Menomonee Falls — The Plan Commission sent a strong message to developers hoping to bring a Walmart to the village: You won't get it here without a fight. Tuesday night brought intense rhetoric from commissioners and a crowd of about 100 people to the Plan Commission meeting where the commission voted unanimously to recommend to the Village Board that they not approve a re-zoning of land near Pilgrim and Lisbon roads.
The re-zoning was initiated by Gatlin Development, which had purchased three parcels of land falling under different zoning. Reports surfaced this week stating that Gatlin intended to bring a Walmart to that plot of land, and in order to do so would need the parcels to all fall under the same zoning.
Attorney Deborah Tomczyk spoke to the commission on behalf of the developers and urged them to give the developers an opportunity to meet the concerns of the board and residents.
Commissioner and Village Trustee Michael McDonald fired back that he would never vote for the proposal on any level adding that this was the worst possible location for a plan like this.
The 25 acre plot, even if it were re-zoned, would still require additional hearings to accept a plan for a more than 60,000-square-foot building. Tomczyk stressed that there were no plans submitted yet and the discussion over development was very much preliminary.
Opposition out in force
Preliminary or not, Yvonne Baermann was one of the dozens of Falls residents who showed up to make sure the Walmart project never got off the ground.
"I don't want Walmart there. We don't need it," said Baermann, who's condominium would be next to the proposed Walmart site.
"We'll have traffic,' she said. "We'll have kids, we'll have a lot of commotion. We don't want that."
Chris Stolberg's garage would be just feet from the proposed property line. He's worried a new shopping center would be a repeat of violence and crime happening around Milwaukee.
"Look at Mayfair shopping center," Stolberg said. "It's only a matter of time, they build it here, over there. It's going to happen.
"I got to worry about what's going to happen to my property, and who's going to be sneaking through the yard?"
More hurdles to cross
The Plan Commission recommendation will be taken in front of the Village Board on Feb. 21 where the public will have a chance to voice their opinions to the board during the public hearing. At that meeting, the board can vote to accept the re-zoning, and if they do, the plan would go back to committee. From there it would go back to the board where a final and deciding vote would be cast.
If the board votes to reject the plan, the proposal would be rejected and would have to be resubmitted.
McDonald and Village President Randy Newman voted against the re-zoning at the meeting and represent two of the seven votes on the Village Board. Any measure needs four of the seven votes to pass.
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