the road shows that regardless of wether residents do or don't want a Walmart in the area, the Land Use Plan DOES need to be revised to reflect different circumstances. Surely, a village center would require massive changes to that area, including elimination of businesses, widening of roads, displaced housing... If this is to truly happen, we should be proactive and address it independent of a particular retailer's requests. We need to discuss it wholistically, not based on one retailer, one project
Dnaiel J. Phillips January 08, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Edward, Thank you for admitting that the LUP is not a useful tool for development in the Village. The LUP was heavily based upon KRM. So as not to leave out Mrs. Tiderman and the other 20 members of CRAP (Caledonia Residents Against Progress), the LUP no longer serves the Village in a manner that is benefitial. The LUP needs to be rewritten taking into account todays economical issues, how they effect the Village, and cuts in state funding. As it currently is written Caledonia will be dead in 5 years.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON January 08, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Dnaiel, if you would take the time to read, I, Mrs. Tiderman, stated within the article that the LUP as it stands for that specific area as well as possibly other areas is outdated and should be revised. So in essence, while you spew your witty play on CARP and project a major bee in your bonnet about a concerned, educated and proactive group of your fellow residents, may I suggest you read the article...again. Or contact me if you need clarification on my position. Or get involved. You as much as any other resident has the right to have input in our LUP. But Walmart, nor any one private land owner has the right to dictate how, when, or why a LUP be revisited or amended. As the LUP and zoning stand now, the WM proposal is inconsistent with both. Further, it is inconsistent with the Racine County Multi-Jurisdictional Comprehensive Plan. There are specific steps and considerations for amending both plans. They need to be followed and involve public input. Personally, I am in agreement with you that a full revision should occur (as recommended every 10 yrs) and this proposal as it stands should be denied or at minimum tabled until this can occur. Proper steps as taken in the initial creation of the LUP should be followed. And then, Mr. Phillips, I hope you take the opportunity as I most assuredly will to participate in that process.
Dnaiel J. Phillips January 09, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Mrs. Tiderman, If you want me to contact you, please forward me your contact info, or leave your number here in the comments. I would gladly take the time to debate with such a concerned. educated and proactive group.
Caledonia Confused January 09, 2013 at 03:45 AM
I am anxiously awaiting for a Marquette law student to write a brief on the Land Use Plan done by Caledonia. They could title it "The Conservancy Brief". I can see them looking at old meeting minutes and records, Also interview the participants. Is any of the paperwork (surveys, minutes, etc) still available to look at? What about Plan Commission and Village Board minutes?

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