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Rezoning of former fire station nears approval

Restrictions are meant to protect neighbors

Feb. 20, 2013

A plan to rezone the area where former Fire Station No. 3 sits to make room for commercial development moved closer to approval Tuesday after a public hearing on the matter.

The three properties at the northeast corner of Moorland Road and Hackberry Lane are proposed to be rezoned from office and limited business district to B-2 general business district.

Plans for a mixed-use building, with retail on the first floor and office on the second floor, fell through, and the Plan Commission felt the rezoning proposal would be most appropriate, with the potential to accommodate a single-story retail development.

Restrictions for the development would be enforced, including a prohibition against taverns, drive-thrus and auto repair shops. A 25-foot or longer landscaped buffer would be required along the east side of the block.

Dan Ertl, director of community development, gave a recap of last week's neighborhood information meeting on the rezoning, where residents voiced concerns about exhaust fumes from cars using a possible drive-thru, noise, flooding and more.

No residents showed up to speak at the hearing, held before Tuesday's Common Council meeting, but aldermen discussed concerns of their own.

Alderman Jerry Mellone voiced concerns about potential traffic backups from the eastbound Interstate-94 entrance ramp during rush hour.

Alderwoman Renee Lowerr asked that the proposal be modified to include low-intensity restaurants.

"I never wanted it to be a fast-food restaurant, but more of a low-intensity restaurant," Lowerr said. "A restaurant would be too intrusive on residents; I want to protect the residents."

Ertl said low-intensity and casual-dining restaurants, such as Panera Bread or Loaf and Jug, would be acceptable, as well as dine-in restaurants, like Chili's or Outback Steakhouse, but that a restaurant wasn't the main plan for the land.

"I can tell you that the point of interest has been a multiuse retail building with a coffee shop, hair salon, dentist, those types of soft-good retailers," Ertl said.

Alderman Bill Carnell inquired about foul odors from a potential restaurant.

"When you do have a restaurant, what levels and what types or odors are permissible?" he asked.

Ertl replied those standards are regulated by the Waukesha County Health Department.

"I think the neighborhood is really close and these odors are really noxious if they permeate into a residential neighborhood," Carnell said.

No action was taken at Tuesday's meeting, and comments received will be reviewed by the Plan Commission before the Common Council votes on the item. 

Next step

WHAT: Plan Commission review of rezoning of former Fire Station No. 3 lot

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. March 11

WHERE: City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road

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