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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Franklin Common Council to take action on Meijer store, and I'm not very confident


From Franklin alderman Steve Olson:


Dear Neighbors:

On Tuesday evening, 8/21 at 6:30pm in the Common Council chambers at Franklin City Hall, the Common Council will act on four items that will, if passed, allow for construction of the Meijer grocery/department store at the Crossroads.  

Although these are action items before the Council and no public hearing is scheduled, you may take opportunity to comment during the citizen comment period at the start of the meeting.

I encourage you to attend and offer your comments.

Item G2:  Amend the Comprehensive Master Plan to permit the commercial use and building size

Item G3:  Approve the Natural Resources Protection Plan for the development.

Item G4:  Approved terms and conditions of a Planned Development District outlining development issues, site plan, access, natural resources protection, operational restrictions and other development details.

Item G5:  Approve a certified survey map combining all the parcels into one parcel.

Please read my e-mail to the Mayor and Common Council for additional information:

Steve


From: Steve Olson <steve-olson@wi.rr.com>
To: Tom Taylor <
tom2563@att.net>
Cc: 'Alderman' <
Alderman@franklinwi.gov>; 'Sandi Wesolowski' <swesolowski@franklinwi.gov>; Jesse Wesolowski <jweslaw@aol.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2012 3:01 PM
Subject: 8/21/12 Common Council meeting

M
r. Mayor:

As we discussed before the start of the 8/9/12 Plan Commission meeting, I will not be available for the Common Council meeting of 8/21 due to a business commitment out of state.

I offer the following comments regarding the Meijer agenda items and ask that this e-mail be read into the record (not just entered).

As you know, I’ve been actively involved in the Meijer proposal since the initial meeting early this spring.  At my insistence and with the cooperation of the applicant, we have reached out to the community for comments and concerns.  I have received many, many pieces of correspondence, had numerous phone conversations and personal meetings on the matter.  I’ve found, as expected, the vast majority of our constituents to be thoughtful and respectful in their comments.  Constituents appear to be generally supportive with some concerns, so I, as the elected representative for the district focused my attention to the needs of the immediate neighbor’s (those who abut the development).

In the council packet (page 359) there’s a copy of an e-mail that I sent to the attorney for the applicant and city staff outlining my preliminary concerns for the development.  Those included:

o   Move the building to the north (partially achieved)

o   Close access to Puetz Road (not done, maintained by the applicant)

o   No 24 hour operation (not done, now permitted in the PDD)

o   Screen the building to the Puetz Road neighbors (Opinion, but achieved)

o   Remove parking on the south lot (garden center) (not done)

And further:

o   Improve the elevations, adding stone, brick (opinion, marginally achieved)

o   Break up the roof lines (opinion, achieved, could be better)

o   Work with Forest Hill Highlands for pedestrian access  (discussions held, not achieved in the site plan)

 

If you look at the list it seems to me that the City has been negotiating with itself.  The major issues for the city (deal breakers) in my opinion, been not been given serious consideration by the applicant.  In fact, again, in my opinion, the easy stuff was easy.  The tough stuff didn’t get the light of day.

Today, you are being asked to approve the development with major issues yet to be resolved.  The key to all these approvals which would put the project on the fast track and close out the issues listed above is approval of the PDD (Item G4).  The PDD allows for 24 hour operation.  Unrestricted deliveries until 10:00PM and an added semi-truck delivery at any time during the night are part of the PDD.  The architecture of the building is what I would call marginally acceptable for what would be a flag ship store entering a new and competitive market.  Natural resources issues are far from being resolved.  

All are important issues, but none more important in my mind than the access on Puetz Road.  The applicant originally moved (but maintained that the access was needed) the roadway away from the homes on Puetz.  Now, without consideration to the lives, safety and enjoyment of the most impacted constituents, the DOT has decreed that the entrance now become a primary entrance to the store and that it MUST be located at the end of two neighbors driveways, one with a clear shot for headlights to be a regular occurrence in their living room.

I also note that throughout the packet for these agenda items are copies of the planning staff’s recommendations which also incorporate the engineering department’s recommendations.  Having attended all the plan commission meetings on this matter I note that no action was taken on any of the recommendations by the planning staff.  The council must now make those decisions or default to the applicant.

I urge my colleagues on the Common Council to stand with me in opposition to the approval of the PDD pending SUCCESSFUL resolution of not only the Puetz Road entrance issue, but all of the outstanding issues related to natural resources and DOT access.  

Mr. Mayor, I’ve heard on several occasions the attorney for the applicant recount the number of days that this project has been before the city.  As you know, I am a strong proponent of economic development in the city having been a leader in the effort since 1991.  I appreciate keeping the process moving but  I have NEVER been involved in a project of this magnitude that has moved this quickly through the city and I’ve been involved in a lot of them.  

As a governmental entity, we’ve handled this project much differently than all other business that we do on a routine basis.  We’ve approved portions of this project a piece at a time without consideration for the outstanding issues.  I don’t recall EVER approving developments without having all of the “big” questions answered and that’s what is before you tonight.  This is akin to a camel’s nose in your tent.  Pretty soon the entire camel is sleeping with you.

It’s not appropriate and I remind all of us that in 2004 the entire community worked out a plan that is now being cut up and they’re not even getting their basic requests.

There’s time to get the answers.

Please either deny G4 or table it pending successful resolution to all access issues, DOT, DNR and Army Corps approvals.  Our constituents deserve nothing less.

Again, I regret not being able to be present to cast my vote for my constituents.  I hope that my colleagues will consider the issue and support my request.

Respectfully,

Ald. Olson

As a matter of record, I note that a CSM will be recorded (assuming passage of G5) whos’ maps all indicate a street (Puetz) that may or may not be in that configuration.  See pages 281, 309, 328, 329, 330, 333 and 334.

 

Steve Olson

Alderman, 1st District

8091 S. Meadowcreek Ct.

Franklin, Wisconsin  53132

414-425-9060

solson@franklinwi.gov

www.franklinwi.gov


KF NOTE: I respectfully take issue with my friend, Alderman Olson. He writes in his e-mail to Mayor Taylor, “
I’ve heard on several occasions the attorney for the applicant recount the number of days that this project has been before the city.  As you know, I am a strong proponent of economic development in the city having been a leader in the effort since 1991.  I appreciate keeping the process moving but I have NEVER been involved in a project of this magnitude that has moved this quickly through the city and I’ve been involved in a lot of them.”

My friend misses the point. Olson has the view that in this instance Franklin has acted expeditiously. Maybe according to Franklin’s past and standards. Even so, that’s not fast enough. The developer is clearly telling us they’re disappointed in the snail’s pace. Instead of embracing their view and wondering how we as a city can improve and speed up our antiquated process, Olson’s response is hey, we’re quicker than we’re used to be. Unfortunately that’s still potentially, haphazardly not fast enough. Must we learn our lesson by losing Meijer’s?

Here’s hoping the Franklin Common Council approves all four resolutions Tuesday related to Meijer’s. To be perfectly honest, I’m worried Franklin will blow this, Meijer’s will take their ball and play successfully, creating jobs elsewhere. Hope I'm wrong. 

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